How To Improve Your Time Management Skills

young businessman multitasking in cafe

When it comes to working, time management is one of the oldest challenges in the book. Whether you work full-time in the office, attend class as a student, or work from home, staying productive throughout the day is no easy task.

In this age of constant distraction and technology, it's no wonder our time management skills are suffering. Read on to learn about our favorite time management tips. 

Take on a Realistic Workload

It may seem counterintuitive, but one of the most helpful things you can do to boost your productivity is to take on less. If you try to take on more work than is healthy, you risk encountering burnout, frustration, and anxiety. These all lead to lower productivity levels.

Plus, when you take on a massive workload, it can start to feel like you're not making any progress no matter how much work you do throughout the day. When you have a realistic amount of work to do, you'll see your progress more clearly which will build your confidence and help you succeed.

Make a Schedule

This tip is extremely helpful for people who work from home. But whether you work in an office or from your bedroom, a schedule is always helpful for productivity. Just like you organize your papers and files, you should organize your time.

Setting out specific blocks of time for specific tasks can keep you from worrying about them at inopportune times. Making a schedule can also help you identify when you may need to ask for help with a project or when you have time to take on a little bit more. 

Prioritize Tasks

A common productivity killer is spending too much time on tasks that don't matter while more pressing concerns go unaddressed. For example, you may spend 30 minutes choosing the perfect email signature instead of using that time to work on a project with a looming deadline.

Break Down Your Goals

Some people have trouble prioritizing tasks that seem particularly large or intense. We all have a natural instinct to start with the easy tasks and work our way to the heart tasks. However, this mentality often leads to procrastination on the tasks that matter the most.

A good way of combating this pitfall is to break down your goals into smaller pieces. For example, instead of thinking about a massive 20-page report, you might break down the task into sub-goals that will feel more manageable.

A great way to do this is to set your own deadlines for your subgoals so that you make incremental progress over a longer period of time. 

Take Breaks Regularly

This is another productivity tip that sounds counterintuitive. When you're worried about your productivity, it can be easy to put off taking breaks. You might even feel guilty for taking a break when you have a lot on your plate. 

But in reality, breaks can actually increase your productivity and prevent you from getting stuck on a task for too long. They are also great for staving off burn out and keeping your brain fresh and active for longer periods of time.

Breaks also provide an opportunity for you to get up and get active throughout the day. Taking a short walk around the block or the office can help refresh your brain and keep you from sitting too long. These little mini exercise breaks may seem small or pointless, but they can have a huge impact on your health in the long run. 

Practice Self-Care

Speaking of staying healthy, it's also important to practice self-care as a means of boosting your productivity. This is another thing that we often neglect when we're trying our hardest to be productive.

For example, many people feel that they are more productive when they dress the part, regardless of whether they work in an office or from home. While attending class in your pajamas may sound like a good idea at first, it can actually make you feel a little bit off-balance throughout the day.

Making time for relaxation, exercise, and socialization can all help boost your productivity during the day.

Seize the Day

Another way to up your productivity game is to consider how you're using your day. Many people find that if they get up earlier, they get more done in the morning hours than they would in the afternoon.

However, other people feel that they do their best work in the afternoons and evenings and would prefer to stay up late and wake up late. If your work schedule allows you to do this, it's a totally viable option. Not all of us have to be early birds!

Regardless of whether you're a morning person or night owl, knowing the times of day when you are most productive (and the times of day when you most need a break) will help you stay on task when you need to.

Keep Healthy Boundaries between Work and Home

Highly productive people often have trouble leaving their work at the workplace (hence the phrase workaholic.) If you are working on things that you are particularly passionate about, it can be hard to put them down at the end of the day and know when to stop working.

This is especially true if you are already anxious about your productivity levels. But remember that keeping a balance between work and home can help make you more productive during the workday and prevent you from burning out. It feels odd at first, but it really does make a difference!

Practice, Practice, Practice

Like most tasks, you will find that you become better at being productive the more that you practice. First, get to know your own working style and what strategies work best for you. Then, take those strategies and turn them into habits.

For example, many people make it a habit to put their phones away while they're at their desks. This can be challenging, especially when you work from home, but in the long run, it will help prevent distractions during the workday. For more ideas on this, view these courses

Time Management Skills

While all of these strategies can help improve your time management skills, it's also important to remember that you are not a robot. In fact, not working often boosts your productivity just as much as working does. It's all about finding the right balance for you!

For more how-to articles, check out our other posts!

 

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