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5 Effective Time Management Tips, Techniques, and Skills You Need to Master

By David Bakke

how to save time at workI will start off this article with a simple premise: The more time you have, the more money you can make. I think this can be applied to everyone’s professional lives and to a lot of personal lives as well. Anyone who has a second business that they work at in their off time to earn passive income can attest to that. And professionally speaking, I think it is common knowledge that if we had more “time” at work, we would in fact make more money.

So how do we make more time? Is that even possible? Well, what it comes down to is proper time management. This is a major factor in what makes me more effective and more productive than a lot of my peers at work. I can simply get more done than they can with the same amount of time.

How can you do it too? It is really pretty elementary. You need to simply employ some of the basic tenets of time management in both your personal and professional life. Once you do, you might see more “time” appear in your everyday life and find that you are becoming more efficient at completing your tasks.

To help you get started, I’ve picked out the 5 most important pieces of the time management concept and outlined them here for you:

1. Eliminate the Unnecessary
This becomes more and more true every day. Either professionally or personally, eliminating the “unnecessary” in life goes a long way in making you more productive. What do I consider unnecessary? Well, strictly speaking, anything that prevents you from reaching your particular goal. If your goal is to clean out your email inbox, then don’t spend 45 minutes on Facebook. If you have a deadline to make at work, don’t spend 25 minutes per day fielding unnecessary phone calls. Put simply, you need to draw a firm, distinct line between the “necessary” and “unnecessary” in your life. The stricter you define these terms, the more you’ll find that a lot of things are truly unnecessary in your life.

2. Plan Your Work
If you go into work every day having no idea what you want to accomplish, then guess what? You’ll probably accomplish nothing. Set aside ten to fifteen minutes before work and either write down or mentally plan what you want to accomplish. Personally, I plan my work each morning as I am driving in to work. These several minutes that I spend planning contribute more towards me being productive and effective than anything else that I do. After you decide what you want to accomplish, then execute the plan.

3. Multitasking
Multitasking skills are a talent that not all of us possess. Realizing whether you are the type of person that can do it or not is important. If you’re able to multitask, great. If you’re not, then don’t bother trying. Many people make themselves less effective by trying to multitask when they simply can’t do it. This leads to multiple projects being started and none of them being finished, sloppy work, and discouragement.

4. Know When To Multitask
So, for us multitaskers, does that mean that we should just multitask our way through every single minute of every day, constantly having four or five things going at once? Absolutely not. You also have to know when not to multitask. For example, every day at work for me, there are four to five mundane little checklist-type things that have to be completed. They are boring and mundane. So guess what? I try to accomplish as many of them as I can at once and as fast as I can. But when my boss gives me a special project that he needs done in a timely fashion and of the highest quality, the time that I devote to that is usually uninterrupted and I usually concentrate on nothing else other than that project. Know when to multitask and when not to.

5. Reduce Interruptions
And finally, reduce the number of interruptions in your life. Realistically, you can’t reduce the number of things that are going to interrupt you, but you can alter the fashion in which you deal with them. If I am working on something important and one of my employees comes to me with something that I know can be dealt with at a later time, guess what? That’s exactly what I do. “Sure, we can get to that, but let me finish what I am doing right now and then we’ll take care of it.” You see? Respectfully, I put them off to complete what I was doing at the moment. On the other hand, if my boss calls me when I’m in the middle of something, well, that’s an interruption that is worth making a priority.

Final Word
Whether you are a salaried employee, self-employed, or a big-shot manager, more time will allow you to focus on the most important tasks. Being prepared, organized, and disciplined will give you the time necessary to become more productive, which will ultimately lead to more money.

Any success stories out there regarding effective time management, either personally or professionally? We’d love to hear about them below.

(photo credit: wwworks)

David Bakke
David started his own personal finance blog, YourFinances101, in June of 2009 and published his first book on ways to save more and spend less called "Don't Be A Mule..." Since then he has been a regular contributor for Money Crashers. He lives just outside Atlanta, GA and most all of his free time is taken up by his amazing three year old son, Nicholas.

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  • http://www.great-option-trading-strategies.com/ Brad Castro

    These are great.

    Planning your work ahead of time (#2) I’ve found to be particularly effective and helps making the other techniques easier to implement.

    • David/money crashers

      Planning really is everything Brad.

      Everyday that I begin with some sort of plan is exponentially more productive than those without.

      Thanks for commenting!

  • http://www.managementskillsadvisor.com/ Majlinda Priku

    We all have the same amount of time available to us (24 hours a day), is what we do with it the makes the difference in how effective we are. The first step to better manage time is to find out where it goes. Read more at
    http://www.managementskillsadvisor.com/time-management-activities.html

    • http://www.moneycrashers.com David/moneycrashers

      Majlinda,

      Well put!

      Thanks for joining the conversation.

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