You’re busy. You have a lot going on and want to sharpen your time management skills so that you can get even more done.
I like it!
I like driven people like you. People that want to do more with their lives. People that don’t want to just exist, but want to thrive.
Screw mediocrity, right? You’re here to do something awesome and you need as many tools as possible to make it happen!
That’s great and I’m here to help.
I’m not what you would call a “handy person”. Using a hammer or drill isn’t something I’m naturally confident in.
Never call me if something is broken in your home. I can guarantee I’ll make it worse. But, I recognize that just like any other skill, being able to do handiwork around the home is both a necessity and something that I can figure out.
A few years ago though, I was completely hopeless.
I had no interest in building birdhouses or whatever it is you do with tools. *Ironically, I’m an Eagle Scout and should really know how to do this kind of thing.
And when I did take the time to be handy, to do the simplest of tasks like assembling a desk, I would get quickly frustrated and annoyed with the entire process.
School and handiwork feel very similar to me. Both are important, but I had very little interest in either.
It wasn’t until those things became relevant in my life that I actually started to care.
For instance, I didn’t really start learning anything of importance until after I had graduated college and finally had the time to read books that I found interesting.
The same goes for handiwork.
It wasn’t until I started living in places that I cared about that I felt the need to learn how to paint, or use a drill, or hang a shelf. Once it became relevant though, I saw the value in it and was ready to learn.
So I started learning.
Time Management Skills: 10 Essentials To Boost Your Productivity
It took time. And I was certainly not a natural out of the gate.
But while I still prefer to use a laptop instead of a screwdriver, I now feel confident using both tools equally.
Which is exciting!
It’s fun working on new skills – especially when they can directly impact your life in a positive way.
And that’s how you should see your time management skills.
Because when you’re the type that’s driven and wants more out of life than the average person, time management is one facet that you’ll want to hone. After all, the better you can manage your time, the more you’ll get done each day, and the greater progress you’ll make with your goals.
So use this post as inspiration.
Figure out which time management skills you should start working on and get to it!
By the way, if you want something a little more in-depth and hands-on, I recommend checking out my goal setting course. It’ll give you that extra boost you need to make the right progress forward.
1. Time management skills: Shift your mindset
One of the best time management skills you can adopt is the ability to shift your mindset. To have an open mind; able to understand fresh perspectives and to be willing to question them.
Basically, to challenge both yourself and your assumptions in regards to how things work.
One great way to do this is to simply ask yourself why. For example, why…
- Do I do X first thing in the morning?
- Am I responsible for X tasks?
- Is there only so much of X?
These questions are meant to help you understand the big picture. Because you’ll often find that the work you do isn’t aligned with your goals.
Which is a problem.
So from time to time, ask yourself why.
You may just discover some new ways of doing things. Or better yet, that some things that you do now don’t need to be done at all!
2. Time management skills: Utilize a calendar
Ah, the calendar. Seen by many as one of the top time management strategies (myself included).
Because of how helpful it is in organizing your life.
Most smartphones come with a calendar built in. Personally, I use the default one that comes on Apple devices. I’ve also heard great things about Google Calendar too. You can use a free app or a paper calendar. You can use a notebook or a spreadsheet.
It doesn’t matter as long as you have some sort of system for planning.
Use your calendar as a way to plan for the future, to stay organized, and to manage your time.
3. Time management skills: Stop multitasking
Plain and simple – multitasking doesn’t work.
I used to consider myself the king of multitasking… until I realized that I wasn’t actually getting anything done.
So if you’re wondering how to manage time effectively, keep this one in mind. Because by spreading your focus too thin (ie. multitasking), you won’t be able to actually get anything done.
Close out of your social media, put your phone on airplane mode, and get it done!
By single-tasking instead of multitasking, you will make huge strides in whatever you are trying to get done.
4. Time management skills: Be flexible
What? Be flexible? Didn’t you just tell me to plan out my life with a calendar?
Yes, but there’s more to time management than just using a calendar.
Things will happen unexpectedly. Problems arise here or there, deadlines change, software crashes.
Life will mess up your plans occasionally.
And when that happens, you need to be flexible.
In those moments, use your time to the best of your ability, but don’t be too hard on yourself if other things take precedence. Be flexible with your schedule and open to the fact that things will change and you’ll have to adapt as you go.
However, don’t use those events as an excuse to stop working towards your goals.
Instead, once the unexpected situation is resolved, get back to the task at hand with determination and drive.
5. Time management skills: Know when to say no (and yes!)
You may feel the urge to say yes to every single thing that comes your way. It’s a common feeling that many share.
And I get it. You don’t want to miss out on an opportunity. So if you say yes to everything you’ll never miss a thing.
That’s not true though.
Keep in mind that one of the best time management skills that you should develop is to recognize when to say yes and when to say no. Because if you say yes to one opportunity, that means you are simultaneously saying no to potentially hundreds of other opportunities.
For example, if you attend a conference over the weekend that you have no interest in, that’s time that you could’ve spent:
- Working on your side project
- Spending time with loved ones
- Updating your resume for a better job
But instead of doing any of those things, you’re sitting in some poorly lit meeting room listening to someone drone on about something you’re never going to use.
So recognize that everytime you say yes to one thing you are also saying no to something else and decide accordingly.
6. Time management skills: Optimize your meetings
Meetings are time wasters.
At best they help move a project along. At worst they burn an hour from your otherwise productive day.
So similar to recognizing when to say yes and no, take the time to understand which meetings will provide value to you before agreeing to them.
If deemed not valuable, politely decline.
Or if you determine that it’s an important meeting to attend, make sure that:
- Only the necessary people are there. Keep it small and concise.
- There is an outline of topics that will be covered.
- That it is scheduled for a short period and ends on time.
I try and avoid meetings at all costs, but when I need to attend them, I make sure they follow those guidelines.
7. Time management skills: Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone
Here’s one of the best (and simplest) time management skills to develop – pick up the phone.
Sending emails back and forth wastes time. Communication can often fall apart, message deliveries can get delayed, people can take days to respond.
If you are looking to get things done fast, try picking up the phone and calling the other person instead.
Doing so will avoid unnecessary time waste and miscommunication.
8. Time management skills: Prioritize
With an ever-expanding list of to-dos, it is imperative that you prioritize the important versus the non.
So go through your list and determine which items are important, not important, urgent, and not urgent (often referred to as the Eisenhower Matrix).
Use your goals as a reference point to help determine which items should be worked on first.
Put the urgent, important items at the top of your list and either remove or put the not urgent, not important items at the bottom.
9. Time management skills: Get motivated
Whether it’s work, your routine, or overall health, burnout is not fun to deal with.
So be proactive!
Experiment with different ways of keeping yourself fresh and motivated. Build in some new positive habits, try out some new techniques, keep pushing onward.
Treat your mind and body well so that you can sustain your energy levels through the long haul.
10. Time management skills: Learn to focus
To close out the list of time management skills, one skill that you’ll greatly benefit from developing is focus.
Because the better you can focus, the easier it will be for you to complete important tasks and get real work done. It’s a truly essential skill to have in your time management tool belt.
So try putting:
- Your phone on airplane mode so that you don’t get distracted
- Some music on that helps you focus
- Your current workspace aside and go find a quieter place to get work done
The key to making this time management skill work is to uncover what best allows you to concentrate.
Just like learning how to use a hammer or paint a wall, building out your time management skill repertoire will take time.
It won’t be immediate and it won’t happen overnight.
But if you take little steps forward with your skills each day, your ability to effectively manage your time and get more done will continue to grow and grow.
So get to it!
Push forward and make the progress you’re after!
Use the time management skills listed above and start harnessing your time like never before.
Now that you have your time management skills worked out, you’re going to want to harness the other aspects of your time. Because time management skills are just one piece of a much larger time management puzzle.
So if you want to get to the next level, I recommend enrolling in my goal setting course.
Goal setting and time management go hand-in-hand. And if you truly want to get more of the important things done in your day, you need goal setting more than ever. You can learn more about my goal setting course here.
Want more of my free stuff before committing to the course? I get it! Check out these posts:
- Time management strategies – here
- How to create a plan to optimize your time – here
- Things that you can do on Sunday to have a productive week – here
Other post references: