They say “time is money”. If so, we need to spend it with care. Time management skills training can help us do just that. As coach and personal development trainer, Zig Ziglar is quoted as saying: “Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.”
We also need to take into account the trend over the past 30+ years: efficient time management contributes to a positive performance review at work. This all seems to make a strong case for time management skills training. But, really, does good time management benefit us? The evidence says “yes”.
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The Benefits of Time Management Skills Training
Time management skills training reduces anxiety
A 2017 article in Electron Physician reports that an improvement in their time management skills reduced anxiety in nursing students. A more recent article (2019) reported similar results with engineering students. In addition, such skills can increase wellness and life satisfaction.
Time management skills training improves job performance
This finding has been reported in quite a few studies. Most recently, it was reported in a 2021 meta-analysis.
To wrap up, interestingly, the main effect of time management skills training is the increase in wellness and life satisfaction. The improved job performance is secondary.
It makes sense. When we feel that we are more in control of our time, we feel better. Instead of being on a speeding train racing out of control with no ability to do anything about it, we are in the driver’s seat. We believe we will have enough time to accomplish our daily (weekly, monthly, etc.) goals. As a result, we do better at the workplace.
Can anyone learn to manage their time more efficiently? Short answer, “yes”. All of the studies above showed that gender and age were not significant factors. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Physics reported that race was not a significant factor either.
Principles of effective time management
An article in the British Medical Journal spoke to this point. Here are some of the highlights. These would be great to include in your organization’s time management skills training course.
Remember to make time for yourself
It’s easy to leave self care to the end. In other words, if we have time. That’s why I’m putting it first.
No time management skills in the world will help you do your best if your battery is dead.
Each day, build in several “charging stations”. What those are is up to you; things like a walk outside, calling a friend, a hobby, exercise, a power nap. Your charging station does not always have to be long. Even a 5-minute recharge at the right time will keep you at your optimum.
Make an independent to-do list
Mobile message noises and desktop notification pings train us to stop what we’re doing and pay attention to the latest incoming text or email.
Learn to do better
Prioritize your work independently. If possible, turn off some (or all) of your notification sounds. Create a habit of checking your messages throughout the day in case there are true emergencies but not letting your texts and emails distract you from your true priorities.
Time management expert Kathryn McKinnon suggests the 6-12-6 rule: you take 20 minutes to check your email three times a day – 6 am, 12 pm, and 6 pm. While you don’t have to follow this rule exactly, it does make an important point about not being “glued” to your messages and notification.
Set realistic time frames
Often, we are put under pressure to have things ready “yesterday”. Honestly, this is usually the result of poor planning on someone else’s part.
The reality is that there is enough time to do things well when the schedule is realistic.
Get in the habit of assessing a task’s time requirements accurately. Then add 10% for “surprises”.
Building a time management skills training program
Does your organization already have a time management skills training course? Great! Now is your chance to improve it.
Does your organization need such a course? Great! Now is your chance to build one.
The good news is that you don’t have to start from scratch. EdApp is an award-winning LMS that helps you create, test, and deploy mobile microlearning courses that your team actually enjoys. Their course library includes this free and editable course, Sales Professionals’ Guide to Time Management that you can add to your sales training programs.
The course currently has three lessons:
- What is Time Management?
- How To Effectively Manage Your Time
- Setting Up Your Process
I say “currently” because this course is editable (as I mentioned above). Not only can you change the content of the current lessons, you can add content as required by your industry area or company culture. In addition, you can rebrand the course to reflect your organization’s unique identity. While this course is targeted for sales teams, you can also easily develop online training courses with EdApp using its no-coding needed authoring tools.
Program success tips
Building new habits and following these tips will help increase the positive outcome level of your training:
Practice what you teach
Have your management level staff go through the time management skills training before your “regular” employees.
In my 40+ years of working in several different organizations (for profit as well as education), I have found that management often asks employees to follow a different set of rules than they do.
We all know the value of setting a good example so it’s important to have this training for managers. So, make sure that all levels of your organization are on board.
Show the importance by dedicating the time
If it is important for your employees to do this training, it is important to set aside the time for them to do it on the job.
Saying “We want you to do this time management skills training, but there’s no time during the work day, so do it after work hours.” is just bad practice.
Expect different levels of competence
Just like any skill, there are going to be differences in the abilities of your employees to manage their time well even after your training program.
Be ready with a plan of extra coaching and support. For example, if your organization is team-based, designate one time management “high performer” as the resource. This person has dedicated hours to sitting with less able team members to help them improve.
Working together, the two teammates can do such things as:
- Assess time frames, making sure they are realistic
- Review prioritization, ensuring that it is accurate
- Discussing that teammate’s other time management challenges and proposing solutions
Globally, 35% of the world’s population report that they suffer from daily stress. For U.S. businesses alone, this translates to a loss of as much as $300 billion annually. In addition, work-related stress kills—as many as 120,000 deaths each year.
Knowing and using high-level, time management skills helps to reduce stress. A large part of work-related stress is a feeling of powerlessness, an inability to cope with the pressure of all one’s tasks and responsibilities. Good time management skills put us back in control. We know that we will get it done—and it will be done well.
Make time to check out the Top 10 Time Management Courses that you can take yourself or deploy to your teams.