What are soft skills? You're already working on your hard skills — the technical knowledge and industry know-how that you're learning during your credential course — but success in the workplace doesn't end there. Soft skills are things like communication, time management, decision making, emotional intelligence, and self-motivation — skills that are relevant to ALL jobs, and will help you stand out from the pack and succeed in the workforce. A tremendous 93% of employers say “soft skills play a critical role in their decision about whom they want to hire,” so be sure to not only work on perfecting your soft skills but also highlight them on your resume!
This month, our soft skills resource series is focusing on time management. Many jobs will require you to balance multiple tasks and responsibilities with various deadlines. Knowing how to manage your time efficiently will allow you to be more productive and less stressed! Check out these resources we curated to jump-start your time management skills:
We only have 24 hours in each day — make the most of them! This thorough article from Unito defines the components of time management and why it matters in both your work and personal life, and goes on to outline time management skills and strategies that can help you get a leg up. Additionally, this resource contains some further information for those who are pursuing leadership or project manager roles, where time management is of the essence. Read this helpful primer to kick-starting your time management excellence here!
This article from ADP is is a quick and actionable overview on the time management skills you'll want to hone (and highlight on your resume!) to be high-performing and competitive in the workplace. Time management is especially important in roles where you will need approval for overtime — establishing a reputation as an employee who can reliably get the work done in the time budgeted will go far to set you ahead of the pack. Learn more from ADP here!
This short but impactful video features entrepreneurs Amy Landino and Chris Ducker discussing the importance of using your calendar, blocking your time, holding yourself accountable for how your time each day is spent, and the power of knowing when to say "no" so that you can say "yes" to a better opportunity. Watch it below!
Not all of us are wired to be natural project managers — even if we know the principles and best practices, time management isn't always as easy as making a to-do list and sticking to it. This article by time management coach Elizabeth Grace Saunders examines the brain science behind planning and how you can exercise the mental muscles to make you a stronger and more resilient planner. Read more on the Harvard Business Review!
Now that you've read all about the theories and strategies behind time management, how do you put them into action? This article from Brian Tracy International outlines some tools and techniques you can utilize to level up your time management game. From lists to planners to apps to file folder systems, there are a ton of free and cheap tools you can use to keep yourself productive and on track. Read more from Brian Tracy here!
In this TEDx talk from productivity guru and coach David Allen, he describes how time management is a martial art. It feels awkward and unnatural when first starting out — but once you learn how to throw a perfect punch, you'll never produce power any other way. Learn how to free your mind's bandwidth, prioritize tasks, make decisions on action steps, and reduce your time spent spinning your wheels and and feeling overwhelmed in this excellent talk here:
Beat procrastination and improve your focus one pomodoro (Italian for "tomato") at a time! You may have heard of this popular productivity method, where you alternate focused work sessions with short and frequent breaks to keep your brain on task without getting fatigued or derailed by distractions. This working method won't be appropriate for every job or workplace, but it can also be applied to school work, house work, or other projects! Learn more about tracking your time in pomodoros here.
Finally, our friends at FastForward have published a resource specifically for students in FastForward credential courses on how to balance their life and class commitments! FastForward Career Coach April Pannell from Blue Ridge Community College outlines some helpful tips and tricks for managing your time while taking the next step to reskill and jumpstart your career. Read more and learn how to contact your local FastForward Career Coach here.
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