Technology has offered a great deal to the business world in recent decades. Among the most significant technological advances have been the ability to seamlessly share information with colleagues and coworkers and the ability to utilize technology as a time management tool.
Utilizing a tool without the requisite skills generally produces substandard results. Time management skills, even though they oftentimes employ technology, have to center around human needs. Centering your time management skills around your needs as a human being – even those needs to take a break once in a while – will invariably lead to better results, more effective time management and, ideally, the process should result in you experiencing significantly less stress in your personal and work life.
Get in the Habit
When you do decide upon a route to improve your time management skills, make sure you are ready to stick with it. This is imperative. If you don’t use the tools you have available consistently, they will never become an everyday part of your life. Time management technology should be very easy to use and, when it is, it is not difficult to incorporate it into your life.
Whenever you get a new appointment, take on a new project, need to revise a deadline or do anything else related to time management, the first thing you should do should be to enter the relevant information into your time management tool. This is much easier if you happen to be using a tool that offers mobile capacity, as you then do not have to worry about going back to your office, sitting down, taking the time to enter an appointment and so forth. The easier it is to manage your time the easier it will be for you to be consistent in doing so. That starts with having the right technology.
Start with a List
Starting with a list is one of the easiest and most basic ways to get started at time management. In order to allocate your resources, you first must understand where those resources need to be expended. Where time management is concerned, time is your resource and you have to understand exactly where that resource is needed in order to manage it effectively.
Write down a list of all the projects you have coming up and their deadlines. If you want to skip a step – a great way to get started in the spirit of time management – simply enter in all of the projects you have coming due into your time management software. You can start simple; put down the date that they are due in the time that they are due.
Once you have your list ready, you can start figuring out how you are going to manage the time you have remaining up until a project is due so that you have a good idea of how to proceed moving forward.
If you happen to be in a management role, delegation is one of the most important skills you have and one of the most important skills that you need to keep honing to a keener edge. Learn to delegate responsibilities where appropriate. When you do delegate part of a task, make certain that you communicate to the person to whom you’re delegating the work what is expected of them, when it is due and so forth. You will want to add all of the information relevant to that delegation to your own time management tool, keeping you informed and reminding you of what work is still outstanding and who is responsible for it.
When you do start delegating tasks and when you take on the tasks related to a project yourself, remember to keep focused on your ultimate goal. This helps you to budget your time more effectively. It also helps you to avoid distractions. During the course of most projects, managers will find that being fluid is very important. Fluidity is a great skill for a manager to foster, up to a point. At some point, you need to be reminded of the impending deadlines and how you had planned to originally delegate the time remaining and, as you get better at this you will be able to deal with problems that come up unexpectedly without losing focus on your ultimate goal. A good time management tool will give you reminders and other information that will help you to stay focused and to keep in mind how much time you have remaining.
Good time management tools will give you an idea of how your time is being spent and how much productivity you are getting out of your team and out of yourself. Be sure to take a look at reports and other information that these tools can give you regularly. This helps you to keep aware of whether or not things are falling to the wayside when they need to be attended to and to be aware of other problems that may be ready to rear their ugly heads. If a problem is inevitable, it is much more productive if you are aware of it, ready to deal with it and can keep moving forward as you deal with that problem rather than having everything go off the rails and having to deal with the problem retroactively.
Time management tools that allow a team to share information are incredibly valuable as they allow everybody to keep up-to-date with how the other team members are doing. If you happen to be a team member – and managers are team members – be sure you update your time management tool so that people can see your calendar and are aware if there is going to be some sort of a delay or if something is going to be done ahead of time.
Either way, this provides great benefit. If there is going to be a problem, somebody who is a little bit ahead may be able to help someone who is a bit behind. If something is going to be done ahead of time, which means that there is more time to allocate toward perfecting the project.