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Faced with exactly the same task and resources, one employee will finish right on time, another will not complete it by the deadline, and the third will finish the task earlier and enjoy the time off until the next task. The reason behind this is that these three people have a different range of CV skills, namely, time management skills.
What are time management skills, and why are they so important?
Is time management useful in everyday life?
Can you work on your time management skills?
In this article, we will answer all these questions and much more. We’ll also tell you what specific skills fall under this broad term, give examples of time management skills for specific jobs and help you find the best ways to develop them to maximise your chances of getting the job you always wanted.
Time management skills definition
Time management skills are a set of abilities that facilitate the organisation, planning and execution of tasks e.g. by ensuring the right conditions. They aim to increase productivity and the quality of work while preventing task overload. Time management skills are transferable, which means that they are the skills useful on any CV and can be applied in many situations, either professional or personal. An example of time management skills is the ability to focus effectively on a given task without being distracted by other stimuli. Time management skills are acquired, and we learn them throughout our lives. A key period for the development of these skills is during the school years. This is when through homework, tests and exams, we learn discipline, planning, focus and how to complete tasks on time.
The advantages of time management skills are not only evident in the form of efficient workflow and greater productivity, but they also have a psychological aspect. A person with well-developed time management skills works in peace, not in chaos. They finish tasks on time, without having to worry about deadlines or bringing work home.
Time management and task prioritisation
In order to plan your tasks well, you should, first of all, learn the art of prioritisation and understand the difference between important and urgent tasks.
Urgent tasks are those that have to be done immediately, otherwise, they could have immediate consequences. These tasks should be at the top of your list.
Next go the important tasks, which should be completed within an appropriate time frame. These tasks are of high importance and bring strategic, long-term results.
However, there are tasks that are urgent but of lesser importance. What to do with such tasks? If possible, it is best to delegate these tasks to someone capable of dealing with them, but who has a smaller workload.
Finally, we have tasks that are neither urgent nor important. You can eliminate these tasks from your calendar or leave them to be done in your free time.
Transferable time management skills examples
Time management skills primarily consist of activities and behaviours intended to improve your efficiency, and workflow as well as to restore balance between work and rest.
Good time management skills examples are universal and useful for every profession.
Here are some time management skills that you can add to your application when you write your CV:
Creating to-do lists
Once you understand the difference between urgent and important tasks, you can set about creating a task list to help you monitor your productivity. Lists like these help to control productivity, give you a sense of organisation, have an anxiety-reducing effect and ensure that you are less likely to forget anything important.
Objective assessment of the time you need to complete a task
You are the one who knows your capabilities and aptitudes best. Plan your day so that you have enough time to efficiently complete the tasks on your to-do list. This means that you need to take an objective assessment regarding your ability and resources to complete the task and give yourself enough time to do it thoroughly, but also not take too much time so that you still find enough time to complete the remaining tasks.
The ability to focus on a task
These days, we are surrounded by many distractions that can disrupt our schedules. When you have a task to complete, with a good organisation you will focus on it first and only then check social media, take care of less important tasks or a to-do list for the next day. Such a skill is useful not only in professional settings but also in private life, even for effective communication. The ability to remain actively focused on the task at hand enables you to complete it both quicker and more accurate.
Maintaining a healthy balance
Being able to manage your time also means knowing when you have enough on your plate. Finding time for rest is a top-tier time management skills. This means that sometimes you have to say no. With well-planned tasks, there should be room for all your responsibilities. If you objectively see that you are short of time for an extra task that is neither urgent nor important, schedule it for another day, delegate it or, if possible, discard it. Rest is often just as important as work.
Being able to set realistic, achievable goals will help you push towards them. On top of that, when you have a main goal set, it is easier to set milestones that lead to it. Having a clearly defined goal is extremely motivating, it sets a clear path and purpose for your work. This, in turn, makes you more willing and focused on the smaller tasks that lead to that goal.
Prioritising and delegating
The ability to objectively assess the importance of tasks comes in extremely handy, especially in heavy workloads, managerial positions and administrative professions. Delegating tasks, on the other hand, improves not only your workflow but also the work of those to whom you delegate. It is worth remembering that urgent tasks are those you should get on with as soon as possible.
Forecasting, planning and scheduling
These skills often involve the skilful use of additional tools. Forecasting is key to planning, while scheduling requires good calendar management. All of this is combined with organising meetings, planning checks, preparing task lists for the future, and monitoring and adapting your schedule to possible changes.
Examples of time management skills to put on a CV
See what time management skills can go on a CV for these jobs:
Time management skills for entrepreneurs
- Strategic planning
- Goal setting
- Prioritising tasks
- Multitasking when necessary
- Scheduling meetings and appointments
Time management skills to put in restaurant manager CV
- Planning and scheduling
- Creating to-do lists
- Prioritising and delegating tasks
- Monitoring performance of the team to assure efficient workflow
- Good filing and organising skills
Time management skills to put in nursing CV
- Focusing on task on hand in very chaotic conditions
- Organisation and filing of patient’s documentation
- Making sure all medicines are administered on time
- Record keeping
Time management skills to put in leader CV
- Prioritising tasks
- Delegating tasks to subordinates
- Planning and scheduling
- Setting realistic, achievable goals
- Performance monitoring
Time management skills to put in teacher CV
- Planning the curriculum for the whole semester
- Mapping out to-do lists for lessons and completing them within a strict time frame
- Keeping records of lessons
- Techniques to help students focus on the task
- Managing a group of students to complete a task on time
Time management skills to put in student CV
- Prioritising tasks and duties
- Meticulous organisation that helps with studying
- Setting goals and milestones
- Learning, memory and focus techniques
- Balancing time between classes, studying and resting.
Check our top-notch CV examples for various industries to find more examples of time management skills.
How to highlight your time management skills on a CV
When you apply for a job, one of the key elements to set you apart from the rest of the applicants is your CV. Remember that skills are one of its core components. It is these, along with your experience, that recruiters pay the most attention to. Skills show what you can already do. As such, they inform a future employer about the range of responsibilities you can handle and your potential as an employee.
Skills to put on a CV are divided into soft and hard skills. Soft skills are those that can be applied in many areas, regardless of your profession, while hard skills are those that are specific to a particular job, e.g. proficiency in programming languages for a developer.
As you may have guessed, time management is an umbrella term for certain skills in the soft skills category.
- Lesson and activity planning
- Childhood development reporting
- Inclusive learning techniques
- Positive reinforcement
- Special needs assistance
- Parent and caregiver relations
- Diligent supervision
- Progress monitoring
- Activity planning
- Parent communication
- Child development
- Diary management
- Fast typing speed
- Microsoft Excel
- Email processing
- Scheduling and calendar management
- Business administration
- Clear communication
Why are time management skills important
Time management skills are important not only from a professional point of view. They are also highly relevant in private life. Time management requires imposing certain expectations on ourselves and striving to meet them. It requires self-discipline, motivation and commitment. These qualities shape character and determine our approach to work, our attitude to carrying out tasks and even, in combination with communication skills, our relationships with other people.
Time management skills are important because:
A person with excellent time management skills meets deadlines
Meeting deadlines is one of the main aspects of time management. A well-organised person knows exactly how much time to allocate to individual tasks in order to deliver them on time without compromising quality.
Time management skills help you work accurately
When you objectively assess your tasks and carve out the right amount of time for them, you won’t have to rush through things or do them poorly. You will have the right amount of time to complete your tasks accurately and efficiently.
Better organisation means better productivity
Preparing a daily plan or to-do list and sticking to it is a foolproof recipe for improved productivity. This way you will not forget anything, and you will complete your tasks promptly and ensure their quality.
Good time management means less stress
Instead of running around in chaos from one task to another, or stressing about the fact that you have left everything to be done at the last minute again, you can work in peace, with a clear head, because you know what you have to do and how long it will take.
Time management is all about discipline
Sticking to a schedule as well as focusing on a task is quite a challenge for many of us. It can be particularly difficult for those with concentration problems. After all, time management requires a good deal of discipline. Although it can be difficult at first, discipline and task orientation reduce stress and improve wellbeing.
Time management skills come with reliability
If you perform your duties or responsibilities well and on time, it doesn’t matter whether at work or in society, it will be noticed. This trait of reliability translates into greater respect and trust from others. Combine this with well-developed interpersonal skills and you are a model employee. This, in turn, can prove to be a distinguishing factor when you are being considered for example for a promotion.
Top 10 benefits of time management skills
- Improved work organisation
- Increased productivity
- Better concentration
- Greater discipline
- Less stress (improved well-being)
- More time to relax
- Less procrastination and feeling of wasting time
- Better work-life balance
- Easier goal setting and reaching milestones
- Becoming more task-oriented and open to new professional opportunities
How to develop time management skills
As you may already have realised, time management is an extremely important skill that is highly valued in all aspects of life. It affects the quality of daily life but also improves organisation and productivity and is highly desirable among potential employees.
However, not everyone is a specialist in time management, plus some people simply find it difficult to concentrate for long periods of time.
The following tips will help you develop your time management skills..
- Start by monitoring your working hours
See how much time you actually spend on work. See if you often get distracted during a task to check social media, take a coffee break or chat with a colleague. This awareness of how you manage your time is the first step to better organisation. You can monitor your working time on your own or with apps for your phone or computer that are easily accessible.
- Write down a task list and stick to it
A task list for the day will make you aware of what you need to do. This will make it easier for you to focus on the tasks at hand because you will want to achieve that little victory that is ticking a task off the list.
- Make sure you have the right conditions
It’s hard to focus on a task and get it done on time when you’re surrounded by noise and clutter. Make sure you have the right environment, get rid of distractions, put down the smartphone, sit back and get on with your work. Are you distracted by outside sounds? A good trick is to work with noise-cancelling headphones. You can put on some concentration-enhancing music, such as nature sounds or classical music.
- Practice concentration
If you notice that you get distracted easily, despite having the ideal working conditions, it may be worth reaching for a mindfulness class. Such classes not only train your attention and concentration but also help you to relax and unwind. You can sign up for professional classes or take advantage of guided classes available online.
- Stay disciplined
It’s very easy to break down and put off a task, it’s much more difficult to complete it with good quality at the last minute. Time management requires discipline, so it’s worth practising it on a daily basis. A good example of practising discipline is setting an alarm clock and getting up in the morning as soon as you wake up, without hitting the snooze button. It seems like a small thing, but over time it translates into tangible results.
Developing time management skills is an investment in the future
Time management skills are one of the skills most desired by employers. This is why they so often pay attention to them when reviewing candidates’ CVs. Find out for yourself by looking at examples of CVs for a variety of industries, you are sure to find references to time management.
Time management skills are extremely important, they shape character, increase discipline and help you become more organised, improve productivity and maintain a healthy balance between work and leisure. Find out more about the skills worth including on your CV and download your CV template now!
SEO Content Writer, Translator
Jagoda Obszarska is a certified copywriter, Polish language translator and career advice expert. She never stops improving her skills and learning new things. Over the years, she has worked as a copywriter and translator with people from over 50 countries worldwide and completed nearly a thousand projects.