We all want to be more productive and improve our time management skills. Unfortunately, while time management is simple in theory, it is not always an easy concept to put into practice. It takes knowledge, effort and discipline. Here are seven important time management skills to boost your productivity.
We can’t tell you to work harder or be more disciplined, but we can provide you with the knowledge you need to be more productive. In this post, you will learn seven important time management skills that you can use today to increase your productivity level.
The truth about time management
We cannot control time, only what we do with the time we have.
First, it’s important to realize that time really can’t be managed—at least not in the traditional sense. We can’t slow it down or speed it up; We can only control what we do with the hours we have. This may sound obvious, but it is worth noting.
Effective time management is not proper management of time, but proper management of oneself. The way we spend our time will ultimately decide how productive (or not) we are.
You also need to understand that productivity is not achieved through a specific skill set. Succeeding requires a combination of several best practices. The rest of this post will explain seven essential time management skills and how you can use them to be more productive.
7 Important Time Management Skills
Use these seven important time management skills to increase your productivity today.
Even small improvements in the following time management skills will increase your productivity level. We encourage you to study these techniques and apply them to your daily routine.
1. Know Your Goals
Successful time management begins with goal setting. We can’t control how quickly time passes, but we can decide how we spend 24 hours each day. The most productive people are simply those who know how to make every second count towards their goals.
What are you trying to achieve? A clear understanding of your goals will greatly increase your chances of reaching them. So don’t be hasty in this process. Really think about what you want, when you want it, and how you’ll get it. Then prepare your goals according to S.M.A.R.T. Structure:
Main pillars of S.M.A.R.T. time management framework
Specific: The more specific your goals, the more likely you are to be able to achieve them. For example, instead of saying “I want to climb the corporate ladder at my company,” say, “In five years I want to be the CMO of my company, have a corner office, and manage a team of 10 people.”
Measurable: Measurable goals allow you to assess your progress and determine what you set out to do. You can make your goals measurable by setting milestones at different stages of your journey.
Achievable: Your goals must be achievable.
Meaning they have to be humanly possible and important enough for you to put in the work necessary to achieve them. To get what you want, you may need to develop new skills, or put in more hours. Are you ready to do so?
Relevant: Each of your goals needs to be understood in the broader context of your life and career. Becoming a CMO in your company is a noble goal, unless your larger life mission is to start your own business.
Time bound: In the end, your goals should be time bound. Do your best to set realistic deadlines for each of the things you hope to accomplish. Do you want to run a department in your company, get employed by a global brand, start a business? Great, for how long? Time limits will help keep you on track.
2. Know Yourself
Knowing when you work best is one of the most valuable time management skills you can have. For some, it’s first thing in the morning. Others are more productive at night. There is nothing wrong with either approach, as long as you are able to adapt your schedule to accommodate your natural instincts.
Your work environment should also be taken into account. Do you need complete silence and a clean desk to look your best? Perhaps more chaotic environments (like a coffee shop) are better suited for you. Again, there is no right or wrong way to do things. It’s about figuring out what your personal preferences are and putting yourself in the best position to succeed.
Obviously there will be limits to what you can change about your work schedule and environment. Your boss may not help you with work outside the office. Your family life may prevent you from working till late at night. Just do your best to coordinate your personal tendencies with your work.