The importance of good time management in the workplace should never be underestimated, but often is. While good time management is a skill that can be learned, it’s essential to giving you an effective strategy that can increase your productivity and performance while managing your workload effectively and achieving your goals.
What is time management?
There’s no great science behind good time management. Some people are naturally good at it, others less so. But it’s important and, no matter how good you are at it, everyone can be better at it. It’s simply the art of being able to plan your working schedule effectively and how long you spend on certain tasks.
When you learn how to take control of your workload – by organising and prioritising each individual task – your ability to focus is increased. Doing this helps you to ‘work smarter, not harder’, improving your performance and maximising your efficiency so you can get more done in less time – even with looming deadlines.
Why is time management important in the workplace?
Good time management is more than just being able to hit targets or meet deadlines. It goes deeper than that and helps you to overcome, or completely avoid, plenty of common workplace blackholes including:
- Procrastination or a lack of focus
- Inefficiency in your workflow
- Lack of productivity
- Conflict with colleagues
- Stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues
But good time management is also an essential skill that many employers look for in potential employees at interview stage or love to see in their current employees. Managers need to make sure they’re getting the best out of their teams all the time in terms of productivity and efficiency. So while good time management is good for each individual, it’s good for business too.
Nobody likes to be micro-managed, so while we all have the same number of working hours each day, it’s usually down to you to use your time in the most efficient way. If you waste time, either through procrastination or a lack of enthusiasm, it will cost your employer time and money – and it could cost you your professional reputation.
Why good time management is good for you
Having the ability to manage your work time more efficiently means you understand how and when to prioritise certain tasks. By giving your full focus and attention to doing the most time-sensitive, or important tasks first, you won’t be wasting valuable time on the less important or non-urgent things, even though they may be easier – or more enjoyable.
But there’s a host of reasons why good time management is beneficial to you and your mental health. Managing your time effectively will help you feel more productive which will help you improve your workflow. But it will also increase your happiness and overall wellbeing, making you feel more positive and confident in taking on new tasks or responsibilities.
Good time management will undoubtedly help you in your professional life. But its benefits will help you in your personal life and everyday situations too. Here are some ways to improve your time management:
Set SMART goals
All your work goals should be SMART goals, so your goals need to be: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Putting these in place will give your time management structure because they help you know exactly what you need to accomplish, how you’re going to accomplish them, how realistic your goal is (based on your current workload), and how you’re going to achieve it in your given time.
Set your priorities
You’ll probably have weekly one-to-one meetings with your manager to understand and define what your priorities are for the week ahead. While nothing is ever set in stone – both deadlines and priorities can shift daily – writing a list of your top priorities each day can help you keep track of what needs to be done and what can wait, so you always have the highest priority taken care of.
Create a manageable schedule
Once you’ve identified what your top priorities are for each day, or even for the week ahead, creating a schedule should help you make your workload much more manageable. Blocking out time in your calendar, especially if others have access to it, will help you to focus on the task at hand while giving you a visual timescale – without distraction.
No matter how well you plan, organise, or prioritise your schedule, there will come a point when you feel under pressure or stressed about what you’re trying to achieve. This is completely natural, but over time it can affect your productivity as well as your physical and mental health.
When you feel stress levels rising, find ways to combat them by stepping away from your desk and going outside for some fresh air and exercise. Read our previous blog about stress and its physical and mental effects and how to overcome it.
Delegate, delegate, delegate
No matter how well you set your SMART goals, your workload can, and probably will increase. When it gets too much, rather than buckling under the pressure, try to delegate some of your tasks to your colleagues. If you can’t do it yourself, ask your manager to do it for you. This isn’t a sign that you’re unable to cope, it’s actually a display of your own effective time management.
Good time management with Clearfocus Training
Honing your skills and finding effective time management strategies don’t come quickly or easily. But the sooner you can acknowledge and identify areas where you’re not at your most productive – and why – the sooner you can focus on getting more done in less time.
If you want to learn how to make the best and most effective use of the time you have at work each day, our 1-day course on Effective Time Management Training will help you create a plan of action with a clear vision to help you reach your SMART goals.
Delivered by our fully qualified, mental health and communications professionals, the course looks at key topics including getting organised, keeping yourself motivated, the art of saying ’no’, and learning the time management matrix.
Limited to a group size of just 15 people, the course can be customised to meet the specific needs of any team and delivered at a time, day, and venue of your choosing, or even attended online via Zoom or MS Teams for maximum convenience. For more information and to book your course today, call us now on 07831 119 941 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.