Are you struggling with setting meaningful time management goals and can feel your career slipping away? You’re not alone: a majority of people polled state that poor time management and inaccurate goals crippled their careers and made pursuing continuing education difficult. Unfortunately, this situation impacts many markets across the nation, including business, marketing, financial, shipping, and retail markets. It could even affect educational career paths.
Thankfully, it is possible to create time management goals that work for your needs. In this article, you’ll learn more about the importance of time management goals, their benefits, and tips that make it easier to set them. Then, when you’re finished, you should feel comfortable setting these goals at any level and keep your career on the right path.
Why Do You Need Time Management Goals?
In an in-depth article by Forbes, time management goals are described as the underlying purpose behind your planning and scheduling system. For example, your goals may be to set aside eight hours a week to work on a project while getting the rest of your job duties handled.
Effective time management goals for students and employees help make your day-to-day planning easier. Knowing what your time management focuses on and how to set your goals should make this process easier to execute. Or as a student, your goal may be to work 24 hours a week, practice for sporting competitions, spend time with friends, and still have time to finish your homework.
Which Time Management Goals Work for You?
The nature of your goals should be pragmatic and easy to understand, something you can quickly obtain without a significant challenge. They should feel congruent with your lifestyle and needs. For example, you may focus your schedule more heavily on work while you’re young and add more relaxation time as you age.
As a result, your goals may change as time passes. Some may find themselves adjusting their goals as they achieve higher levels of success. For instance, your plan of five hours of relaxation time at the end of each workday may not be possible if you gain more job duties at your current position.
As importantly, time management goals help you avoid getting overworked at your position. Rather than spending too much time working on things that you shouldn’t, you can use your goals to focus your career, avoid serious time issues, and get ahead when it counts the most.
Related: Time Management SMART Goals
Benefits of Setting Time Management Goals
If you haven’t set your time management goals, you need to know the benefits of this step, as they can vary depending on how well you plan your goals and other steps you may take.
The benefits you’ll experience when setting time management goals properly includes how it:
- Makes it easier to set your schedule with a purpose
- Avoids time conflicts with coworkers and family
- Gives each of your days a unique purpose
- Helps others understand your schedule
These benefits should give you the help that you need to improve your overall productivity and make your life easier. They also help to streamline your time management and prevent time waste. In this way, you can focus on the work that matters the most and keep yourself and your company streamlined and pointed in the right work direction.
7 Tips to Help You Set Time Management Goals
We’ll break down a few of the best ways to set great time management goals in the following section. These tips focus on a few different elements. First, many of them work to break down your understanding of how you spend your day and which tasks are the most difficult to handle.
Then, other tips will examine ways you can craft a time management schedule that makes sense for your needs. By understanding your goals and your overall scheduling needs, it should be easier to avoid overworking yourself, allowing you to feel better about your work experience at the same time.
1: Audit Your Time First
When creating your time management goals, do a quick audit of each day to understand how you spend your time. This step helps to give you an insight into the types of activities that make up your day. An audit should include things like examining how you spend your time at work, how you use your free time, and much more. Now, let’s take a look at a real-world example to understand why this helps.
Example: Your time management goal is to cut down on inefficiency to ensure that you’re working at least 6.5 hours of an eight-hour shift. You track each of your activities throughout the day and find that you spend about 15 minutes every three hours on a cigarette break. That’s a half-hour you’re losing to an unhealthy habit. Quitting smoking or limiting your break times may help improve your time management goals. Knowing how much time you spent on that habit gives you insight into why cutting these bad activities is so beneficial for your time management.
2: Time Your Typical Activities
Everybody has specific job duties that they perform every day. How long does each of these activities take you? If you don’t know, then there’s no way you can create reasonable time management goals. Your goals should include detailed information about your daily task timing and use these details to create a meaningful schedule. Doing so will require a stopwatch or a timer and a little patience.
Example: You can’t seem to get ahead in your day-to-day tasks, and you can’t figure out why. Time how long it takes you to finish a typical job, such as writing a report. Set a time when you start and turn it off when you’re done. How long did this task take? Is there anything you can do to improve this time? Understanding this fact can help you set up better time management goals with relative ease.
3: Weigh Each Task’s Difficulty
Skillful time management goals focus on improving your ability to handle complex tasks efficiently. Everybody has those duties that don’t come easily to them. By creating a daily schedule that takes that into account, you can avoid getting bunched up. Spreading these complex tasks out evenly through a week to avoid working too hard on one day and having little to do another. In this way, intelligent prioritizing could help to make your goals much easier to obtain.
Great prioritization technique is time management matrix
Example: You are skilled at writing reports and can finish them twice as fast as anybody else in your office at 15 minutes each. However, you struggle with project budgeting and take twice as long as anybody else or two hours to do a single budget. Take breaks on your bigger tasks by handling smaller and easier ones to stay focused and continue working without getting overwhelmed.
4: Understand Your Capacity
What exactly is your capacity to work, and when do you start feeling fatigued? After about eight hours, it’s common for many people to feel ready to quit for the day. However, your work capacity may just be 5-6 hours of concentrated work. Therefore, your time management goals should focus on enhancing these work hours and doing what you can to make them more effective for your work needs.
Example: You find yourself working very hard from about 9-2 and then waning in energy after that. In fact, you find that the last three hours of your day are very inefficient and rarely have much accomplishment. Try to balance the work you do in those first five hours throughout the rest of your shift, doing less concentrated work in those first five hours and doing a little more in your slower last three hours. Doing so helps minimize your strain and improves your capacity to handle long and challenging work.
5: Create a To-Do List
To-do lists help you have a structure for your goals. They compile all of the things you have to do in a day or a week. Using these lists helps you set your goals by understanding what you have to do, what you can do, and how you can plan these items in a meaningful way. Everyone should have a to-do list that collates all their work and home activities.
Example: When you start your work week, you have a list of tasks that you need to handle by the end of the week. Go through each of these items, figure out how much time that they’ll take, and gauge how they’ll impact your goals. Create a to-do list and list every task you need to do, keeping prioritization in mind. As you will have a clear list of tasks to do, you’ll be able to manage your work more efficiently. Be prepared to adjust your goals, as required, to stay on top of things.
6: Plan Ahead But Not Too Far
Each of your days needs a detailed plan that helps achieve your weekly goals. These plans should be based on your available work time and energy, as well as the urgency and importance of each of your tasks. However, you don’t want to plan much more than a week ahead. Because the long time is unpredictable, planning too far ahead typically results in failure to meet your time management goals.
Example: Just before you leave for the day, spend about 15 minutes preparing your office for the next day. Go over your to-do list, see what kind of tasks you’ll need, and create a schedule for the next day. Place the most urgent and essential tasks first and then move on from there. Take your whole week into account when planning the next day, working at least one week ahead of time, as possible.
7: Be Ready to Adjust Your Goals
While you may set your time management goals on a daily basis, you may find it hard to finish them if your goals are not suitable for your needs. That problem is not unusual and often requires a careful adjustment of each day’s plans. Don’t worry if your goals don’t seem immediately attainable at first! A few simple adjustments, including moving events to different days or times, may help make this process simpler.
Example: Your time management goal of working a concentrated 6.5 hours every eight-hour day doesn’t seem to be happening. The problem lies in your lack of focus just before lunch. You find your mind wandering and considering what you’ll eat, and after lunch, your concentration further wanes. So schedule your lunch earlier, or eat it at your desk quickly to minimize this time loss.
As you can see, setting up intelligent time management goals doesn’t have to be an impossible process if you understand what you are doing. When you take the time to examine your different options and balance them properly, it should be easy to create a schedule that makes sense, minimize the complications of a packed day, and keep your demands reasonable and light.
This fact matters so much because worker burnout is not uncommon in many fields and industries. Burnout can be a severe complicating factor in many people’s lives, leading to problems such as changing professions and even the loss of a job. Pay attention to these factors, stay on top of your time management goals, and you should find it easy to keep yourself prosperous and happy for years and help with your goal setting and time management needs.