How to improve time management skills at work to improve my performance?

How to Improve Time Management Skills at Work?

I have been having this question in my head since I started doing the extra working hours, “How to improve time management skills at work so we can work more effective?”. This is actually a question that has been asked a lot by corporate workers like me. Time is a definite and non-renewable resource for every working person.

A lot of fresh graduates (include me when I have my very first 9-to-5 job) don’t seem to care enough about time management skills at work. Well, some of more experienced workers also aren’t put attention to time management.

Always put attention to your time management skills

Have you put some attention to your time management skills?

Actually, at first it seemed a normal thing to do for me if I must work overtime because I can’t finish all the jobs at normal working hour. There are times when the task is piling up because common reason like closing or a closely coming up event. Even for some department, overtime is just a part of their monthly activity.

But what seems peculiar for me is, when even without any particular event, some people are struggling to the job within the given 8 hours. If that’s also a problem for you, then I supposed the problem lies in your time management.

In this case, you obviously need to work on it so that you no longer need to do unnecessary extra working hours. However, if you the problem persist even after you follow the ways I mentioned below, the possibility is, you need more team member. You better discuss it with your team leader.

Okay Alex, Can You Just Tell Me How to Improve Time Management Skills at Work?

Yes, don’t worry. We will arrive at it very soon. Time management is not really that hard to do actually. I’ve been doing it since I was a kid.

When I was a kid I got a task from my teacher to make a list of what I did every single day for a week. It wasn’t a big deal for me since I was so used to live my days in order. I woke up, took a bath, prepare my thing, had breakfast, and even tied my shoes within the same timeframe. My life was fully well-organized.

And this is when I started to doubt my time management experience at my childhood.

It was funny that I was having a trouble in doing my work within the 8 hours’ time frame.  Yeah, you read it right, even me.  I knew that if I want to optimize the time I had and the result I make, I got to do something about this issue.

How to improve time management skills at work to improve my performance?

Why the heck my time management skills do not function properly at work?

It is normal when we enter a new stage in our life (getting the first job, or switching career), we will be ‘surprised’ with all the changes. This is what made me and most of the new people at company found it somewhat hard to maintain everything at ease.

Now, the main issue here is not to find what the cause is, but how to fix it. You can improve your time management skills by following these simple actions:

1. Don’t Stuff Your Desk With Paper Work

I’ve always keen to learn as much as I could to get a better knowledge and understand all the process related to my job. This kind of mindset had led me into taking any opportunity that came before me. But the truth is, you need to focus on something that is really relevant to your job.

2. Set A Goal Within Realistic Time Frame

When giving a task, sometimes your boss will set the time frame based on their expectation which is not realistic. There was a time when my boss expected me to handle email until 5 pm (how would I possibly go home at 5 pm??) and also when the big boss wanted me to make a financial analysis report within 15 minutes. Some of their instruction are even not feasible. Discuss it to have a realistic one.

3. Break down the Big Pie Into Small Crumbs

When you’re assigned into a project, it might seem hard to be done. Break it into small actionable step will make it easier to do. You will also save a lot of time since your steps will be more organize. Having an unorganized task will make you going back and forth and cost you a lot of time.

4. Set Your Daily To Do List

The first thing I do before even opening any work files every morning is set to do list for the day. I can work on more than one project at a time and each of them begging the same attention. Setting to do list helps me focus on what really need to be done soon.

5. Prioritize Your Work

Our days at work is not always seamless. Many times we will get distraction during the day. To do your work efficiently, you need to prioritize your work. Do not switch your attention to any email, request or even order that came recently unless it really have a high urgency. To help you focus, close the email window while you’re working on a project.

Will it Effective to Improve My Performance at Work?

If you follow the tips I provide above, I’m sure you can do your work more effectively. However, those can’t give you 100% guarantee that you can finish everything in a proper time.

There are two main possibilities if you can’t handle everything properly:

  1. The job you are working now typically requires working time more than normal working hour (40 hours per week). This is a job-type issue and you may want to consider applying for another job if you are not satisfied with it.
  2. The workload is clearly too heavy with the current team members in your department. This can be caused by strict budget from the company to maintain the number of employees, bad task management from your boss, or the rapid growth of your company within a short period. This is a workload issue. You will need to discuss with your boss about having an additional team member, or you may never be able to manage all the works properly.

Try to discuss and persuade your boss if your workload is the issue here

Proper discussion with your boss may help you to fix the workload issue, thus improving work-life balance

I hope the tips on how to improve time management skills at work which I share in this article will work well for you as it has worked nicely for me. Increase the effectiveness of your work and say goodbye to superfluous extra working hours. Remember to balance your balance work and life. If you have some other suggestions to improve time management skills at work, do consider leaving a comment below :) Thank you.

Alexander Blue

A writer, gamer, book lover, music addict, and a dreamer. My life motto is 'Every thousand mile begins with a single step'. I like to share helpful information with others because the positive feeling is contagious and it will make everyone's life better.
Sharing is Caring :)

16 comments

  1. Hi Alexander

    Time is a precious resource. And sadly, for most of us, managing it is such a huge challenge.

    I like your tips – especially where you encourage us to prioritize our day-to-day activities.

    There’s so much to do everyday and if you don’t schedule your to-do activities according to importance, you’ll always be running around in circles.

    Thanks for a lovely post.

    Regards
    Peteni

  2. This is exactly what I needed. I have just realized that I am not doing ANY of the things you mentioned, so this may be the reason why I overwork and never have time for other things… But it definitely has something to do with the job type. I never feel like I finished.

    1. Hi Marta, thanks for reading :) Whether it really depends on your job type or not, I suggest you give it a try first. Who knows in along the way, you come up with a ‘modified way’ to make it work for your job :) Good luck

  3. This is really useful – in fact am going to print your list and cross reference it with my time management skills. Although I already incorporate a lot of your advice into my morning routine when planning my day and what needs to get done etc, it can sometimes be easy to forget when there is a lot happening and you are overwhelmed. I sometimes am guilty of trying to do everything at once which of course minimizing my level of production and overall focus. Greta stuff thank you :)

    1. Hi Holly :) Thank you. Yeah, multitasking is a bit hard because you need to focus on multiple tasks at once, and this is often the main problem at time management (unless you are really great at multitasking). I know how you feel :) I’m still trying to focus only on one task at a time too, though.

      You’re welcome and looking forward to your next visit :)

  4. Nice tips. It’s so easy to get distracted ESPECIALLY when you have important work to do. It’s almost as if we look for distractions and tell ourselves that we have to do them first.
    I’ve always had trouble staying focused, especially working at home. Going to Starbucks to work really helps clear my mind and focus my attention.

    1. Hi Gina, you are right. Distractions like incoming emails make us hard to manage our time at work. It’s nice to hear that you are working from home :) But it is easy to be distracted more at home. Going to a local cafe like Starbucks indeed helps to make us focus (and free WiFi too) :) Thanks for your sharing

  5. This is a great article! Time management is one of the most important skills you can learn not only for work but for everyday life as well.

    The problem is that the task just seems to daunting or maybe we have inaccurate ideas about what constitutes time management.

    This means we have to hold ourselves accountable to stick to your overall direction and goals.

    1. Hi Ian. I agree with you about inaccuracy of ideas. Sometimes we just don’t know what we really should do to manage our activities better at job (and even in our daily life). Thanks for visiting here and yes, we need to stick with the overall direction and goals to achieve a proper time management )

  6. Yeah, time management is a big worry for lots of people, including me though. A lot of people still find it difficult to manage their time correctly and the thing with time is that, It waits for nobody. I for one, when I set a particular number of hours to carry out a particular task, I end up using more time and this now leads to a reduction in the time used to carryout the next task.
    This is where you article comes into place and it will go a long way into helping me manage my time properly and I will certainly keep on coming for more.
    Thanks again Ramirez

    1. Hi Ramirez, glad to see that this information can help you manage your time properly. Yeah, we all struggling with time management at work and who doesn’t want to leave at exact 5 with all your jobs nicely done? Wish you success there :)

  7. I love learning about time management. Time is the one thing that we can never get back so its best to not waste it. I sometimes struggle with getting things done so I try to focus on smaller bite-sized tasks that contribute to the larger goal. That was one of the points I liked here. As long as you stay consistent, you’ll work towards your goals with everything small task that is complete.

    1. Hello Luke, I agree with you. Focusing on smaller ‘bites’ that contribute to larger goal is one of the time management technique.Consistency is also important to get everything done properly. Thanks for reminding :)

  8. Alex I really believe this is a problem that is becoming more and more common. Generally when people work in a ‘JOB’ they are being expected to do more and more n the same amount of time with fewer resources. It’s ridiculous! Getting the work life balance is sooooo important! I feel I have pretty good time management skills as wasting time is a real bugbear of mine. I’m still in my 9-5 job but I am very strict in that I work as hard as I can in my contracted hours, and once 5 o’clock comes I am gone, because my time is too precious to donate to my employer!

    1. Hi Vic, I understand what you mean with the expectation from company. In my previous job, the boss expect us to work overtime, with more work to finish and fewer resources as possible. That is also a sign for a bad boss and company, because the problem lies on a third party, not yours.

      I wish you success to maintain your work-life balance. Keep visiting to read some article about it :) If you think you are not satisfied with your work, you may want to read this article.

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