Task Management Skills

Category: Task Management.

Don’t we all wish we had more hours in the day to complete our tasks?

Unfortunately, there are only so many hours in a day. The same limitation applies to our energy — we only have so much. In order to get the most out of each day, we have to have skills that
maximize productivity.

How can we be more productive?

  • Identify what time of day, and in what situation or environment your productivity levels are at their peak. The first step is to understand when and how most work gets done.
  • Build one new productivity habit per week. Task management skills and productivity get better with practice.

Let’s take a look at 5 essential task management skills to boost productivity:

  • Take on challenging work when productivity is at its peak
  • Schedule breaks
  • Time-block projects
  • Track progress
  • Say ‘No’ when it gets too much
Stephen-R. Covey-quote

The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.

Stephen R. Covey, American Businessman and Author

Let’s take a look at 5 essential task management skills to boost productivity:

1. Take on challenging work when productivity is at its peak

As mentioned above, our energy is limited. There are times during the day or week when our productivity is at its peak, mind its sharpest and the ability to focus is maximized. There are certain environments that help achieve maximum productivity; it could be an uncluttered home or desk, a bright and well-ventilated room, the right temperature – not too hot, not too cold, some coffee on the side. Everyone has their own peak productivity time and environment. Identify what that is; that’s step one.

Once those have been identified, take on challenging tasks. Challenging tasks take less time to get done in these best hours and environments, freeing up time to work on another project or to just take it easy later on, when productivity is past its peak.

2. Schedule breaks

A lot of times what keeps us motivated is having a break to look forward to. This is important for productivity, for if not, one would eventually run out of steam and then burnout.

The length and frequency of breaks depends on the individual and the task at hand. Some might like a long break during the afternoon, others might like short breaks every hour.

Identify what duration and frequency of breaks works best that help keep productivity high.

Sometimes distancing oneself from the task helps. If it’s a desk / computer task, break away from that environment for a little while, get some fresh air, go for a walk, clear your head, and then come back to the task with a fresh mind.

3. Time-block projects

It’s important to allocate time for the tasks that need to get done to ensure that they do get done.

Time blocking is when there’s a time scheduled in the calendar (usually as a recurring event) to make sure that the tasks are done. This is a way of allocating time for specific tasks so that that time isn’t used for some other tasks. Time-blocking helps one to commit spending the time as was planned, unless there’s an immediate crisis. In which case, the crisis takes priority. Should that happen, and the task doesn’t get done, it needs to be rescheduled right away.

Time-block Project

4. Track progress

If there is no sense of how much has been accomplished, it’s hard to know if the task management skills are working. Tracking progress is necessary for these 2 reasons:

  • There’s a sense of motivation that’s associated with showing one how far they’ve come
  • An opportunity to refine strategies and identify areas of improvement

5. Say ‘No’ when it gets too much

For those who feel a tremendous sense of obligation, saying ‘no’ doesn’t come easy. But sometimes when you are strapped for time and resources, it is best, and required, to say ‘no’.

On the other hand, if one says ‘no’ all the time, the individual will not come across as a team player and will be seen as slacking off. Therefore, it’s important to pick your battles. Know when to put your foot down, and when not to

Saying ‘no’ to things when there’s a lot on the plate, will help focus on the tasks at hand better, and hence be more productive.

In Conclusion

If you want to boost productivity in your work life, it’s important to closely examine your own task and time management skills and habits. Make it a priority to identify what the peak productivity time and place are and try some of the task management skills from the above list. Practice will hone the task management skills and productivity.


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