5 ways to improve time management skills.

1. Minimise meetings and other external time wasters
Meetings suck hours of precious time. The more you can limit the time spent at meetings the more time you have to spend on doing far more productive tasks. Only attend meetings that are crucial. If possible attend meetings virtually, via Skype or other virtual platforms, cutting down on time spent travelling to and from meetings. If you lead meetings, ensure you have a strategy to abbreviate and keep focused on the topic at hand. If you must attend meetings ensure you have an exit strategy in place.

2. Block your time.
Just as you block an event in your diary, start to use this technique to block other activities you need to do. Whether it be an hour spent writing a blog, an hour working on your social media or half an hour working on email replies. Ensure that this time has been specified and spend it doing precisely what you have intended to do. Start being strict with yourself, making it your goal to have as little unassigned time as possible. Avoid distractions such as social media and phone calls, by either turning them off or putting them on silence.

Don’t start your day until you complete your days time plan. Having a day without a plan is like walking an unknown path without a map. Why disadvantage yourself?

3. Use “odd” time wisely
We are often caught in traffic, waiting for a plane or parked in a reception waiting room. Know what you will do when caught in these situations. Don’t allow the time to pass unproductively.
A lot of people choose to answer calls or write emails when caught in these sort of situations. Personally, I’m not sure how wise this is. Hurrying through tasks doesn’t always result in things done well. I’m far more for using this “odd” time, to breath and catch up with ourselves. Spending this time being mindful and slowing down is far more beneficial than using it to tick various boxes.
Rather than getting frustrated with the delay, be relieved that you have a moment to stop.

4. Be aware of your self-sabotaging habits
Awareness here is key. How many of us truly know when we are self-sabotaging our use of time? How many poor habits have we picked up along the way? Is it necessary to look at your “What’s App” as often as you do? Is it necessary to answer an email the moment it arrives in in your Inbox? Is it necessary to answer the call when your focussing another task? Don’t instantly give people your attention just because they request it. Granted, it is very difficult to eliminate all interruptions but we can certainly cut them down to a bare and crucial minimum.

5. Avoid multi-tasking
Recent psychological studies have shown that multi-tasking does not actually save time. In
fact, the opposite is often true. You lose time when switching from one task to another, resulting
in a loss of productivity (Rubinsteim, Meyer, and Evans, 2001). We give ourselves a false sense of achievement when in truth we have often achieved very little.

Remember: time is relative – You live in real time, a world in which all time flies when you are having fun or drags when you are doing your taxes. The good news is that real time is mental. It exists between your ears. You create it. Anything you create, you can manage.

That’s My top 5 ways to improve time management skills.