Time management
min read

Time Management Skills: The secret weapon all managers should have

Time Management Skills: The secret weapon all managers should have

Management is stressful enough. All the responsibility, organization, deadlines and keeping a level head above it all. So why not learn to manage your time effectively to give you some peace of mind.

Being overwhelmed as a manager is a natural and common occurrence. With time management skills in place, you are guaranteed security from that dreaded feeling. You are able to keep track of your responsibilities and keeps you focused. It allows you to be the best version of yourself. 

Why develop time management skills?

It is easy for managers to take on more than they can handle. Because of the weight of responsibility, it's easy to say yes to things just to get them done.

This is often done with managers already having a long to-do list resulting in feeling like they're working so hard yet achieving nothing. Managers' morale can suffer from this needless stress which consequently affects their quality of work and the overall morale of their team.

This can all be avoided by learning basic time management skills. When implemented effectively, the productivity of a manager can vastly increase. Planning out time effectively can bring more focus and motivation to the task at hand, and therefore a higher quality of work.

When a team member sees a well organized manager, they automatically have greater confidence in themselves and their efforts. They know they can depend on their manager and create a trustful relationship.

It can also motivate team members to apply the same techniques in their own workday, knowing how beneficial it is. Managers can transform the entire workplace from a single implementation. Every member of the workforce can be self-assured and determined to accomplish excellent work.

But what are the time management skills?

It could surprise you to know how simple time management skills really are. So much so that it won't be long before it becomes a daily ritual for you.

Before we begin, it is important to remember that every manager is different, and putting yourself at the focus of your time management development is the most crucial step. Knowing that it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation but that you should approach time management with flexibility and patience.

Give yourself time to experiment with various techniques and remember that this is supposed to help not hinder you. To get started in developing your time management skills, you have to start with the building blocks. Here are some examples of skills to help you begin:

1. Prioritization

Taking 30 minutes each day to accumulate all your tasks can be a great way to assess what things are most important, despite it potentially being overwhelming initially.

When you have written down these tasks, prioritise them by answering these questions:

  • How long will it take you to complete the task?
  • When is it due?
  • What impact will completing this task have?
  • How important is it to do today?

Using a simple traffic light system for your last answer can help. If green is least important and red is most important, you have a visual representation of where your attention needs to go. 

Combining your other answers to the traffic light system, you have your process of prioritization underway. It becomes easy to organize what should be done more urgently and allows you to stay on top of longer tasks.

For example, if you had an orange task that is not due for a while you can schedule an hour into your calendar to get it done. This allows your to-do list to be broken down gradually whilst you complete your more pressing tasks first.

If this is done at the beginning of the day, you are already in a great position to optimize your workflow. You know what needs to be done today. This is the foundation for your other time management skills.

2. Delegation

The key thing to remember when managing your time is that you cannot do everything. And that is okay. Often, your team are eager to take on extra tasks or new responsibilities. The job at hand may sit better within their skillset which already improves the efficiency of the team.

Tasks can be stressful if the expertise required is not your strong suit or if you simply don’t have the time. If you do the task yourself, it may not be completed to the standard you want or take you twice as long as it should.

The answer? Look at your team. Giving the task to someone with greater experience ensures that it will be completed more effectively and at a higher standard. It also gives you peace of mind and more time to finish other tasks.

3. Time Blocking

So, you have prioritized your tasks for the day and delegated others. Now, time blocking comes in.

Time blocking is when you organize your day based on tasks. After noting how long each job will take, slot a time block into your calendar. This is also a personal process: if you know you aren’t going to be able to do a 5-hour task all at once, break it down into hourly sections throughout the day.

These sections can be surrounded by easier and shorter tasks. It can also be useful for organizing tasks that need to be done at certain times of the day.

This is the ideal time management technique for people who often lose motivation or become sidetracked. It keeps you on track and focused for a set period of time. Time blocking also prevents you from taking too long on a task by giving you a deadline.

4. Avoiding Distractions

It’s impossible to entirely prevent distraction. Anyone doing work is going to be able to find a distraction to stop them from working - it’s just human nature. Even if you are alone in a room with only your computer, your mind will wander.

The best way to manage these distractions is to implement strategies that help you stay on track. Time blocking already does this for you. By setting specific time limits for a task, you create a sense of urgency that can help you avoid distraction. 

In addition, you can arrange regular breaks within your time blocks to avoid exhaustion and burnout, which is a major contributor to distraction. Take a 10-minute break. Turn off your computer, move around, get a drink, and eat something. Once your 10 minutes is up, return to your desk refreshed and ready to do another round of work. 

This will keep you focused on the task at hand. Doing this regularly throughout the day will allow you to be distracted at times in the day when it doesn’t matter. The great thing about this technique is that anybody can use it.

People who prefer to do intense and prolonged times of work can take longer breaks in between. People who prefer to do short little bursts of work can have shorter breaks. It also is a great way to shift from task to task at every break if that is your style.

5. Finding your most productive hours

With regards to avoiding distractions, knowing how best you work is knowing when you work best. When prioritizing and scheduling your calendar, it’s important to realize where your most productive hours are.

There are several factors that come into play. The three main ones are stress, energy and pace.


Do the task that is causing you the most stress and distraction first. It will free up your mind space when doing your other tasks. Also, getting it out of the way will eliminate the stress caused by putting it off again and again.


Your energy levels are a secret killer of productivity. If you know that you aren’t a morning person and won’t do your best work, do easier tasks in the morning.

It’s as simple as that. Likewise, ensure you have breaks throughout the day to recharge energy levels. Make sure you give yourself the opportunity to carry out your best work


Pace is important when organizing your tasks in order to keep momentum throughout the day. If you know one of your tasks is going to wear you out and make you feel sluggish, make sure you do it before a break.

If there are tasks you know are going to be easier for you, group them together and do them all at once. Time blocking goes hand in hand with this.

6. Time Management Software

One problem with time management is that if everyone in your team isn’t managing their time effectively, it can detrimentally affect the whole team’s progress. Lack of time management in a team can lead to unnecessary delays and setbacks.

Introducing time management software to your team is an effective way to ensure efficient time management across the whole team. Time management software ranges from calendars, focus apps, task management, note taking and time tracking.

This range of software means there is something for everyone. As a manager, it is important to choose software that team members find useful and easy to use.

Overseeing the team’s time management practices provides immense peace of mind. You can track the progress of all your team in one spot without sending any emails. Not only are you easing the workload of your team, but you are also making your own job more manageable.

7. Time tracking

Time tracking software allows you and your team to have a clear understanding of how time is being spent. Not only does this help you identify where time is being inefficiently used, but also helps you estimate the time needed for each of your tasks based on previously completed ones.

This facilitates accurate planning by helping set realistic deadlines and distributing work across the team aware of each member’s capacity. It ensures that your time blocks have the right amount of
time allocated and it helps you find your most productive hours.

In essence, it goes hand in hand with all other time management techniques mentioned above!

So you have the skills, now how do you implement them?

Whilst time management skills can be very useful, introducing them all at once can be overwhelming. It takes a while for people to build a new work routine.

As a manager, you need to connect with your team and communicate the benefits of developing these skills. Emphasize how it relieves stress and increases productivity, on both an individual level and for the team.

Allow time for your team to adjust to the new routine.

This can happen effectively if you lead by example. If it is working for you, be passionate about it. Your team will engage with the process more if they know it works.

So managers, is it worth it?

Of course, it is! It can be hard to build a routine but with commitment, it can work. The benefits of learning good time management skills are endless. It will revolutionize the workflow of you and your team.

The essentials to establishing time management skills in your workplace are simple:

  • Follow the building blocks - set clear goals, prioritize, and schedule.
  • Take it slow - be patient, build slow and stay consistent.
  • Be kind to yourself - progress takes time and setbacks are normal.
  • Understand what works best for you and your team - experiment with what works for you.
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