Time management skills, like other soft skills, such as organizational skills, are in high demand. Employers will be assessing your ability to manage your time, and the effectiveness of your team to reach department objectives.
Employees who manage their time well are more productive, more efficient, and more likely to meet deadlines. They focus on the most important and time-sensitive tasks and limit the amount of time wasted on non-essential duties.
What Are Time Management Skills?
Time management means working efficiently, and employers in every industry look for staff that can make optimal use of the time available to them on the job. Saving time saves the organization money and increases revenue.
Effective time management requires staff to analyze their workload, assign priorities, and maintain focus on productive endeavors.
Employees who are excellent time managers can eliminate distractions and enlist support from colleagues to help accomplish their goals.
Types of Time Management Skills
It might be impossible to do every single minute task expected of you. You also might want to do everything all at once. But you must prioritize so that you are able to complete the most important tasks in an order that makes sense. When assigning priority, consider such factors as when each task needs to be done, how long it might take, how important it might be to others in the organization, what could happen if a task is not done, and whether any task might be interrupted by bottlenecks in the process.
- Managing Expectations
- Waste Prevention
- Prioritizing requests and demands
- High-Value Activities (HVAs)
- Performance Reviews
- Goal Setting
Scheduling is important, because some tasks have to be done at specific times. Scheduling affects your day, your week, your month, as well as other people’s work flow. Most have specific times of the day when they are more or less productive as a result of energy levels and demands of the day. Schedules can be a good way to avoid procrastination, too.
- Scheduling Software
- Breaking broader goals into milestones
- Breaking up milestones into projects
To-do lists (properly prioritized and integrated with your schedule) are a great way to avoid forgetting something important. They are also a great way to avoid spending all day thinking about everything you have to do. Remembering tasks takes energy and thinking about everything you have to do all week can be exhausting and overwhelming. Split all the necessary tasks up into a list for each day, and you won’t have to worry all of it all at once. Just take your tasks one day at a time.
- Creating daily, weeklym and monthly “to do” lists
- Email Management
Pacing your work, even though it may seem an odd thing to call a skill, is an important time management concept. Although working long hours or skipping breaks can sometimes improve productivity in the short-term, your exhaustion later will ensure that your overall productivity actually drops. Except for rare emergencies, it is important to resist the temptation to over-work. Include necessary breaks, and a sensible quitting time, in your schedule.
Knowing and enforcing an optimum workload for yourself ensures consistency in your performance and avoids burnout. Employers want to be able to count on you for the long-term.
- Process Management
- Eliminating Waste
- Taking Breaks
Depending on what type of work you do, you may be able to delegate some tasks. Knowing what and when to delegate is an important skill. Some people resist delegating, either because they want to maintain control or because they want to save money by not hiring assistants. Both approaches ultimately hurt productivity and raise costs.
Remember, however, that if you practice time management diligently and still can’t get everything done, you may be trying to do too much. It is better to succeed at a few tasks than to attempt and fail at many.
- Seeking Expert Assistance
- Moderating Meetings
More Time Management Skills
Here are more time management for resumes, cover letters, job applications, and interviews. Required skills will vary based on the job for which you're applying, so also review our list of skills listed by job and type of skill.
- Productivity Software
- High Stress Tolerance
- Attention to Detail
- Deductive Reasoning
- Inductive Reasoning
- Critical Thinking
- Ongoing Improvement
- Risk Management
- Quality Assurance
- Project Management
- Conflict Management
- Problem Sensitivity
Examples of Time Management in the Workplace
This list provides examples of effective time management at work.
A - E
- Adapting plans to changing circumstances
- Allocating time for specific tasks
- Analyzing processes and selecting the simplest way to accomplish a task
- Asking for help when overwhelmed with demands
- Assertiveness to say no to inappropriate demands that distract from central duties
- Attacking more complex tasks when you have the highest energy and sharpest concentrations
- Auditing how time is spent
- Avoiding excessive small talk with co-workers
- Avoiding procrastination; acting instead of worrying
- Breaking broader goals into smaller parts and focusing on one step at a time
- Breaking up projects into manageable parts
- Creating daily, weekly and monthly “to do” lists
- Creating schedules
- Delegating more routine tasks to lower level staff
- Eating well to maintain energy
- Eliminating time wasters
- Exercising and participating in other stress-reducing activities during leisure time to maximize energy when at work
F - Z
- Facilitating efficient meetings; sticking with time frames for meetings
- Grouping similar tasks together to limit transition time
- Maintaining an organized work area
- Multitasking; shifting smoothly from one task to another
- Openness to more efficient ways of doing things
- Organizing digital files for easy retrieval
- Planning your day the night before or first thing in the morning
- Prioritizing requests and demands
- Prioritizing a list of projects and focusing on higher value tasks with more immediate deadlines
- Putting cell phones aside to eliminate the distraction of personal messages unless required for work
- Reviewing performance and eliminating deviations from priorities
- Setting daily, weekly and monthly goals
- Setting realistic standards for quality and avoiding perfectionism
- Setting specific times for responding to email
- Taking short breaks to restore energy
- Touching each piece of paper or reading each email just once, whenever feasible
How to Make Your Skills Stand Out
Add Relevant Skills to Your Resume: For executive assistants and managers, the time management skills listed above are important to include in your resume.
Highlight Skills in Your Cover Letter: While reading the job description carefully, note in your letter similar projects where time management was key.
Use Skill Words in Your Job Interview: Review these time management interview questions prior to your job interviews, so you’re prepared to respond with specific examples of how you effectively manage your workload.