Time management is one of the most often-heard phrases within any office not only in Australia but also around the world. Its simplest definition is one’s ability and method of managing their time, with the ultimate goal of accomplishing tasks on or before a specified deadline.

However, time management is not the ‘buzzword’ in the workplace. There’s also priority management, which focuses on ranking and performing tasks based on importance. Some would even say that it’s more important than learning how to manage time, simply because most jobs are output-based.

The question now is: which is the more important of the two? Do you need to learn how to manage your time before learning how to prioritise your tasks or vice versa?

The answer is that you don’t have to choose one over the other. Time management doesn’t necessarily only deal with time. In fact, when you enrol in a time management course, you’ll quickly discover that there are multiple aspects to mastering this skill, such as eliminating distractions and categorising tasks.

Categorising Your Tasks

One of the most common ways of categorising your tasks is by determining which ones are daily, weekly, and monthly or long-term. The next step is making a list for each category. Daily tasks can include responding to urgent emails and completing smaller assignments. This list can change every day, depending on the number of tasks you have to accomplish.

Your weekly plan or calendar will of course include your daily tasks. Make sure to include a specific day in the week to conduct a review of your schedule. On this day, take note of the points when you were most productive, when you failed, and when you encountered some issues. Based on these details, you can then adjust your upcoming weekly plan. In both your daily and weekly lists, don’t forget to include breaks.

Finally, your monthly or long-term calendar should include the biggest milestones. Sometimes, people find it easier to start by identifying their objectives and then working backwards to define daily tasks and weekly goals. “Batching” is also a good technique for dividing bigger tasks into smaller weekly or daily activities.

The Elements of Priority Management

As previously mentioned, priority management is only one component of time management. In the same manner, priority management also involves various elements, as it requires you to consider factors that may not be immediately obvious. For example, when prioritising tasks, you should also think about how important these tasks are to your co-workers. This way, you can manage expectations and ensure that your colleagues also achieve their goals.

Other important elements of prioritisation include the following:

  • allocating resources
  • preventing waste
  • pacing
  • identifying high-value activities (HVAs)
  • identifying potential bottlenecks
  • identifying potential consequences
  • reviewing performance (in order to re-prioritise, when needed)
Learning How to Delegate (or Ask for Help)

Another important element of priority management—and thus, time management overall—is learning how to delegate. Depending on your job and the organisational structure of your workplace, you may be able to assign some tasks to other members of your team.

It might seem like a simple enough task, but there are actually people who do not like to delegate. Reasons for this could be due to a lot of different factors, such as wanting full control of the project to ensure that they get the results they want, or perhaps these people find it hard to let go. Ultimately, however, not choosing to delegate tasks can negatively affect productivity and the quality of work. It can even cause undue stress to you and your co-workers.

If delegating tasks is not possible, then you can do the next best thing: ask for help. Having an extra set of eyes can help bring a fresh perspective on the job, not to mention spot errors that you might have missed. Collaborating on a task can also cultivate relationships, resulting in even more efficiency, motivation, and a more pleasant working environment.

Other Time Management Skills to Think About

There are many more components of time management that you may not realise. For example, learning how to use productivity and scheduling software will make planning so much easier for you and your team. Honing your communications skills is also a great idea not only for time management but also for different aspects of work.

Other so-called soft skills that can improve your time and priority management include critical thinking, risk management, and project management. Negotiation skills and even conflict management can also come in handy, especially when you’re dealing with different teams or groups. There are courses you can take for these skills, so don’t worry too much if you aren’t a natural at them.

As you can see, there’s more to time management than meets the eye. What’s more, time management and priority management are not separate concepts. Honing your skills in one aspect also means honing your skills in the other, allowing you to achieve the best possible results.

Looking for time management courses? Check out Priority Management’s online courses today.