Time management is a skill that is necessary in almost any field, but unfortunately, it doesn’t come naturally to all people. If you are a person that struggles with their time management, no need to fear! There are some simple things you can do to improve it, and you’ll be checking tasks off your to-do list in no time.
Practice Makes Perfect
While it would be wonderful if time management was a skill you could learn from reading a few books, the truth is it is something that you need to practice to master. A great way to do that, especially if you are still in college and are not yet working full time, is to practice your time management skills in a volunteer position. Tom, a hiring expert from VF Corporation, says, “When I ask a candidate for examples of their time management skills, an example from volunteer work can be just as good, or maybe even be better, than an example from ‘true’ work experience.”1 No matter what type of cause or organization you give your time too, the experience will provide an opportunity to practice managing your time.
Setting goals is a great habit to get into for many life-enhancing reasons, but short-term goals can be especially beneficial in helping you improve your time management skills. Charlene, a hiring expert from Gap, says, “Setting goals is a great way to improve your time management, but be sure to remember to set timeframes for each project to stay on track and make sure you get everything accomplished. Set reminders on your calendars for upcoming deadlines and use the alarms on your phone, computer, or email to keep you on track during the day.”2
Preparation is Key
By investing a few hours at the beginning of each week, or even 15 minutes each day before you begin working, you can set yourself up to be much more productive. Lay out everything you need to get accomplished and how you will do it. This can help you avoid spending too much time on frivolous activities or forgetting about an important deadline. Bret, a hiring expert from Emerson, says, “Regardless of the tools you use, discipline and habits are key. Prep for an hour or two each Sunday so that you know what needs to get done in the following week. Break it down into daily tasks that you’ll get done, and then have a review each day before you leave the office to check your progress so that you are prepped for the next day.”3 This may take a bit of trial and error on your part. Find out if you work best if you prep weekly, daily, or somewhere in-between. Once you figure out which system serves you best, stick with it!
Of all the soft skills, time management is without a doubt essential to being successful in your career. Increasing your productivity can help you climb the career ladder and impress your superiors. By putting a bit of effort into it, you’ll have improved time management skills in no time.