You’re just in time to shave a few years off your path to success with time management skills.
These skills will teach you how to boost your performance more than you thought possible.
You don’t have to wait for months in order to get the hang of these skills. This article is tailored to teach you a smooth habit pattern which will place time under your control.
You will easily understand the system and adopt it with the bare minimum invested time and energy.
Practicing time management on a regular basis will soon become your second nature. In one fell swoop you will adopt all 10 of these awesome time management skills and benefit from them for years to come.
Set monthly goals
Make a list of all of the goals you want to achieve this month.
Writing down your monthly goals is the most important time management skill for long-term productivity.
Psychologist Gail Matthews of Dominican University of California conducted a goal setting study. In the study, she researched how writing down goals influences achievements in the workplace.
Dr. Matthews provided measurable results, which reveal that people who write down their goals are 33% more successful in achieving them than those who formulate outcomes in their heads.
“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.” – Bill Copeland
Keep your monthly goals on a visible place or in your computer, so they remain in sight. At the end of the month, review your progress and make a followup plan for the next month.
Remember to keep it very simple. A plain monthly goal list will do the job.
Writing out your goals is a great start. However, in order to achieve those goals you need to break them up into manageable tasks.
According to your monthly goals, make 2 lists:
- 1st list is for your challenging goals which take time and effort. This list is your top priority.
- 2nd list for the busywork tasks. These are easy to handle but they often drag on or crowd up.
Busywork, when left unmanaged, becomes equally time consuming as the challenging goals.
I’ve made lots of to-do lists like this back when I had no time management skills. That’s how I know that having all those tasks staring you in the face can be overwhelming.
Fortunately, there’s a simple system to prioritize those tasks called The Eisenhower matrix.
The Eisenhower matrix is a great tool for prioritizing your schedule.
If you can’t prioritize off-hand, don’t worry. All it takes is a pen and paper to make the Eisenhower matrix table. After that, simply categorize your tasks within the matrix. This will provide you with a clear overview of priorities.
With a little time, you will adopt this system into your thought process. Hence, you will be able to easily categorize your tasks on first glance.
The ability to prioritize well is a crucial part of your time management skills.
Make a weekly schedule according to your priorities. Dedicate an hour during the weekend for progress evaluation and followup planning.
By making a calculated plan for your week, you will be able to comfortably handle the obstacles to achieving your monthly goals.
When planning, focus first on the top priority tasks that consume time and energy. The rest of your time management skills depend heavily on making a good weekly schedule.
“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Stephen R. Covey
Try not to schedule more than 1 challenging task per day. Challenging work takes time and energy. For this reason, maintain your energy levels in order to better handle everyday life.
After making your weekly schedule, carefully craft your work sessions for the purpose of achieving maximum productivity at the lowest cost.
Master utilizing your work session by learning how to stay focused. The article will teach you the ultimate daily routine for maximum productivity.
Set up deadlines
When dealing with time sensitive goals, make a deadline. Your deadline goals are top priority when planning.
Be sure to schedule enough work sessions per week in order to achieve the deadline comfortably.
Deadlines can be pressuring but, with good preparation, handling demanding projects can be a piece of cake.
In order to keep the pressure of your deadline under control, make sure to divide the workload equally across the time-frame. This way, you can divide the most challenging work into smaller, more manageable tasks.
“Everyone knows the power of deadlines – and we all hate them. But their effectiveness is undeniable.” – David Eagleman
Batch menial tasks
Now that you have your monthly goals under control with your smart weekly schedule, it’s time to put the menial tasks out of your way.
Menial tasks often don’t take much time or effort. However, they can be a time consuming hassle if you don’t plan for them.
Make a list of all of the tasks that are easily manageable, then use your prioritizing skill to sort out your menial tasks.
Don’t worry, you don’t actually have to do them all. Simply have them listed and prioritized for the next day.
Your daily to-do list:
Buy one of those small notepads that fit into your back pocket and use it for tracking your daily tasks. As you tick off your tasks for the day, rip off the paper and rewrite the unfinished tasks on a new page.
Don’t for get to mix in the new ones for tomorrow according to their priority.
You can do this on your phone as well. However, I find using the notepad and putting pen to paper a lot more engaging.
Your daily to-do list is the workhorse of your time management skills.
It’s been about 4 years since I first bought a notepad for my daily to-do, and I’ve never looked back.
Since then, I’ve developed a habit to batching tasks mentally. Now I use my trusty notepad for all sorts of intrigues.
Important tip for planning:
Keep your lists simple in all time frames!
I used to have complex systems of planning which wasted a lot of my time.
On the day-to-day basis, the only thing you should be spending your time planning is updating your to-do list for the following day– which literally takes a couple of minutes.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” – Leonardo Da Vinci
Seize the morning
Many people find it best to do analytical tasks in the morning, leaving administrative tasks for the afternoon energy slump and creative work for the evening.
However, I find the administrative tasks exhausting. That being said, analytics comes easy to my personality.
Therefore, when I have a batch of administrative tasks, I like to get them out of my way while I’m at my peak energy.
You, on the other hand, need to structure your day in a way that works best for your own schedule and personality.
Getting those small wins in the morning can be very motivating for the rest of the day. Otherwise, you are more prone to procrastinating later in the day..
The science of morning productivity:
Hunch.com surveyed 68,000 people. They were researching the correlation between people who make their bed in the morning and their sense of happiness.
The survey revealed that “71 percent of bed-makers agreed that they were happy, but 62 percent of messy sheeted people considered themselves unhappy.”
While I would recommend making your bed as well, the figures in the survey are not about that. Rather, they are about the underlying sense of discipline and orderliness.
Charles Duhigg explains in his book, The Power of Habit and How to Hack it, about the cycle of habits and how most habits are made in connection to other habits.
Your morning routine is another cornerstone habit. What you do in the morning sets the tone for your whole day. Getting some wind in your back at the start of the day will promote other productive routines you employ to seize the day.
In this way you will be changing your daily cycle of habits from the very foundation.
Knowing to seize the morning is one of the key time management skills.
Postponing tasks will crowd your schedule. This, in turn, will stress you out and make you avoid your schedule. You will start seeing your schedule as the source of your stress, rather than a solution.
There’s nothing worse than letting your schedule crowd up and overwhelm you. When this happens, you can barely manage to accomplish a few things under pressure, while you inevitably fail to do the majority of your tasks.
As a result, this drains your motivation and confidence, throwing you off your game for days. You end up wasting days of precious time and energy.
“If you do tomorrow what you did today, you will get tomorrow what you got today” – Ben Franklin
Even if you skip the morning energy rush, make sure you avoid procrastination for the rest of the day. Get back on the productive track and tick some low effort tasks off your list ASAP!
I get it, bad mornings happen, lazy days & cheat days happen. Hey, nobody’s perfect. However, don’t let those tough days throw you off your long term game!
Postponing the tasks for the next day is no big deal. However, when it comes to your weekly and monthly schedule, there can be no compromise!
Procrastination is the biggest enemy of your time management skills.
Be smart to recognize when you fall into an energy slump and do whatever it takes to get you through. Use little tricks on yourself when needed. Eat an energy bar, watch some motivational videos, or reward yourself after you’ve done your task.
Know when and how to say no
Knowing when and how to say ‘no’ is a big part of your time management skills. Friends can sometimes be pushy and quite convincing. You need to be able to keep a cool head and put your priorities first.
Two things that you need to be extra careful of are leisure activities and additional responsibilities. Both of these things can be difficult to refuse.
Of course, we all need a break sometimes and doing favors for others is important for sustaining our relationships.
However, you need to keep your weekly schedule as you very first priority, because it will decide if you succeed or fail at your monthly goals.
“When you say ‘yes’ to something, you automatically say ‘no’ to something else. Say ‘yes’ in line with your goals and priorities.” – Joy Marsden
Saying no is simple, but saying it in a wrong way can make the other person feel resentful or dejected.
Land your ‘no’ without backlash:
- Be polite but determined.
- Explain that you have other work to do.
Don’t visit if a phone call will do
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wasted hours on tasks which I could have done over the phone.
Read and repeat: Unless I need to be there personally, I don’t need to be there personally!
Apart from a doctor’s appointment or a legal issue, most of the time you can solve your task by phone call or e-mail.
I would probably exclude this skill for being obvious – if only I didn’t waste countless hours learning from these mistakes.
Get things done from home:
- The number is always easy to get, just google it.
- Make an effort to sound formal when you call.
- Make your request polite and brief.
- Be persistent through the loopholes of bureaucracy.
Know when to delegate
Outsourcing requires you to prioritize between time and money.
Most of the time you can afford a little more time to do something rather than paying for the service or bothering others.
However, when your schedule is tight and you have important matters that require your attention, delegate the secondary tasks whenever possible.
“Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.” – Jessica Jackley
You can relieve a lot of pressure simply by asking for a favor or spending a little money in order to save precious hours for more important work.
Now you see how these time management skills flow naturally from one to another, creating a cycle of productive mentality and habits.
Some are more important than others, but they all complement each other. Together they form a result oriented mindset which will turn the greatest challenges into manageable obstacles.
Which of these skills are new to you? What goals will you conquer using these skills? Let me know in the comments or contact me directly. I would love to hear what you have to say!
Let’s help more people by sharing these awesome pins!