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Why Is Time Management Important in the Workplace?

15 November 2023
man waits by clock

It’s a weird old concept that time seems to fly when we’re having fun and we don’t want it to, yet when we would like the clock to tick down, time seems to drag its feet in excruciating fashion.

As Laura Vanderkam tells us in her engaging TED talk there are 168 hours in a week. If we factor in working a 40-hour week and sleeping for an average of 8 hours a night, that still leaves us with 72 hours a week for other things.

How we manage this invaluable resource can significantly impact not only our individual performance but also the overall productivity and success of an organisation.

Time management isn't simply about counting hours though – be honest, you already smirked at the 40-hour working week stat and added a few extra hours —it's a strategic approach that optimises the allocation of time to tasks, maximising productivity and efficiency on both a professional and personal level. It involves a careful balance between tasks, priorities and available time.  

Perhaps we should really consider this as ‘self-management’ rather than ‘time management’.  

The Benefits of Time Management in the Workplace

By working smarter rather than longer, avoiding unnecessary pressure and focusing on priorities, there are a multitude of benefits to time management in the workplace, including:

Less stress

Reducing your stress levels by meeting deadlines without burnout can increase your levels of confidence and reduce fatigue. This in turn will help you with sleep and that much sought after work life balance.

More productivity

Having clarity on the tasks that add value will maximise your productivity. To be clear, the currency of productivity is not how many hours you work but what you deliver within the time available.

The avoidance of procrastination

When we say we don’t have time to do something, what we really mean is that we don’t want to do it. This can lead to wasted time and a whole heap of procrastination, followed by the sucker punch of guilt from wasted hours. Increased focus and productivity will reduce procrastination and enhance your performance.

Enhanced energy levels

Admittedly a healthy diet, exercise and sleep routine will contribute to this but working smarter rather than longer can only work in favour of your motivation and energy levels, helping you to focus on the work where you add the most value.

So, in summary, being in control of our time enables us and our employees to meet deadlines, maximise efficiency, get stuff done without stress and deliver better work. What’s not to love about that?

Why is it a problem?

All well and good I hear you say, we get it and yes there is a lot to love about it. And yet if was that easy, we would all be in control of our time and ironically getting on with our work rather than reading an article on ‘the importance of time management in the workplace’.

Distractions lurk in various forms—be it the ping of incoming emails, social media notifications, or simply the allure of procrastination. These distractions pose a threat to productivity and can derail even the most well-thought-out schedules.

Unmet deadlines, rushed work, and the perpetual feeling of falling behind create an environment ripe for stress. This can detrimentally impact both the mental well-being of employees and the overall morale within the workplace.

Our top tips for improving time management at work

Here are our practical tips to help you improve your time management at work and away from the workplace:

Create a list

Lists are useful when organising your time. Sometimes it is hard to know where to begin if you have an extensive amount of work.  

If you create a list of all the things that you need to action this can form the basis of planning what you are going to do and when. Take note of which tasks appear towards the top of your list. These will often be the ones that are a source of procrastination and make their way to the top of tomorrow's list until the deadline looms large.

Set your priorities

When you have completed your list, you can start to prioritise. The pareto or 80/20 rule as it is commonly referred to, tells us that 80% of our productivity comes from 20% of our time. In other words, if we can identify the tasks where we add the most value and allocate 20% of our time to prioritise these tasks, that leaves us with 80% of our day to respond to business-as-usual tasks.

By way of a quick example, if you go to the gym or dedicate some of your personal time to a hobby or interest, you are already implementing this principle.

Take ownership of when and why you attend meetings

One of the most common causes of poor time management is the number of meetings in the workplace. Look at your diary for the previous week and the week coming up and you will likely find multiple meetings, many of which will start and finish on the hour.

If you are organising a meeting, try to start it 10 minutes past the hour and finish it five minutes before the end of the hour. You will most likely achieve in 45 minutes what you would have achieved in one hour, whilst saving yourself and others 15 precious minutes.

If you are being invited to meetings, ask the host in advance how you can ‘add value to the meeting’.  You will quickly learn whether you are really required to attend.

Allow time for breaks

Little and often breaks will only enhance your energy levels, especially if you are working from home and missing out on all the social interaction that we all used to take for granted. By focusing on what you deliver as opposed to how long it takes you to deliver, you will find it easier to take time out when it suits you without feeling guilty.

Delegate when you can

Delegation is key to managing your time effectively. Being stuck in the weeds and holding onto tasks that, by rights, should no longer be owned by you may enhance your sense of self-importance, but it will not serve you well when it comes to enhancing your own career progression.  

Improve your time management skills with Donovan Training

It is no coincidence that one of the most popular requests we have is for our time management training. If you can relate to any of the challenges discussed in this article, rest assured you are far from alone.  

If you would like to learn more about how to delegate or improve your time management skills, contact us via our website or give us a call on 01295 675506 for more information and a friendly no obligation consultation.

To find out more or to book a free consultation: