Business Articles

Time Management: Top Tips to Get You Organised in 2021

January 27, 2021

Life can sometimes feel like a race against time. Work, family, hobbies, these are all things that have to be carefully balanced and it can sometimes become overwhelming.

Effective time management is one way to relieve some of the stresses of daily life.

To help you with this, we have written this article to give you tips and tricks on how to get organised in 2021.

Find out more about:

  • What time management is
  • Why it matters
  • What a Priority Matrix is
  • Top time management tools
  • Our top tips and tricks for effective time management

What is time management?

Time management refers to the practice of planning and consciously controlling how much time is spent on a specific task. Most often, the aim will be to increase productivity or efficiency. It entails juggling different tasks related to life, work, hobbies, interests and/or family in order to make the best use of time. 

Making best use of time will enable a person to choose how they manage their various activities and how much time they wish to spend on each one. There are different things one can do or use in order to effectively manage time and reach goals or accomplish important projects and tasks that have a specific due date.

At the start, time management was only really used in a work or business environment. However, the term has now evolved to encompass life and its activities more generally. A time management system the combination of all the different tools, methods and techniques used to manage time effectively.

Most often, good time management is crucial to project management, as its effectiveness will determine whether the project is finished properly and on time. However, one should bear in mind that there can be structural and technical variations in time management influenced by different cultural concepts of time.

More generally, effective time management can help you work smarter without necessarily working harder. You will be able to do more using less time, even if you already don’t have much and you’re working under high pressure. Bad time management could lead to increased stress and lower effectiveness.

The importance of time management

Visual of a woman in black long-sleeved top in front of green-leafed tree

Whether you give a monetary value to time or not, time is invaluable to most of us. Many end up losing time worrying about how little time they have. There are plenty of ways in which to approach time management.

You could organise your time using apps, change your sleep time, write to-do lists,…

However, if you aren’t sure why time management is important in the first place, doing all of this won’t necessarily help you. If you aren’t motivated to use these, chances are you won’t.

First of all, you need to take a step back and look at the wider picture. Understand why managing your time is important what you could gain from it. Here are a few reasons why time management is so vital:

Time is not limitless

No matter how you decide to allocate your time, there will only ever be 24 hours within one day. Of course, this applies to everyone. It applies to your colleagues who seem to accomplish twice as much as you do as well as to your other colleagues who only seem to be managing half of what you’re doing. Recognising the importance of effective time management will make it easier for you to accomplish your tasks and rise through the ranks.

You can do more with less effort

When you are able to control how you spend your time, you also increase your ability to focus. Of course, with greater focus also generally comes greater efficiency, because you aren’t losing momentum. You will quickly start accomplishing your tasks faster and your workday will seem to fly by.

Better ability to make decisions

Whether your tactic relies on dividing your day into chunks or you prefer writing to-do lists, you will soon discover that one of the positive consequences of managing your time effectively is that you will be able to make better decisions.

When you feel like you don’t have enough time and have to make decisions, you will be more likely to make rash decisions and jump to conclusions, within thinking about the different possible options. This context is bound to lead to bad decision-making. 

By managing your time effectively, you will be able to get rid of some of the pressures associated with the feeling of not having enough time. You will feel more in control and calmer.

When you do have to make decisions and look at the different options you have, you will be able to do so carefully and with consideration. If you can do that, then you will be less likely to make the wrong decision.

Make your career more successful

Effective time management is the key to a successful career. Rather than just going with the flow, you will be able to actually be in control of your life. When you start accomplishing more every day, making better decisions and feeling calmer, people will notice.

This means others, including senior members of staff, will trust you to get things done. This increased visibility will also make opportunities for career advancement more forthcoming.

Opportunities to learn are everywhere

It goes without saying that the more you learn, the more your value will go up in the eyes of your employer. Learning opportunities are everywhere if you actually stop and make use of them. When managing your time effectively, you also have more time to do this.

For example, you could support another team on a project they have been working on or volunteer for a company event. You can learn a lot even by just spending a bit of time with people outside of your own department.

The more you learn about your own industry and the company you work for, the more likely you are to make a positive impression on people higher up the ladder.

Less stress

When you aren’t in control of your time, you can easily start feeling overwhelmed and rushed. Once this feeling is there, it becomes difficult to figure out how much time different tasks will take to complete. Once you have figured out how to manage your time effectively, you won’t find yourself in such a level of stress.

On top of this being better for your health, you will have a clearer perspective on how much time you need for various things. You will be more capable of estimating the time necessary for different tasks and you will feel more confident about meeting deadlines.

Free time is vital

Everybody needs some time to unwind and relax. However, many of us don’t actually get enough of it. Life, family, work, there is always something that comes in the way and it can be extremely difficult to even find 10 minutes of spare time. Managing your time effectively can help you with this.

When you’re keeping busy, you’re also achieving more things in less time. All the time you save throughout the day by thinking through how you allocate your time adds up. You can then spend this time relaxing and unwinding at the end of a productive day.

Self-discipline is important

Effective time management leaves no space for procrastination. And the more effective you become at managing your time, the easier it will get to discipline yourself and avoid procrastinating.

This will have an impact in other areas of your life where lack of self-discipline where you have been unable to achieve your goals due to lack of discipline.

The positive cycle of effective time management

Time management has a far-reaching impact. Doing it effectively will allow you to do more with less time. You will have more free time to learn, relax, and focus, leading to greater success, both in the workspace and life more generally.

Good time management has a domino effect. All you need to do is actually start the cycle.

What is a Priority Matrix?

Visual of a priority matrix

In order to successfully execute any project, excellent execution is just as important a having good ideas. A good concept, good tools or a top team are not all that matter. In order to achieve success, good execution is also crucial. By setting targets and meeting deadlines, you will be better able to complete your projects on time, meet and even outdo expectations.

However, this is easier said than done. You will need to be disciplined. Prioritisation is one of the most important elements when executing any kind of project.

Choosing what to prioritise and what not to is dependent on a range of factors such as urgency, importance, energy required, necessity to other tasks, how much it will cost,… One of the most useful tools when weighing these different factors against each other and determining what to do first is a priority matrix.

By charting out clearly what your priorities are, building a priority matrix can help you increase your productivity and better execute your projects.

A priority matrix is based on four time-management quadrants, It was developed by Stephen Covey, a famous business leader. It aims to break down tasks into two dimensions: importance and urgency.

The first quadrant refers to the Quick Wins, which are both important and urgent to complete. You should complete these tasks first.

The second quadrant is for Major Projects. These have clear deadlines and are important but are not urgent. With these, you should set a time limit or checkpoint in your schedule in order to not forget about them and work on them when the time comes.

The third quadrant is for Fill-Ins. These tasks aren’t as important so can be delegated or deprioritised.

The final quadrant refers to the thankless tasks, which are neither important nor urgent. Wherever possible, you should avoid integrating these tasks in your already busy schedule so that they don’t take time away from more important and urgent tasks.

Most often, you will have to juggle with a range of tasks from across the four quadrants. However, if you have a good understanding of how to manage each task and which to prioritise, you will be able to manage your time and opportunities better.

How to make your own priority matrix

Once you have gotten to grips with how a priority matrix works, you can start building your own. Here are the three steps you should follow in order to build an effective priority matrix:

  • Make a list: Write down all your current projects, priorities and goals, whether that be ongoing projects, daily tasks or more long-term initiatives.
  • Rank them: Out of one to ten, rank all these items based on their impact on your work and the wider business. You should also consider how much each item will require.
  • Map it out: Once you have sifted through all these items on your list and ranked them, you will be able to place each one into a quadrant of your priority matrix and figure out what to do first, delegate, or deprioritise.

Top time management tools

There are plenty of tools out there that can help you with managing your time more effective. Here are a few which you might find useful.

ProofHub

Visual of  Proofhub website

ProofHub brings together a range of different tools to help you manage tasks, time, projects, files and more. With ProofHub, it is possible to track time either manually or with timers.

This allows you to find answers to questions such as how your team is spending its time, what are the billable hours of a project or has the time taken for a specific task been tracked.

Here are some of the things you can do using ProofHub:

  • Set time estimates to determine how much time a specific task should take
  • Record how much time it took to complete tasks or projects
  • Create custom time reports of projects, teams or people
  • Create multiple timesheets to gather time data
  • Export timesheets and use them for client invoicing, payroll, estimation, and even time management

Zapier

Visual of the Zapier website

Zapier is an online automation tool. It has been designed so that you can connect different apps to automate repetitive tasks. It allows you to do this with just a few clicks.

Using Zapier, you can look for your favourite apps and select from a range of Zaps (integrations), or create your own workflow. For example, Zapier allows you to synchronise with Google Calendar, share apps publicly, set up actions and triggers and automate repetitive tasks.

TimeCamp

Visual of the Timecamp website

TimeCamp enables you to assign and track time in a range of ways. The manual timesheet is most commonly used. With it, you can either enter the length of time of a specific task or use a timer.

TimeCamp uses time tracking for billing clients, paying employees every month or measuring project profitability.  With it, you can automate non-billable and billable time tracking, budget in money or time value, report date, use it on mobile and desktop, and use it as an integrated payment gateway.

Monday

Visual of the monday website

Monday.com is a cloud-based work operating system. It is a fantastic time management platform for businesses, whether they be large or small. It allows users to add code-free automations to their boards in order to reduce human error and dedicate more time to the tasks and projects that are most important.

Monday.com also enables users to collaborate and communicate within a single communal workspace. It also integrates other tools you already make use of in order to streamline workflow and not waste time.

The platform has a fully customisable board, meaning you can adapt it however you want to fit your workflow. It also automates repetitive processes and offers different pricing plans depending on your needs.

Top tips to develop your time management skills

According to Emma Donaldson-Feilder, a chartered occupational psychologist, ‘The aim of good time management is to achieve the lifestyle balance you want.’ 

Here are some top time management tips to help you relieve stress and gain a feeling of control:

Figure out your goals

Think about what your priorities are and what you want to achieve. Once you have figured this out, it will become what guides you and it will instruct how you manage your time.

Once you have a clear perspective on what you want to achieve, you will be better able to determine some short- and medium-term targets. This will help you plan ahead and better focus on the things that will lead you to achieve your long-term goals.

Write a list

Writing to-do lists are a great way to organise yourself. Find out what works best for you. Keeping a single list can help you organise all your tasks and prioritise without losing track of everything you have to do.

Focus on results

Managing your time effectively in the work environment means producing high-quality work rather than high quantity. It is better to focus on results rather than everything you have to do.

It isn’t because you spend more time on a task that it will necessarily turn out any better. Staying late after work or working through your lunch break won’t necessarily get out the results you need and it might not be the best use of your time.

Build a priority matrix

Build a priority matrix so that you can figure out which tasks you need to complete first and which ones you can leave for later. Make sure that you keep an eye on the important but not urgent tasks, so that these don’t become urgent and important.

Having to deal with too many urgent and important tasks can be stressful so try to ensure you don’t have too many of them building up.

Learn to say no

Whether it be in life or with work, it is important to set boundaries in order to achieve a balance. It can sometimes be tempting to say yes to everything and everyone.

However, this is not very practical. If you are confident that you have set aside the right amount of time for your various tasks, then you should be able to tell others that you do not have the time. Don’t forget that you are not alone. Asking colleagues for help with some tasks will also lift some of the load off you.

Prepare early

If you start off early and far enough in advance from deadlines, you will be able to organise your time well enough that you do not need to stress about all your other tasks.

For example, starting early in the morning means you can make the most of a quiet period before the rest of your colleagues start to focus on your tasks and get a head start on assignments.

New, urgent and unexpected tasks can appear at any time so if you have started your day early, you will be better able to meet these and adapt without missing your deadlines.

Be realistic

Many put unnecessary amounts of pressure on themselves when it comes to meeting deadlines. The most effective people at time management are those who understand that inconveniences can crop up at any time and that things can often take more time than expected.

In order to maintain focus on the task at hand, it is important to take regular breaks and switch off from responsibilities once in a while. Use your spare time to talk to your colleagues about challenges you are encountering and to go back to work with a clear and focussed mind.

Centralise what you can

It can be very hard to keep track of everything you have to do if everything is disperse. If you are a business owner and need to find new business opportunities, suppliers, clients and partners on a regular basis, using a single platform such as CONNECTS for all of this can save you a lot of time.

CONNECTS is an online B2B matchmaking platform which can help you do business and find new opportunities worldwide within an environment of trust. Indeed, each member on the platform has been assessed and validated by a local chamber of commerce, meaning you can do business in all confidence.

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Are you an entrepreneur wanting to discover and develop new opportunities, both locally and internationally? Join our Business Matchmaking Platform and start your free trial. If you are a member of a participating chamber, join our Business Matchmaking Platform for free. Want to learn more about CONNECTS? Find us on Google maps! For more information, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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