Time management is a skill that is essential for maintaining a healthy work-life balance and to enjoy a high quality of life. If you want more time, start by learning time management skills! Whether you are a career oriented professional or entrepreneur, time management skills help an individual to utilize his or her full potential and increase productivity in the responsibilities handled. Time is a critical resource and it has to be managed efficiently.

What would you do if you had an extra two hours a day? You could use it to pursue the activities you really want to, get more done, have more time to do what you want. Time management mistakes should be avoided and can easily be learnt. Time spent going through the following brief time management tips, have the power to free up considerable amounts of time, if implemented and acted upon.  Start by implementing a few techniques over time, don´t try to change too much at once.

Learn to finish a work within specified time limit
Unless you have set a time limit for the completion of a task, you will continue to refine it only to waste time without any significant difference in the quality of output. This is a golden rule in time management skills. Estimate the time it will take to complete the task, commit to finishing within that time, focus 100% on the task and remove all the distractions and interruptions that you know you normally have.

  • Think about – What is the outcome you want?
  • Once you are clear about the outcome, break the tasks down into actions
  • Prioritize
  • Take action
  • Keep asking ‘What’s the next step?
  • Repeat until complete.

This may work for some activities but multitasking is in fact, counter-productive. If the task requires attention and focus and you try to do too many things at once, you will end up with half completed jobs. You are left with jobs that you now still have to finish, you have wasted time and lost focus. Perform one task with 100% focus, the quantity and quality of your work will improve dramatically.

Prioritize Your Activities
Some of the activities that you perform everyday are important and some of them are urgent. You can practice prioritizing by putting your tasks into four categories

Important and urgent – Tasks that need to be done, but don’t spend all your time on urgent tasks.
Important but not urgent – You should be spending most of your time in this category
Not important but urgent – Need to do something but it is not a high priority, ie. Taking on too much because you cannot say ¨No¨ Neither important nor urgent – Tasks like cleaning desk, organizing filing system, make time but not a priority unless it is urgent.

If you spend some time analyzing your activities and the time you spend on them, you will easily be able to figure out how to change your time allocation such that you achieve the maximum results within a certain time.

Be Assertive
Learn to be assertive and say ¨No¨ when you want to. If you take time to become aware of every moment of your time that is spent doing things which only steal time from you and provide no benefit or value. You need to learn to turn down requests and invitations that you know you simply cannot take on. You can create more time by being more assertive when you firmly state that you cannot take up any further appointments or engagements. Remember, when are unable to say “no”, ultimately it is you who suffers because it is your precious time and energy that is wasted in the process.

Learn to delegate
One of the common time management mistakes, made by most people is to believe that they are the best people to do a job. Unfortunately this results in excess work burden and adversely affects the quality of work. Training subordinates and delegating work can be used to increase productivity. Remember to ensure that the person fully understands all the work that is required and is clear about the next steps forward.

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