If you've spent any time in the professional workforce, you’re likely familiar with the often elusive concept of effective time management. Even when you think you have an organized schedule and limited distractions, it feels like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. As the lines between work and home blur even further, with 66% of companies planning to offer a hybrid work model going forward, it’s more difficult than ever to establish boundaries with your time.1
It’s true what they say: Time is money. Whether you regularly encounter time crunches because of multiple projects with the same due date, or you find yourself struggling to fit last-minute meetings and project requests into your normal workload, improving time management techniques at your company can pay off in big ways for everyone involved. Not only does it help you produce better work, but it also makes you a happier, healthier person.
To help you enhance your skills, we’ve outlined five key benefits of time management at work, as well as tried and true strategies that can make them a reality for you and your organization.
More Decisive Action
Many business environments today demand a relatively high pace of productivity. Often, there is simply too much to do and not enough time in which to do it, a problem that is frequently exacerbated in small businesses or startups. This usually occurs because there simply may not be enough labor to accomplish all that needs to get done. In a high-speed workplace, one of the most crippling effects on employees is indecisiveness.
By practicing strong time management at work, you can streamline your decision-making to help you avoid the so-called "paralysis by analysis."1 Plan out blocks of time for specific tasks throughout your week, and for larger projects, set your own deadlines to accomplish intermediate tasks as you work toward completing the entire project. Forcing yourself to make decisions and move on at a regular, predictable pace can prevent you from losing time overthinking small issues.
Maximized Working Time
Another hallmark of the modern workplace is the ubiquitous meeting. Meetings can take many forms, from daily check-ins to one-on-one chats with your supervisor, project kickoffs, metrics analysis, and more. While they can be important, meetings can also create frequent and sometimes lengthy interruptions in your work day. When you’re forced to jump from meeting to meeting, and consequently from subject to subject, it can be difficult for you to get into a productive rhythm for the actual work you need to complete.
If you find yourself with only small blocks of free time between meetings on your schedule, try approaching your day by making a checklist of tasks you could realistically expect to accomplish in a 30-minute window. Or, if you know you have a larger task that requires more focused attention, block off a personal meeting on your calendar and make your coworkers schedule around it.2 Protecting your time to maximize your effectiveness will help you make the most of what initially may seem like unusable pockets of time.
Team Growth and Development
If you are in a leadership role, these benefits of time management and strategies for improvement aren’t just something you need to consider for yourself— they apply to your entire team. As a leader, you’re responsible for ensuring that all of your team members are able to work efficiently in the time allotted to them. Effective managers know which and how many responsibilities they can successfully delegate to their teams to make sure the entire group functions like a well-oiled machine.
One of the hidden benefits of time management from a leadership perspective is the opportunity to help your team members develop.3 When you delegate responsibilities, take care not to just put people in situations that maximize their existing strengths, but give them tasks that take them out of their comfort zones as well. As your team members learn to successfully deliver results in an increasingly wide variety of scenarios, they will grow individually as professionals and strengthen your team as a whole.
A Healthier Mind and Body
Wise time management is not just about getting as many tasks done as possible. Environments that demand work that seems of minimal value to your personal and professional growth, and even to the big-picture goals of the organization, can deplete you of your energy and rob you of your purpose.4 Getting bogged down in minutiae can not only distract you from the really important work, but it can put a severe strain on your physical and mental health. One warning sign is if you start working an inordinate number of hours or skipping meals to get everything done.
Strong time management means setting priorities and boundaries, and one of its key benefits is how it can improve your physical and emotional health. Try to protect time for personal care breaks that are important to you: Go for a walk at midday, leave yourself enough time to prepare a healthy lunch in the morning before you leave for work, or be sure you are able to leave early enough to catch that evening yoga class. Your happiest and healthiest self is also your most productive, and taking care of yourself is not only good for you, but for your company as well.
A somewhat counterintuitive tip for time management at work is that "less is better."5 So often, we’re told that successful time management is all about getting more done; so much so that we tend to allow quality to slip in favor of quantity. The purpose of time management should not just be to fit more tasks into your day, it should be to allow you to produce stronger work and improve the success of your organization.
If this means you can successfully set goals that prioritize quality, one of the most significant benefits of time management is how it can bolster your confidence. When you produce work of a higher caliber, you draw positive attention from your peers and supervisors, which in turn can lead to a more positive sense of your own capabilities and your value to the organization.1 All companies should strive to maintain high levels of employee confidence and positivity, and effective time management is a powerful way to accomplish that.
Make the Benefits of Time Management Work for You
Once you start adopting these tips and reaping the rewards of a streamlined schedule, you’ll be able to focus on the things that you care about the most. If growing as a professional is a priority for you—without stepping away from your full-time job and sacrificing all of your free time—then you should consider an online master’s degree.
With the exact same course content and faculty support as our on-campus program, the Online MBA from the Sy Syms School of Business at Yeshiva University is perfect for working professionals. You’ll learn up-and-coming business skills and trends, but always have the freedom to complete your coursework on your own schedule. Read more about the program or set up a time to talk with an advisor to begin your next steps.
- Retrieved on January 4, 2021, from flexjobs.com/blog/post/remote-work-statistics/
- Retrieved on June 21, 2019, from lifehack.org/692542/the-importance-of-time-management
- Retrieved on June 21, 2019, from hbr.org/2019/03/how-to-get-your-to-do-list-done-when-youre-always-in-meetings
- Retrieved on June 21, 2019, from shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/organizational-and-employee-development/pages/delegateeffectively.aspx
- Retrieved on June 21, 2019, from forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/11/05/11-time-management-myths-that-are-hurting-your-productivity
- Retrieved on June 21, 2019, from forbes.com/sites/johnrampton/2018/05/01/manipulate-time-with-these-powerful-20-time-management-tips