Blog > Think You’re Good at Time Management? These 5 Key Steps Will Make You Think Again.

Think You’re Good at Time Management? These 5 Key Steps Will Make You Think Again.

Adopt an airtight time management process to get the highest return possible.
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No one is born a master of time management. Time management is more like a craft than an innate talent, and the clock is your creative medium. Having an effective time management process is how you’ll make the biggest impact with your most valuable resource of time.

At Arootah, we invest considerable resources in the seemingly simple pursuit of managing our time better. This pursuit of time management serves as both a prioritization process and a budget vs. actual process to ensure that we’re getting the highest return on our time (i.e., making the greatest impact on our goals and mission).

Spending 10 to 20 minutes every day planning how you’re allocating your time can significantly increase your productivity. This approach helps you to improve your time management practices in three critical ways:

  • It provides a sense of accountability
  • It measures the efficiency and effectiveness of your time management
  • It measures the reliability of your time estimates

Treat this process as you would treat a budget. After all, time is a much scarcer resource than money, so you should monitor it much more carefully. The impact you can make through proper time management will be well worth it.

Fortunately, there are five simple steps you and your team can take to squeeze the most out of every day.

1. Prioritize Your Goals

The first step to taking responsibility for the time you have is to determine your priorities. This includes prioritizing your goals based on the impact accomplishing them could have on your life.

People who don’t prioritize their goals by impact tend to accomplish whatever goal is the easiest first. Prioritization can also prevent you from focusing on too many goals at once. Essentially, focusing on too many goals at one time is just as bad as not choosing any goals to focus on.

For organizational leaders, these habits can sabotage a team’s progress. By failing to set priorities around organizational goals, team members may take on only low-impact goals that disrupt the completion of larger projects. They might also focus on too many goals at once, which can limit their productivity.

You may determine that you only want to focus on one or two major goals, but this ranking will provide you with clarity about which goals you should accomplish first.

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2. Prioritize Your Actions

Next, prioritize the action steps you need to take to complete your top-priority goals. You and your team should be on the same page about which action steps in which sequence can help you make the highest impact on your goals. Make a list of action steps for a goal and then rank them in order from most to least impactful.

It’s important to be objective about what actions have the highest impact. Humans tend to avoid doing the least pleasurable tasks for as long as possible, but this step in the time management process will help you take action.

3. Schedule Your Actions

Those who write action items down on a schedule are significantly more likely to complete their goals. If you’re scheduling these items for yourself, you’re far more likely to pay attention to a task with a looming deadline. The pain of missing the deadline will help you overcome the gratification of procrastination.

Similarly, if you’re scheduling these items for your team, putting important tasks on the calendar helps provide everyone with visibility on what they need to accomplish a goal. This step acts as an ideal time to allocate resources, cement a timeline, delegate, and get everyone on the same page for accomplishing this goal.

4. Track Your Time

In the time management process, many people stop at step four. However, it’s important to track how you spend time working towards a goal. As you make progress on your goals, be sure to analyze how you’re spending time—and in equal parts, how you’re not spending time.

You should also encourage every member of your team to track their time. If nothing else, it provides them with insight into how they are actually spending it. According to this set of statistics, only 17% of people track how they spend their time. Missing out on this information can limit productivity. You and your team will be much more fulfilled when you’re as productive as possible.

5. Reconcile

In addition to step four of the time management process, many teams also miss step five: reconciliation. After analyzing how you spend your time, you need to reconcile the calendar or time budget (where you intended to spend your time) with the time tracker (where you actually spent your time).

In doing so, you must hold yourself accountable for how you spent your time and make any necessary adjustments. For example, if you find that you’re wasting time on a task you could have delegated to a team member, delegate that task. Remember: The time management process isn’t static; you should improve as a time manager over time.

The Bottom Line

Proper time management is not a skill people are born with. It takes time and effort to learn and master the process. If this is an area of growth for you, you’re not alone. People are rarely taught how to manage their time well, so you’re already ahead of the curve by learning about this process.

If you’re looking to continue improving your time management skills, schedule a free consultation call with an Arootah Executive Coach today.

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Disclaimer: This article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be and should not be taken as professional medical, psychological, legal, investment, financial, accounting, or tax advice. Arootah does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or suitability of its content for a particular purpose. Please do not act or refrain from acting based on anything you read in our newsletter, blog or anywhere else on our website.

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