Occasionally, we're bound to feel overloaded. When this happens, we need time management skills. With time management training resources, you suddenly are accomplishing more than ever in less time.
We live in a hectic, busy world. Most of us are trying to juggle many priorities, ranging from work, family, our social lives, and more.
This article has everything you need to teach yourself time management. Time and workload management skills are the key to keep your life in balance and feel fulfilled. In this tutorial, you'll see resources and skills that not only help you accomplish more, but also feel your best while doing it.
What Time Management Skills (& Training) Do You Need For 2022?
Sometimes, managing our time can seem impossible. Tasks fall by the wayside, with the thought of tackling them becoming overwhelming. When that happens, you need time management skills. These are fulcrum upon which your work gets done.
For the purpose of the article, here's a working definition of time management:
Time management is the art of using techniques and skills to accomplish the most high-value work in limited working time.
Now, let's break this definition down into its components.
- "...using techniques and skills". Time management doesn't happen on its own. We must be intentional in how we design and plan our working time. Otherwise, we risk wandering aimlessly from one task to the next. We'll explore many of these in this article.
- "...accomplish the most high-value work...". The success of your time management isn't measured by how many items you cross off the list. Don't confuse the number of tasks with the value of what you accomplish.
- "in limited working time". We all have time constraints. Working more hours is rarely the solution that balances our well-being in the equation. Time management helps you maximize working hours to extract the most value.
By using time and workload management skills, you can ensure that you’re doing your best work. And more importantly, you won't sacrifice your well-being. You help projects stay on track.
By keeping your workload in check, you help to avoid feelings of burnout, stress, and anxiety. This helps you maintain a healthier balance across all areas of your life.
How Do I Learn Time Management? (Time Management Training Resources)
Here's the good news: time management is a skill. That means that it can be learned or practiced. And that means that you too can become a master of time management.
The trick is to build a system that works best for you. No two people manage their time in exactly the same ways. Nor is there a guaranteed right or wrong way to manage time. Read on to teach yourself the specific techniques you can use for time management.
While it’s key to develop your own style of time management, it helps to leverage best practice from others. A quick way to start is with our list of quick tips to better manage time. Keep in mind, you may not have a ton of time to learn to manage time. Lean on the tips for time and workload management skills below:
If you’re a freelancer or run a side business, there are time management resources for you too. These help perform work effectively, while balancing other commitments along the way. Check out our guide with time management training resources targeted at freelancers and side business owners:
Another, often-overlooked component of time management is delegation. None of us can do everything all by ourselves, and we shouldn’t try. Delegating tasks is a key part of successfully managing time. This captures the idea of working smarter, not harder:
What Key Time Management Skills Do I Need?
Time management is a skill to be cultivated. We’ve looked at some time management training resource options to help you get started. But to succeed, you need to form a few key time management skills. Let’s look at five of them.
1. Task Prioritization
If you focus on building just one time management skill, make it prioritization.
The first rule of time management is to prioritize your tasks. Sure, you could try to finish every task more quickly. But if you focus on simply completing the most tasks, you won't accomplish the most. Don't confuse busy with productive. Busy people cross off tasks while productive people achieve results.
I think that there is an efficiency epidemic among intelligent people, especially among technologists, to focus on how to do things better as opposed to what to do. - Tim Ferriss
Faced with a mountain of tasks? Juggling your working and personal life so much that it feels overwhelming? Take a deep breath, step back, and consider the tasks you’re facing. Odds are, they’re not all equal. When you're overloaded, even grocery shopping or cutting the grass can seem impossible.
Time management at its core is task analysis and organization. Start by prioritizing your tasks and projects, focusing first on those you deem most important. Organization is the result of these priorities. Then, you order, schedule, track, and complete high-value tasks.
Don’t get bogged down in quick, simple tasks while leaving major projects until it’s too late. It’s a good plan to rank tasks in order of when they need to be completed. Then, you can allocate your time to ensure you've got the room needed to get them done.
You also need to be in the right headspace to complete certain tasks. If you’re having trouble focusing, it’s often useful to change gears and work on something else. Factor in your creative energy level, and you’ll be amazed at how much you can get done.
Goal-setting is a must when you teach yourself time management. Without clear goals, tasks tend to expand to fill all available time. Clear goals might come in the form of deadlines for a project. But without a targeted time to complete something, many projects just may never get done!
Setting clear goals is the direct result of ranking your tasks. It quantifies your priorities and sets expectations for when you’ll complete tasks.
One common test for your goals if a mnemonic SMART:
- Specific. While "improve the performance of batteries for electric vehicles" is specific, "I want to change the world" is not. Set goals with a clear goal so that you can test your achievement against it.
- Measurable. A measurable goal is one that you can assess your progress against. Think about this question: "if I achieve my goal, how will I know it?" Using metrics and data to make your goal measurable helps you to assess your success.
- Achievable. We all want to dream big. But if a goal isn't achievable, we'll soon feel frustrated and ineffective. Set goals that stretch you but ensure that they're achievable as well.
- Relevant. If you're working in a team environment, it's important that your goals are aligned with the goals of others. That makes them relevant to the overall success.
- Time bound. Make sure that you set a point in time against which to measure the success of your actions. Otherwise, goals are continuously open items.
Do two things when you set goals:
- be proactive
- but be reasonable
Saving every task until the last minute is a good way to stress yourself out and miss deadlines. But trying to do everything all at once has the exact same result. Stick to a task cadence that you can maintain and set goals to match.
Remember too that goal-setting doesn’t always mean completing tasks all at once. If you’re writing a 100-page paper, you’re probably not going to do it all at once. A good goal here might be ten pages per day for ten days. Your deliverable will soon be complete, but at a reasonable, steady pace. Time management is a marathon, not a sprint.
Learn more about goal-setting in this masterful article:
3. Scheduling and Planning
Scheduling and planning pick up where prioritization leaves off. After all, knowing which tasks to focus on is just the first step to accomplishing them.
Once you've got your goals, you need a clear way to track them and stay on pace. Trying to keep things straight in your head is a surefire way to lose track of things. It pays to have a scheduling tool to help you.
A goal without a plan is just a wish. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
For example, you could use apps like Calendly or Google Calendar to build out your schedule. You may choose to group by day, by week, or by month. This is a decision governed by the length and complexity of the activities you’re managing. No matter what tool you choose, scheduling and planning skills are a must. They keep you on track at a glance.
Check out Calendly, a tool that helps you schedule your meetings
4. Tracking Time and Progress
You’ve ranked your tasks, scheduled them, and now you’re working on them. But how do you know where you stand? By using the next key skill: tracking time and progress. This is a must when you’re managing several things at once. If you set due dates without a tracking technique, it’s easy to lose track of your workflow.
Once again, tools are your friend here. Using online tools like Trello or Notion is a great way to track time and progress. You can easily set metrics and assign individual tasks to “cards.” On the cards, you can leave notes, attachments, and more. By using these boards, you’ll find it much easier to keep things moving.
If you bill clients based on hours, time tracking is even more important. After all, lost time is lost revenue. According to a study by Accelo,
"...over 38% of potential billable revenue lost to untracked time spent..." [in businesses].
You can also keep your thoughts together with a change management slide deck. This outlines the key progress steps in a project and assigns milestones to help track them.
5. Open Communication
Chances are, you don’t work in a vacuum. The last major part of time management is open communication. Be honest and forthcoming with others as you plan tasks in your work or personal life.
By setting clear expectations, you can ensure your contributions are valued. And remember, sometimes we all need to ask for help. By delegating tasks and sharing your workload, you can get more done. You’ll be more effective and much less overwhelmed.
By using these time management skills, you’re ready to start your journey to effective time management. With time management resources, you can boost your output, mood, efficiency, and more. It’s truly a must for anyone in 2022.
Millions of Creative Templates for Better Time Management
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Put Your New Time Management Skills to Work
Work smarter - not harder - with the help of these time management training resources. Remember that time management is a skill that you can perfect. Put these resources into practice, and you might be surprised by how much you can accomplish.
Here's a challenge to try today:
- take every task you need to complete and begin to rethink them.
- Start by prioritizing your tasks.
- Then, set goals and think about how each task fits into your goal.
- Finally, adopt a simple but powerful task management system - even if it's just a to-do list.
Editorial Note: This content was originally published in February 2022. We're sharing it again because our editors have determined that this information is still accurate and relevant.