Benefits of Effective Time Management (With Actionable Tips)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated November 9, 2022 | Published September 29, 2021
Updated November 9, 2022
Published September 29, 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Time is an important resource that needs to be managed effectively if you are to realize its benefits. Effective Time management is an important skill that anyone can learn and nurture. Understanding how to effectively manage your time is essential for your career and achieving work-life balance. In this article, we define what time management is, discuss the benefits of managing time, and share tips to help you manage your time more effectively.
What is time management?
Time management is the practice of knowing how to organize and plan your time between specific activities. Managing your time enables you to accomplish more in less time. The inability to manage your time may lead to unmet deadlines and stress. The good news is that managing time is a learnable skill that anyone can get better at with time and consistent practice. People with good time management skills are likely to be more productive at work, hence attracting the attention of their employers. They are also better at managing their off-work life, such as family time, pursuing hobbies, or doing additional courses.
Benefits of effective time management
Here are the top benefits of managing your time more effectively:
Manage stress: Managing time effectively allows you to manage work-related stress and anxiety. Taking control of your time makes you feel less overwhelmed with tasks, and you don't feel tired all the time.
Better work-life balance: Managing time effectively enables you to achieve better work-life balance. Achieving the right balance between professional life and personal life is essential for your productivity.
Improved reputation: When you manage time effectively, you enhance your reputation at work. A good reputation enhances your career growth, promotion chances, attracts more responsibilities, and higher salary.
Eliminates distractions: When you manage your time effectively, you become better at overcoming distractions. Developing good time management skills increases your focus, which enables you to complete the most important tasks within the set time limit.
You plan better: Good time management allows you to have time for strategic planning and creativity. When you manage time effectively, you make progress in the most important facets of life, such as career, family, and other interests.
Tips for managing time effectively
Here are tips you can apply to manage time effectively:
Audit your time usage
When you need to manage your time effectively, you need to first audit how you spend your time. Establish how much time you take on your commute or by browsing on your smartphone. This enables you to focus on those tasks that provide the greatest returns and eliminate unproductive activities from your schedule. For instance, if you spend an inordinate amount of time on social media, you can work on reducing this time. Alternatively, if you are spending too much time in traffic, you can explore work from home options or leave the house when the traffic is still manageable.
Create a schedule of tasks
Manage your time by creating a list of what you need to accomplish. Before leaving your workstation, decide what you need to do the following day. Creating a schedule of tasks allows you to set your mind on what you need to do, and you also avoid time slacks deciding what needs to be done. When you set goals, you also put yourself under pressure to achieve those goals within the set time. Your goals need to meet the SMART criterion of being specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.
If you have several tasks on your to-do list, you can manage time by deciding which tasks you need to tackle first and which ones can wait. Prioritize tasks based on their urgency and importance. Based on this approach, tasks can be classified as:
Important and urgent: These tasks need to be done right away
Important but not urgent: These activities are important, but do not require immediate attention. You can set a time to do these tasks.
Urgent but not important: These tasks are urgent but not important. You may choose to delegate these tasks because they do not contribute to your output.
Not urgent and not important: These tasks have little value to your goal. Eliminate these tasks from your schedule.
Dedicate time based on what is important, rather than what is urgent. Important responsibilities enhance the achievement of your goals, while urgent tasks require immediate attention and typically relate to the attainment of someone's else objectives.
Related: How to Prioritize Work Tasks
Set a time limit for tasks
Manage time effectively by setting the time you need to perform various tasks. Setting time limits enables you to be more focused. Also, setting time for tasks allows you to identify potential pitfalls before they arise and hence take early corrective action.
Take breaks between tasks
Taking a break between tasks may seem like a waste of time, but on the contrary, allowing yourself several minutes of rest between tasks has immense benefits in the long run. Taking a break allows you to regain focus for the next tasks. You also clear your head and refresh your energies. You can take a short walk or play a game during the interlude.
Manage time effectively by becoming more organized in your day-to-day activities. If you waste a lot of time looking for files on the computer, you can organize the files using a file management system that allows you to search and access a file instantly. Organize your email inbox to allow you to respond to important emails and postpone the less important emails. Write task deadlines and think of ways of dedicating specific tasks to the best days. For instance, you can discuss IT issues when the chief technology officer is available.
Divide larger tasks
If you have a major task comprising several smaller tasks, you can manage time by dividing the task into manageable tasks. Breaking down tasks allows you to allocate tasks to other individuals best placed to handle them. You also stay motivated by seeing the progress you are making in reducing the workload.
Stay away from distractions
Distractions in the workplace come in many forms, from an unexpected guest at your desk to the constant urge to glance at the reactions from your social media post(s). Manage time effectively by working to reduce distractions and focusing your mind on the tasks on your to-do list. For instance, you can decide to check your mail first thing in the morning or check your social media during lunch break. You may also need to change your working environment to get away from activities that distract you from your planned tasks.
While multitasking may enable you to achieve more, it can affect the quality of your work. Multitasking leads to loss of time as you switch between tasks. Rather, choose to focus on a single task, and complete it successfully before moving to the next task. Don't be overwhelmed by the number of tasks on your to-do list and resort to costly multitasking.
Keep a list of completed tasks
Maintain a list of tasks you have successfully completed, including the time you took to finish. Doing this allows you to know how much time you still need to complete the remaining tasks. Keeping a list of completed tasks also motivates you into believing that you can manage your time effectively.
Adopt remote work
If your job allows it, you can manage your time more effectively by adopting remote work. Working remotely enables you to save time wasted in traffic or in avoidable office meetings. You can check into the office once in a while for physical meetings and take more work home.
Make use of waiting time
When you have to wait for a service or for others to do their part, you can make better use of the waiting time. For instance, if you have a dentist's appointment, you can read and reply to client emails while you are waiting for your turn. Similarly, you can prepare a presentation as you wait for a briefing from a colleague.
Learn to say no
Accepting requests to help others in the workplace is a commendable work habit. However, it can lead to interference with your work plan and schedules as you become overwhelmed with the workload. Learn to tactfully decline help requests from your colleagues. Explain that you do not have space in your calendar to take up more tasks. Make it known that you are open to help when you find space in your schedule. Alternatively, you can choose to delegate these tasks to those best qualified to accomplish them.
Group similar tasks together
When you audit tasks, you might realize some tasks are similar. For instance, if you need to post social media marketing posts and respond to emails, you can group these tasks together because they require the use of a device. You can complete all the tasks that need internet connectivity and later move to other tasks that don't require connectivity. Switch off your devices to avoid further distractions.
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