Your Guide to Time Management Skills in the Workplace

Time administration is a kind of vital work and life abilities that appears to search out its means into each job interview and efficiency evaluation. That’s as a result of recruiters and administration groups alike know that an worker’s time administration abilities could make or break nearly any mission they’re engaged on. And science has backed this up, with researchers discovering a direct hyperlink between time administration abilities and job efficiency in occasions administration and different industries.

The issue is, whereas most everybody acknowledges the significance of time administration, you may not know how one can study or train these abilities. You might even mistakenly consider that you simply’re both good at time administration otherwise you aren’t, with little room for grey in between and no potential for enchancment.

We’re right here to let you know that conception is improper: Time administration is definitely comprised of a number of abilities—so you possibly can have aptitude in numerous areas—and you’ll completely enhance them to make your self extra productive, get stronger efficiency evaluations, and discover higher work-life stability.

What Are Time Administration Abilities?

Regardless of it being such a generally used phrase within the office, time administration isn’t an idea most individuals can readily outline.

A time administration ability is something that helps you save time and be extra environment friendly, says time administration and workplace group professional Eileen Roth, creator of Organizing for Dummies. “This contains objective setting, planning, prioritizing, effectively utilizing your calendar, creating routines, choice making, delegating, avoiding time wasters like procrastination and interruptions, [and] dealing with conferences productively,” Roth says. “Even organizing your workspace is a time administration ability.”

Not solely do these abilities enable you to to be extra environment friendly in your work, in addition they enhance your skill to satisfy deadlines and expectations. “Time administration abilities are about studying how one can use your time in a means that helps your objectives,” says time administration and management coach Alexis Haselberger. “It’s about studying to be proactive together with your time as an alternative of reactive.” In different phrases: Sturdy time administration abilities can help you plan forward and make good use of your time so that you simply aren’t continuously scrambling to satisfy deadlines on the remaining hour.

Why Are Time Administration Abilities Vital?

There are a whole lot of private advantages to efficient time administration. Mostly, you’ll be capable to accomplish extra together with your time general. Nevertheless it’s about greater than that, says Haselberger, who has labored with a whole lot of execs in one-on-one time administration teaching periods and over 34,000 college students in time administration programs.

“While you lack time administration abilities, you usually really feel uncontrolled and as for those who don’t have company,” Haselberger says, including that it’s additionally widespread to turn into overwhelmed by all the things in your to-do record. The outcome? Speeding, falling behind, and finally producing late or subpar work merchandise.

A scarcity of time administration abilities “causes a number of stress internally, however may stress relationships as a result of others can’t depend on you,” Haselberger says. “Moreover, individuals who lack time administration abilities are at better threat of burnout as a consequence of overwhelm and infrequently lack the work-life boundaries that might help their psychological well being.”

Individuals who aren’t nice at managing their time usually discover their work slicing into their private lives, both as a result of they’re continuously staying at work late to play catch-up on duties they’ve fallen behind on, as a result of they’re all the time having to convey their work house, or as a result of they’re worrying about work of their off time. The result’s a scarcity of boundaries between work and residential and an incapacity to really disconnect and decompress from the workday.

Then again, sturdy time administration abilities can help you accomplish your objectives and meet your deadlines whereas additionally releasing you as much as depart your to-do record behind when the day is completed. Work stays at work and your house life is yours to do with as you please.

Forms of Time Administration Abilities

There are dozens of time administration abilities that may enable you to get essentially the most out of your day. Listed below are a few of the commonest ones—plus how one can apply them at work.

Objective Setting

Within the context of time administration, objective setting isn’t a lot about setting objectives in your future, however relatively about setting objectives for every step of mission completion. It’d contain breaking the method down into particular objectives and setting a timeline for attaining every objective. As an example, a simplified model of that for planning an occasion may seem like:

  • Setting a finances: four/15
  • Discovering a venue: four/25
  • Finalizing the visitor record: four/28
  • Sending out invitations: 5/1
  • Establishing distributors: 5/15

You’re extra more likely to obtain objectives for those who connect rewards to them, Roth says—so possibly you order lunch in, as an alternative of bringing it from house, after ending what you see as being essentially the most troublesome objective for a given mission.

“Objectives must be a stretch,” Roth says. However that doesn’t imply your objectives must take weeks to attain. To set cheap objectives, Roth suggests utilizing the SMART system. The SMART objective setting system entails setting objectives which might be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time certain

When you’re in gross sales, an instance of a SMART objective may be promoting two instances of a sure product by the tip of the month. The objective is restricted (you already know precisely what you want to do to succeed right here), measurable (you want to promote two instances), achievable (two instances monthly is possible primarily based on previous gross sales traits), related (promoting two instances this month ladders as much as your private and/or firm efficiency objectives), and time certain (the gross sales want to shut by finish of the month)

Profitable objective setting entails:

  • Understanding how one can break greater tasks into smaller objectives
  • Estimating how lengthy every of these objectives will take
  • Setting objectives which might be inside your attain


Day by day, you prioritize which duties and tasks you spend your time on. Nevertheless it’s not all the time a acutely aware choice you’ve made—as a rule, folks merely prioritize what’s straight in entrance of them.

Relating to time administration, prioritization requires you to be somewhat extra strategic in these choices. There are a variety of things that go into prioritization, primarily: significance and affect, urgency, issue and complexity, and deadlines,” Haselberger says. A giant piece of prioritization is understanding what to say no to, as a result of finally we are able to’t do all of it, she says.

“Then you want to resolve when and in what order you’ll do all the things you select to do, in order that you’ll be able to meet the relative deadlines,” Haselberger says. So let’s say you have got three massive tasks in your plate, plus all of your every day duties. Prioritization would imply breaking every of these bigger tasks down into separate steps, after which deciding on daily basis which duties it is best to full in an effort to stay on monitor for every mission, taking into consideration significance and urgency, whereas additionally staying on high of recurring duties like emails and consumer calls.

The precise variety of duties you’re capable of prioritize every day will rely on how time-consuming these duties are. Haselberger says that she teaches her purchasers to follow activity realism, which is the act of being lifelike about how a lot time you have got in your day, how a lot time your particular person duties will take, and what number of duties you possibly can subsequently realistically prioritize earlier than the day is completed.

Profitable prioritization entails:

  • Managing expectations
  • Breaking bigger tasks down into smaller duties
  • Analyzing the significance and urgency of particular person duties
  • Understanding the affect and issue of particular person duties
  • Precisely predicting the time it takes to finish particular person duties


You may assume that simply since you use a every day planner or your telephone’s calendar, you perceive scheduling. However there are precise schedule strategies that transcend monitoring your every day appointments.

Based on Haselberger, most scheduling comes right down to conferences and time blocks. “When scheduling conferences, we have now to think about the schedules of these we need to meet with,” she says. However for efficient time administration, “it’s good to have some common pointers for our personal schedule[s] about when and why we meet with others.”

Listed below are a couple of inquiries to ask your self when scheduling conferences that can enable you to to keep away from unneeded conferences and make the wanted ones solely so long as they must be:

  • What do I need to accomplish throughout this assembly?
  • Might that be completed in an e-mail or over the telephone?
  • If not, how can I assist this assembly run as effectively as attainable?

The fundamental objective of time blocking is to map out your day as realistically as attainable even exterior of conferences. “Assign blocks in your calendar to correspond to particular tasks, duties, or actions,” Haselberger says. As an example, you may put aside the primary half hour of your morning for studying and responding to emails. Then the subsequent hour might be devoted to finishing the duties vital to maneuver ahead a giant mission you’ve been engaged on. The subsequent half hour could also be a gathering you have got with a consumer. And so forth and so forth, even blocking out time for breaks and lunch. Then, persist with your schedule, maintaining a tally of the clock or setting alarms to assist you.

“Time blocking might be an efficient technique for bettering time estimation, being lifelike together with your time (and what you possibly can match into it), and serves as a mild reminder to return focus to what we’ve deliberate to do, ought to we discover ourselves off track,” Haselberger says.

Profitable scheduling entails:

  • Understanding how lengthy particular person duties could take
  • Being intentional together with your time
  • Redirecting your consideration to scheduled duties when focus is misplaced


“Delegating is giving another person a mission or part of a mission as an alternative of you engaged on it,” Roth says. “It frees you as much as work on higher-level tasks, and it hastens the delegated mission as a result of a couple of individual is engaged on it on the identical time.”

Delegation works finest with much less pressing or impactful duties and helps clear the way in which so that you can deal with the duties solely you have got the talents to do, Haselberger says. “If executed effectively, we delegate tasks to these [who] have the talents, aptitude, and curiosity in them; we give very clear expectations and deadlines; and we ask as an alternative of demand.”

Most individuals assume you must be in higher administration to have the ability to delegate, however that isn’t all the time the case. Any time you’re employed as a part of a group, you will have the flexibility to delegate to different members of it. In follow, this may imply going to a member of your group who has an excellent working relationship together with your consumer and asking them to take over a gathering that’s scheduled to replace the consumer on present progress. Or maybe it means handing over the ultimate edit of a mission proposal to a group member who has proven an affinity for recognizing errors prior to now.

Persons are usually reluctant to delegate for 2 causes, Haselberger says:

  1. They assume they will do it higher and sooner themselves
  2. They don’t need to overburden others

“Whereas primary could also be true within the quick time period, we’ll save a ton of time in the long run by delegating repeatable processes that we are able to then take off our plate,” Haselberger says. “Additionally, delegation is commonly a present because it supplies alternative for many who work for us”—or with us.

That mentioned, it is best to by no means delegate as a final resort (in instances the place your individual time wasn’t deliberate effectively), as a result of that does put pressure on others, Haselberger says. As an alternative, by preemptively “asking, ‘When could be an inexpensive time so that you can do X?’ we’re permitting for a dialog as an alternative of an undue burden.”

Profitable delegation requires:

  • The power to evaluate what duties solely you are able to do and what duties others can tackle
  • The willingness to let go
  • A group you possibly can belief and work effectively with
  • Management abilities
  • A collaboration mindset

Activity Administration

On any given day, we’d have 20+ duties we have to full. A few of these duties could also be small (making a fast telephone name to a colleague, for example), whereas others could also be extra time-consuming (like analysis for a longer-term mission).

The trick is having the ability to first establish which duties must be accomplished after which work your means by means of them with out getting overwhelmed or thrown off monitor by new or sudden duties that land in your desk.

Haselberger’s methodology for activity administration entails making a single system she funnels all her duties by means of. These duties may originate from any variety of areas: e-mail, Slack, conferences, conversations, your mind, and so forth. And that single system might be absolutely anything that helps you retain monitor of the duties you must full on any given day. For instance, an organized to-do record in a spreadsheet might be your trusted system. Or it might be a activity administration app like ClickUp, which lets you embrace different folks in your system as effectively. Simply make sure you utilize a template that all the time reminds you of the duties you must do on daily basis or week (like checking emails, updating your finances, and returning consumer calls). On this means, you received’t must waste mind energy remembering (or forgetting) these recurring duties, and you’ll add in new, distinctive, or sudden duties as wanted.

Profitable activity administration requires:

  • Organizing objectives into vital duties
  • Constructing your individual trusted system
  • Recognizing the duties you do regularly
  • Making room for brand new, project-specific or sudden duties that should be executed

The right way to Enhance Your Time Administration Abilities

When you’re dedicated to bettering your time administration abilities, step one is consciousness, Haselberger says. “Actively monitor what’s happening, with the intention to resolve the place you focus” your efforts.

In follow, this requires you to first monitor how your individual time is spent for per week, Haselberger says. Write down all the things: While you go to lunch. How lengthy you spend on a private name. How a lot of your day is spent totally targeted on a activity. How usually you get caught up in unrelated conversations with coworkers. How a lot time you spend daydreaming. When you don’t need to manually report your each motion, a time tracker web site or app like toggl or Clockify might additionally do the trick.

With that info, you possibly can decide all types of issues, Haselberger says. Ask your self:

  • Are you spending your time on the appropriate duties?
  • How lengthy are particular person duties taking you?
  • How lengthy do you assume these duties ought to ideally take you?
  • How a lot time are you spending in conferences?
  • How vital would you say these conferences are you to your general job efficiency?
  • What are you doing that might be delegated?
  • How usually do you get distracted?
  • How a lot of your time is being spent usefully?

“I additionally recommend looking on the calendar,” Haselberger says. When you discover your calendar is chock stuffed with conferences, she says, you might need to spend a while auditing the significance of these conferences—and which of them you might doubtlessly get out of—with the intention to purchase your self extra time to get work executed.

Learn Extra: 7 Tricks to Declutter Your Calendar (and Make Time for What Issues)

From there, you possibly can decide what time administration abilities you might want to enhance on, whether or not it’s scheduling, delegation, and even distraction administration. “You possibly can take a category, do an internet course, rent a coach, and even ask your coworker or buddy who all the time appears to be on time and ready for all the things how they do it,” Haselberger says.

There actually isn’t any restrict to the variety of accessible instruments that may help with time administration. The important thing right here is figuring out which of them may really be finest for you after which committing to implementing these instruments into your life and workday.

“Lastly, you’ll have to follow,” Haselberger says. Begin by deciding on a single time administration technique—whichever one appears best. For you, that may be making a every day to-do record, or it might be breaking your massive objectives down into SMART objectives. No matter you resolve, decide to training the execution of that activity every day for a month—lengthy sufficient to make it a behavior. After which think about what different instruments you may profit from including to your individual time administration toolbox.

It may not come naturally at first, however with dedication and follow, anybody can enhance upon their time administration abilities. “Any time we’re studying new abilities and making an attempt to place them into follow, it’s going to be arduous,” Haselberger says. “Behavior change is tough. Conduct change is tough. Apply, follow, follow is the trail ahead.”