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7 Effective Time Management Tips

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

Control your time instead of letting time control you.

Time Management Skills and Techniques

Too much work to do in too little time is too familiar a refrain in both work and life. Despite utilising countless scheduling tools in our laptops, wearables, handhelds and other smart devices, many of us invariably hustle to complete our tasks in a given day. Some of us try to control time through aggressive scheduling, only to end up feeling exhausted with the still-pending commitments by the end of the day.

An individual’s ability or inability to manage his time impacts an organisation’s productivity and morale. That is why Time Management skills are one of the most sought-after in the workforce. At the same time, it remains amongst the rarer skills to find.

While numerous surveys have revealed increased employee productivity due to work from home during the pandemic, the average workday has also increased by 30 minutes globally during the same period. The reduction of time spent on additional activities such as commuting, the coffee room breaks etc., has led to an increase in work-time, instead of the other way round- a paradox of Time Management!

It is crucial to understand the components of effective Time Management to unravel this paradox.

What is Time Management?

Time management is a conscious decision-making process that structures and organises a person’s time towards specific activities that need to be accomplished, adjusting for the changing external and internal environment. Greater productivity and efficiency, less stress and enhanced opportunities to achieve life’s and career goals are some of the enormous benefits of effective Time Management.

The Three skills for Successful Time Management

Three broad skills that separate successful time management from that of a failed one are:

  • Awareness- Realistic understanding that time is a finite resource, and hence scheduling more volume of tasks won’t help.

  • Arrangement- Scheduling, planning and organising your goals and tasks into buckets of time. The majority of time management tips, apps and hacks deal with this skill.

  • Adaptation-Monitoring usage of time while performing activities, including adjusting to unexpected interruptions or changing priorities.

The majority of us make the mistake of attempting to schedule our way to effective Time Management through the use of calendars and other productivity tools, which constitute only one-third of Time Management Skills.

The techniques and tips deployed for Time Management need to encompass all three skills for a successful control over one’s time.

Effective Time Management Techniques

In essence, time management isn’t so much about managing time as it is about managing yourself. The techniques mentioned here will improve the ways you work, help control distractions and enhance concentration levels.

1. Decide the principles, not the tasks. Work will expand to fill the time allotted for its completion as per the renowned Parkinson’s law. No matter how much effort we put in to separate the urgent from important or prioritise our tasks, something unexpected will always come up, and certain tasks for the day will remain incomplete. Instead of growing frustrated with a long to-do list, it would be better to decide the principle for the finite period. E.g. Your principle for the day may be to complete your review presentation, for the week can be to make a sales pitch to ten new prospects, and for the month may be to come up with a five-year vision for your department. Accordingly, you will arrange your To-Do list with activities that will bring you closer to your principles. Tasks not core to these principles will be ranked lower or eliminated from your To-Do list.

2. Allow time for individual contribution. Despite th