In my last blog, I discuss 5 symptoms of poor time management skills. This time, I want to share 5 tips to improve your time management. This is a critical skill for entrepreneurs and managers.
Tips to improve your time management
Set SMART Goals, Prioritize, and Focus
One important task for every manager or entrepreneur is to set business goals, or at least participate in the process of setting them. Likewise, it is a good practice to set personal goals. Both types need to be SMART, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Strategies fail because they are either not clear, objectives are unrealistic, or the communication is poor. To avoid failure, it is key to follow a good strategy deployment and goal setting method. Having clear goals helps prioritize and makes it easier to stay focused on what is important.
Schedule your tasks
Break each goal into smaller pieces and schedule them through the year depending on priority. Create and maintain a to-do list based on the tasks that stem from those pieces. Make the objectives, plans, list, and tasks visible to ensure follow-up. For instance, calendars, agendas, Leader Standard Work, and others can help with this purpose.
While scheduling your daily tasks, allow enough time for completion. Avoid putting too much pressure on yourself. If necessary, track your time for a while for a better estimate of how much time you need. Be realistic about your available time to work on your daily assign tasks. We all know that things happen, so do not schedule activities for the entire day. Also, minimize stress by setting up meetings and events in your calendar 30 minutes earlier.
Checking your schedule should be the first and last thing you do every day. Check on what you have on the agenda, complete tasks, incomplete, or those you did even start. Establish a cadence or times throughout the day to check emails and adjust your schedule if necessary. Above all, always think about the objectives and priorities. In other words, before you change your itinerary or jump to do something else, ask yourself how that activity will support your goals or priorities.
Stick to your plan
One tip to improve your time management is to create a plan. However, you can have the best plan it can be, but it is no good if you don’t follow it. The top causes for walking out of a good plan are distractions and procrastination. Avoid distractions by turning off notifications. It is very tempting to read that organizational change email or chat with an old colleague, but either of those things will help you to complete your tasks. Read the post, how do you deal with distractions in the workplace? for more tips.
To overcome procrastination, learn what types of activities you put off. Maybe you are postponing things that you don’t like to do. Another possibility is that they are too complicated or will have a big impact, and you don’t want to fail. Either way, find out what is bothering you and seek a solution. Sometimes, all you need is to ask for help or clarify the purpose or objectives of the task.
While executing your daily plan, focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking does not help you to be more efficient. People who multitask decrease their productivity by 20-40% and are less efficient than those who focus on one project at a time.
Choose your tasks wisely
Every day you receive invitations for meetings or assignments thrown your way. Therefore, you are at risk of ending with too many things to do. It is better to say no and be honest about your ability to do something than jeopardizing the quality of your work.
If you feel that the meeting or task is important, you can delegate it to your team. Take the chance to coach and train them to gain more skills. Sometimes, outsourcing is the answer to be able to complete some tasks.
Create healthy habits
One way to overcome some of the symptoms of poor time management is by ensuring you have healthy habits. Sleeping and eating habits influence your energy and focus levels. As a result, if they are poor, they will negatively affect the quality and quantity of your work. For that reason, it is worth the try to change them.
Having an exercise routine is another healthy habit with lots of benefits for our work. Reduces stress, anxiety, improve your mood, give you more energy, and of course, helps your overall health. If you don’t have one, start with small steps, like going for a short walk in your break. You can also set a daily steps goal and measure it throughout the day for motivation.
If you want to improve your productivity, follow these tips to improve your time management. The 5 tips are, set SMART goals and prioritize, schedule your tasks, stick to your plan, choose wisely what to do, and create healthy habits. It takes time and consistency to create new habits, but you can do it. The benefits overcome the inconvenience. In summary, managing your time effectively will help you to accomplish more in less time, giving you the opportunity to enjoy yourself with family and friends.