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Close up view of hourglass stand on wooden home office measuring time, woman busy using computer. Female employee on background work on laptop, try to meet deadline. Efficiency concept.

The power of effective time management

We live in a fast-paced world, one where it seems as though every second counts and where time is a limited and precious resource. In this environment, mastering time management can help people make the very best use of their time – both personally and professionally.

Time management is about consciously planning ahead, prioritising tasks, and avoiding procrastination. The goal isn’t to cram in as much as possible into a day, but to make good use of the time available to achieve goals and find fulfillment. While it’s true that good time management skills will increase productivity, it’s also about reducing stress and helping people achieve better balance in their lives.

Why is time management important?

It’s clear that time is a limited resource, and how a person manages it can significantly impact their personal and professional lives. By developing effective time management skills, they gain control over their time, rather than allowing it to control them.

The importance of time management is highlighted by a number of its benefits, including:

  • Enhanced professional reputations. In the professional world, a person’s reputation is built on the quality of their work and their ability to meet deadlines. Proper time management not only helps people complete tasks on time but also allows them to consistently deliver high-quality work – which in turn can open doors to new opportunities.
  • Lowered stress levels. Juggling various commitments without proper time management can lead to heightened stress levels. When someone struggles to find enough time for important tasks, stress can build up, affecting their physical and mental well-being. With good time management, however, people can allocate specific periods for different tasks, ensuring they have ample time for work, relaxation, and personal activities – and far less stress.
  • Better work-life balance. In the age of smartphones and constant connectivity, finding a balance between people’s work and personal lives has become challenging. But effective time management enables people to allocate specific time slots for work, family, leisure, and self-care – and this balance not only prevents burnout but also contributes to overall happiness and satisfaction.

Other benefits of time management

Developing better time management skills offers a host of benefits outside of its biggest advantages. For example, it can result in:

  • More free time. Paradoxically, allocating time to manage time can actually result in more free time. By making space for efficiently completing tasks, people free up time that can then be used for other activities they enjoy, such as hobbies or spending time with loved ones.
  • Better decision-making. When people manage their time well, they can make better decisions because they have the space and extra time to consider options thoroughly. Rushing decisions due to poor time management can lead to regrets, but effective time management allows people to weigh pros and cons and make informed choices.
  • Improved workflows. A structured approach to time management improves people’s workflows more generally. By breaking tasks into manageable chunks and scheduling them appropriately, it ensures a smoother and more organised work process.

Tips for managing time more effectively

There are a number of time management tips as well as practical time management techniques and tools that people can use to make best use of their time. 

Prioritise and delegate

Proper time management means prioritising tasks based on their significance and urgency. It requires going through each task on a to-do list and working out what’s most important, what’s most urgent, and ordering them accordingly. The majority of time should be spent on the important and urgent tasks, with less time and less effort allocated to the remaining tasks.

  1. Focus on the most essential tasks first – the ones that are most important and most urgent. This ensures that meaningful progress can be made towards goals, and prevents people from getting distracted by less important work, or spreading themselves too thin.
  2. Don’t forget to delegate. Not all tasks require direct involvement, so it’s important to learn to delegate tasks that can be handled by others, and to instead focus on the tasks that require a person’s own expertise to add value.
  3. Don’t forget to re-prioritise if new tasks come in during the day. 

Reduce procrastination 

Procrastination and productivity do not mix. Whether it’s focusing on less important work, or simply scrolling through social media rather than doing any work at all – procrastination often leads to delaying tasks until the last minute, resulting in rushed and subpar work.

Effective time management, however, helps people to overcome procrastination by breaking tasks into smaller, manageable segments, and allocating sufficient time to complete them during the workday. 

Use time-tracking apps

Modern technology offers a variety of time-tracking apps that can help monitor how people spend their time. These apps provide insights into daily tasks and can help identify areas where individuals can save time and be more efficient.

Embrace the Pomodoro technique

The Pomodoro technique is a popular time management tool. It involves working on a task for a focused 25-minute period and then taking a short break, somewhere between two and five minutes. 

This technique has been shown to help maintain concentration and can help prevent burnout.

Invest in planners and other planning tools

Traditional paper planners or digital tools like calendar apps can be fantastic allies in time management. Plan days, weeks, and months in advance, allocating the appropriate amount of time for important tasks, meetings, and personal activities.

Avoid multitasking

While it may seem like multitasking helps people get more done, it often leads to decreased efficiency and lower-quality work. 

Instead, it’s better to focus on one task at a time, completing each one before then moving on to the next.

Successfully manage your time and take your leadership skills to the next level

Forge your future in leadership with the 100% online MBA Leadership from Lincoln International Business School at the University of Lincoln. This flexible MBA has been created for ambitious professionals who want to fast-track their career progression, and is ideally suited to:

  • individuals currently in or aspiring to management and leadership roles.
  • entrepreneurial individuals looking to develop the skills and competencies to successfully launch a start-up business in the real-world. 

You’ll develop your skills in areas such as innovation and entrepreneurship, strategic decision-making, financial management, and stakeholder engagement, and because this programme is offered entirely online, you can learn the skills to move your career forward while continuing to work full-time in your current role, fitting study around your work and family commitments.