What are time management skills?
01 March 2019 | Columns
Time management means working efficiently, and employers in every industry look for staff who can make optimal use of the time available to them on the job. Saving time saves the organisation money and increases revenue.
Effective time management requires staff to analyse their workload, assign priorities, and maintain focus on productive endeavours. Employees who are excellent time managers can eliminate distractions and enlist support from colleagues to help accomplish their goals.
During a job interview
Time management skills, like other soft skills, are in demand. Interviewers will be asking questions to assess your ability to manage your time, and the time of your team if you’re in a supervisory role.
Review these time management interview questions prior to your job interviews, so you’re prepared to respond with specific examples of how you effectively manage your workload.
It is usually impossible to do every single that you need and want to do all at once, but if you prioritise well, you should be able to complete the most important tasks in an order that makes sense. When assigning priority, consider such factors as when each task needs to be done, how long it might take, how important it might be to others in the organisation, what could happen if a task is not done, and whether any task might be interrupted by the need to wait for someone else.
Scheduling is important, and not only because some tasks have to be done at specific times. Scheduling affects your day, your week, your month, as well as other people, their projects, and their short- and long-term plans for projects and tasks. Most people also have specific times of the day when they are more or less energetic and become more productive. Schedules can be a good way to avoid procrastination, too.
Keeping a to-do list
To-do lists (properly prioritised and integrated with your schedule) are a great way to avoid forgetting something important. They are also a great way to avoid spending all day thinking about everything you have to do. Remembering tasks takes energy, and thinking about everything you have to do all week can be exhausting and overwhelming. Split all the necessary tasks up into a list for each day, and you won’t have to worry about any of it anymore. Just look at today’s list.
Resting, even though it may seem contradictory, is an important time management skill. Although working long hours or skipping breaks can sometimes improve productivity in the short-term, your exhaustion later will ensure that your average productivity actually drops. Except for rare emergencies, it is important to resist the temptation to overwork. Include necessary breaks, and a sensible quitting time, in your schedule.
Depending on what type of work you do, you may be able to delegate some tasks. Knowing what to delegate - and when - a skill is. Some people resist delegating, either because they want to maintain control or because they want to save money by not hiring assistants. Both approaches ultimately hurt productivity and raise costs.