It's one of the major ways we can improve our work life balance - improving our time management skills is essential to reducing anxiety, stress and depression.
How many times do you find yourself wishing you had more time?
Time to relax, time to spend with your family, time to go to the gym or cook a meal from scratch. Sometimes this extra time can seem so elusive.
Emma Donaldson-Feilder, a chartered occupational psychologist, says that,
"The aim of good time management is to achieve the lifestyle balance you want."
Many of us want a better life/work balance and one of the easiest ways to achieve this is to improve our time management skills.
We pulled together 15 tips for simple ways you can change up your approach to find extra time in your day.
Knowing what you're working towards helps keep the mind focused.
Setting goals might not be an element of good time management you'd expect, but keeping on track of your goals and working towards a particular achievement will help.
Always working with a particular goal in mind prevents you from filling your day with unimportant, unfocused activities.
Brainstorm your goals right now, if you haven't already done so.
If you love to stay in control of your daily tasks perhaps that needs to change. Giving up control and passing responsibility onto others for certain tasks in your working day is one of the simplest ways to gain more time.
Once you start handing over some of your jobs you'll be surprised at how easy it becomes. You may even become a little addicted to it.
Learn how to plan your day.
If planning doesn't come naturally to you, it's worth identifying a strategy or routine that you can apply to both your work and personal life. (Our planners are a good place to start)
Planning tasks and jobs, events, meetings and more means you won't miss anything, you won't feel stressed and you won't have to fit forgotten jobs into your day.
Building on the planning aspect of time management, it's really useful to teach yourself how to prioritise effectively.
The general rule is to plan your day around essential and non-essential tasks.
You can be most productive when you tackle the smaller, essential jobs first.
Ticking a few of them off your to do list first thing in the morning can make you feel like you've really achieved something. It also prevents those tasks becoming big burdens, causing you further stress and anxiety.
Now that you know to plan and prioritise, it's essential to condition yourself to make lists. Each and every day.
One way to tackle this is to write down EVERYTHING you need to achieve that day and in the coming days, then prioritise them, starting with those small jobs and breaking down the larger jobs into smaller chunks.
You could do this for the week ahead and plan out each day's tasks in advance.
At the end of each day, carry over those tasks that you've not managed to achieve and build them into your work for the following day.
Learn to be more aware of how you feel, when you're overwhelmed or when you feel stressed.
We never work well when our mind and body is suffering, so give yourself a break at this point. You won't be productive, so learn to step away and do something else.
Often, there's no-one telling us what needs to be done. In order to achieve the tasks on your daily to-do list you need to be self-motivated.
Be firm with yourself. Work for periods of time before taking a break.
Give yourself rewards and treats for reaching certain points in your list and ensure you make the most of the time you have.
Following on from an increase in your self-motivation skills, be clear that when you do spend time working, it's the most productive it can be.
A big failure in time management skills can be the attraction of being distracted.
Try to stay on task when you focus on your work; it's often a skill that needs dedication and attention.
A great way to improve productivity and work your way effectively through your to do list is to use a timer.
Give yourself a certain amount of time to work on a particular project. Close off all distractions and focus solely on the job in hand.
You'll be amazed at how much more you can achieve. Your productivity is increased and you'll even find yourself ticking off jobs from your to do list faster than you've managed before.
Managing stress levels is never easy but taking some of the points above into account, such as improving self-awareness, will help you deal better with the times you feel stressed.
Learn how to walk away. Know what triggers your stress and identify if there are ways to reduce them.
Perhaps leaving a particular task until late in the day make you feel anxious. If that's the case, try adding it into your morning routine to see if that helps the way you feel.
Don't use this tip as a last resort. Many of us stop working when we feel overwhelmed or stressed but, in fact, downing tools and stepping away from our work can clear our mind and help us be more productive in the end.
Giving yourself a break is a definite way to improve your time management skills and you'll find you get more done if you give yourself regular breaks.
It can be hard, particularly if you're a procrastinator but learning to be more decisive is a massive time saver.
Pushing yourself to make a decision is one of the quickest ways to save brain power and move forward with your daily tasks.
And it can reduce stress levels, so don't underestimate the power of making faster decisions.
Furthermore, don't be afraid to say no. If you're generally a people pleaser or one who is happy to take on responsibility for other projects, learn when to turn them down.
With your increased self-awareness and ability to plan more effectively, you'll realise when you've hit your limits.
You won't have a good life-work balance if you keep taking on extra tasks so learn when to stop and when to say no.
Keeping your mind clear and sharp will give you an enormous boost when tackling the work in front of you.
Staying hydrated is an essential tool in taking care of yourself.
You can't be effective and manage your time if you aren't fit and healthy.
You can keep track of your water intake in the special section in our planners.
Similarly, don't work so hard that you forget to eat.
Plan mealtimes, breaks and snacks into your working day. It's essential to stay fuelled correctly.
Try and avoid sugar and caffeine. Whilst they give you a quick boost, you'll slump later in the day, find your energy levels dwindling and a see a reduction in your productivity.
We hope you find these 15 tips for improving your time management skills at work helpful.
Do let us know if you do any of these, leave a comment below.
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