You can’t reach your productivity peak without learning effective time management techniques. While some people’s personalities are more naturally adept at time management than others, it’s a skill you can develop with good habits and the right resources.
To improve your time management skills, focus on enhancing sub-skills like planning, organization, delegation, and decision-making. In this article, we'll share tips to help you gain control of your time, stay focused on the task at hand, and finish every project on time.
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Planning ahead is one of the most reliable ways to work more efficiently. Because 39% of projects fail due to poor planning, you can’t afford to skip this step. Start by imagining what needs to get done to reach your best result and list out every task required. Once you’ve accounted for all of the likely tasks, prioritize the most important tasks and sequence them based on time sensitivity.
Next, designate the resources needed for each task, pick a deadline, and loop in collaborators to familiarize them with the project plan. Pre-scheduling check-in meetings and creating a template for meeting agendas will help you execute the plan and add accountability to your team’s process. As a leader, these planning practices will help you with goal setting and make it clear how to manage your time and delegate tasks.
Be explicit with your team about the project’s goals and track them using a shared platform so everyone knows what they’re working toward and can visualize their progress. You can also work with your team using a shared calendar, which keeps everyone organized and in tune with the plan as deadlines and goals change or develop.
Another tip for project planning is to look to the past to optimize your future — review past performance to anticipate future needs for budget, staffing, or other resources. As the work progresses, adjust your goals if necessary. If Plan A’s circumstances change, shift to Plan B. Once your project concludes, assess how accurate the original plan was to better anticipate your needs next time for tools, training, or equipment.
To be good at time management, you must know how to prioritize efficiently. As a business owner facing several urgent tasks at all times, get comfortable deciding on what comes first, what you can afford to leave behind, and when your workload is too overwhelming.
There’s no hard and fast rule for how to prioritize your work. Some factors that determine project prioritization are time sensitivity, tasks with the highest potential ROI, your collaborators’ availability, and other company-specific needs. Effective leaders weigh these factors and more to organize project work. Resist the urge to multitask as you work though, as multitasking can reduce productivity by up to 40%.
You may feel more productive if you check off the quick, simple items on your to-do list before tackling the more complex tasks. Or perhaps you’d rather get your most challenging work out of the way first. Another option is to prioritize your most time-sensitive responsibilities and leave less urgent tasks for later.
Either way, a productive habit is working based on daily, weekly, and monthly to-do lists. When you use project management software, you can access a project tracker that automatically alerts you to upcoming deadlines, next steps, and status updates. If you or your team are struggling to check off to-do list items, a time tracking tool can help illuminate how long each task actually takes, so you find ways to work more efficiently.
Soft skills, such as communication skills and people skills, are essential in time management. Strengthening your communication skills helps you effectively share information with your team, making the project plan and its goals clear to everyone involved.
It’s up to the project manager to keep all team members on the same page, make sure each person knows what they’re responsible for, and share your insights and feedback on how they can improve. Strong communication skills enable you to delegate tasks and rally the team to work more productively.
Does this apply to you? 70% of business leaders are uncomfortable delegating tasks to employees. This hurts your productivity and shortchanges the people who work for you by preventing them from honing new skills. Just because you want control over a project or task doesn’t mean it’s the most efficient use of company time.
You need to get comfortable letting go. Delegation holds your employees accountable and fosters cross-department collaboration. It also makes each team member feel like an important part of a powerful machine. It may initially feel unnatural to delegate work to others, but it’s a crucial practice that adds boundaries to your job description, helps employees develop their skills, and pushes your firm to accomplish its goals more efficiently.
Time Management Tools
Before we explore the tools that add productivity to your workday, what about the ones that distract from it? Distracting apps on your phone or desktop, including social media, email, or mindless internet browsing, are a major issue that stops you from managing your time effectively.
Minimize these distractions by blocking certain websites during the workday, putting your phone on do not disturb mode, and challenging yourself to work for planned periods with a break afterward.
In contrast, the right tools and technology are enormously effective in automating and streamlining how project managers plan, monitor, and measure projects. These tools simplify complex or splintered workflows to give you back your time, add structure to your work, and allow you to accomplish your goals with less effort. Some of the most powerful tools to make your firm more efficient include:
Shared team calendars
Meeting notes and memo templates
Time tracking software
Budget tracking and expense management
Automated and repeatable workflows
Depending on your company’s needs, you can use separate time management tools, or you can onboard your team to an all-in-one digital project management platform that integrates with tools you already use, is available to all collaborators, and provides vital business metrics and insights you need in real-time.
BQE Solutions for Productivity
Managing your time well helps you improve crucial skills and enables your company to succeed. Prioritizing your daily tasks and delegating across the team allows you to stay engaged with your work and deliver the best results for your clients. Strong time management skills can lead you to accomplish crucial goals you’ve set but haven’t consistently been able to meet.
One of the most effective time management improvements you can make is to use technology that automatically saves you time. BQE’s CORE offers firms the best project management software to operate smoothly and execute more profitable projects. With CORE, your tasks won’t fall through the cracks — you’ll be able to easily monitor them at every step, receiving real-time data on their status and performance.
Read our blog for additional productivity tips or explore our website to learn more about automatic billing software, expense reporting software, and other solutions to boost productivity for your firm. Start your free demo of BQE CORE today to discover how project management, time tracking, and accounting software allow you to achieve more in less time.