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Why Time Management Is Considered a Soft Skill That Can Change Your Career Trajectory For The Better

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Why Time Management Is Considered a Soft Skill That Can Change Your Career Trajectory For The Better
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Why Time Management Is Considered a Soft Skill That Can Change Your Career Trajectory For The Better

Practicing good time management is one the most important soft skills that you can have in the workplace. It ensures increased productivity, high-quality work, improved confidence in one’s ability to do the job efficiently, and on-time delivery of time-sensitive assignments.

Ultimately, you can meet your professional (and personal) goals and achieve worthwhile success when you take the time to strengthen your time management skills. But what does it mean when we refer to time management as a “soft skill?” What exactly are soft skills? And how do these specific types of skills allow you to thrive in the workplace?

What Is A Soft Skill

What Is A Soft Skill?

Soft skills are the abilities that determine how you work and interact with your colleagues. Whereas hard skills are technical and job-specific, soft skills are about how your professionalism, timeliness, and other essential, intangible traits complement your practical skills that are required for the job itself, making you an attractive candidate for recruiters and prospective employers.

Here are the most common soft skills:

  • Time management – Allocate your time so that tasks are completed efficiently and productively.
  • Problem-solving – The act of identifying the problem, then prescribing and implementing a resolution.
  • Collaboration – A working practice for individuals on a team to come together through a common purpose to achieve an intended outcome.
  • Communication – The way in which we speak and share information with our colleagues about work matters and pending issues so that everyone understands and is on the same page.
  • Adaptability – The ability to change and adjust to different situations in an evolving workplace.
  • Emotional Intelligence – This includes empathy, self-regulation, motivation, social skills, and awareness of your own emotions.
  • Creativity – Using outside-the-box thinking to create innovative solutions.
  • Critical-thinking – The ability to analyze, conceptualize, infer, and problem-solve.
  • Organization – Being able to keep all work-related materials arranged in an orderly manner.
  • Team player – The way in which you work with others on your team on a variety of different tasks to ensure that processes go smoothly.
  • Leadership – Qualities that help you stand out as a leader of a group, such as emotional intelligence.

Alternatively, to give you a better idea of how soft skills are different from hard skills, let’s take a look at the list of the most common hard skills in the workplace:

  • Programming
  • Multilingual
  • Writing/Editing
  • Accounting
  • Data Analysis
  • Computer technology
  • Marketing
  • Design
  • Web Development

Hard skills are the results of your training from a school or on-the-job education, demonstrating your understanding or expertise on a particular matter. Conversely, soft skills are the personal behaviors and traits that you exhibit that shape how you work and collaborate with others.

Why Are Soft Skills Valuable

Why Are Soft Skills Valuable?

Soft skills are valuable because they’re transferable skills you can take into any job, regardless of industry. They can also reveal your ability to grow within the company. Having good soft skills can help your application stand out in a crowded and competitive market, ace the interview, and be the reason why you succeed in your position when you land the job. According to Monster’s The Future Of Work: 2021 Global Outlook, employers named the top skills they found most valuable in prospective employees including dependability, teamwork, flexibility, and problem-solving. Another report created by LinkedIn revealed over 89% of recruiters observed that when a hire didn’t work out with a company, it was due to poor soft skills.

Soft skills can also have a profound effect on the rates of turnover. A study at the University of Michigan, Boston College, and Harvard University discovered that soft skills boost productivity and retention by 12% and produce approximately a 256% return on investment.

The truth of the matter is this: employers understand the value soft skills bring to their organization and are beginning to prioritize candidates with a variety of soft skills over those with more technical experience. In some companies, while hiring managers search for candidates who meet the minimum qualifications for the role, they also keep the dynamic of their current team in mind while sourcing through the potential new hires.

For example, a team that prioritizes a positive workplace culture will either ask their recruiter (or a designated member of their team who is conducting the interviews) to incorporate a question into the interview process that would uncover a candidate’s flexibility and how they would demonstrate collaboration and teamwork to solve a particular scenario. The hiring manager can then determine whether the candidate should move to the next step in the process based on the answer. In another scenario involving a marketing team, the hiring manager may need to identify your skills in persuasion in order to sell a great product or platform. A candidate would likely need to display, either written or verbally, how they would apply this soft skill during the interview.

While soft skills can be difficult to learn at first and can take a fair amount of practice to master, these particular skills are important in your overall productivity, your employee experience, and your relationships with your colleagues.

What Are The Most Important Soft Skills

What Are The Most Important Soft Skills?

Soft skills are an essential component in building a strong, motivated workforce. But what soft skills are considered the most important? According to LinkedIn, employers are particularly seeking out these top soft skills:

  • Adaptability
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Persuasion

Given the permanent changes to the workplace due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it makes sense that adaptability and collaboration would be at the top of the list. With more employers making the switch to either a hybrid or fully remote workforce, teams within the company have had to learn how to adapt to different time zones and new ways of working and communicating with each other. Creativity has always been a highly sought-after soft skill as this allows for more innovative decision-making and outcomes.

Interestingly, more small businesses have steadily launched in 2021, with about 4.3 million new businesses starting up across the United States according to the US Chamber. With more priority given to building a robust online presence and strategic marketing, it’s understandable why persuasion is considered one of the more valuable skills this year. Emotional intelligence is on the rise with self-awareness, conflict resolution, and empathy as essential skills in the workplace and a sign of emerging leadership qualities.

But here’s another soft skill often considered timeless as it will serve you for the rest of your career: time management.

Why is Time Management Considered A Soft Skill

Why is Time Management Considered A Soft Skill?

Time management is considered a soft skill for these three essential reasons:

  • It’s teachable – Similar to hard skills, soft skills can be taught. And it’s important for employers to recognize that these skills must be nurtured in the same way you would encourage continued growth and education with technical experience. In an in-depth SHRM article about the importance of soft skills, Liza Cannata, vice president of HR for CareerBuilder, says, “Companies have a lot to gain by treating soft skills as they would any technical skill.” This means that employers should create and foster a work environment that enables employees to gain the experience needed to enhance their soft skills. For example, employees need to be given the chance to be creative, time to problem-solve, and opportunities to step up in their leadership potential. Training, coaching, workshops, and external mentoring can be excellent advantages for employees seeking to gain the necessary experience.
  • It’s transferable. No matter what career path you follow, soft skills can follow you everywhere. They can be used for a variety of different positions and a variety of professional settings. Time management can serve you no matter what level you are in your career and is considered most of the most in-demand skills. Let’s look at an example of this in action. Say you have experience as an administrative assistant, and you find an open position for a Client Manager. The transferable skill sets you’d want to include on your resume are time management, organization, teamwork, and flexibility as these are all soft skills you’ve demonstrated as an admin.
  • It’s a life skill. Time management is not just a skill for the workplace. You can carry this into your personal life as well. It’s woven into everything that we do, from basic household chores, making time to go to the gym, or evening making space to spend more time with family and friends, time management is integral in our enjoyment of life. If you intentionally manage your time wisely, it leads to better decisions and you can have a healthy and satisfactory work-life balance for years to come.

Why is Time Management An Important Soft Skill

Why is Time Management An Important Soft Skill?

Now that we understand the basics of soft skills, let’s discuss why time management is so important in the workplace.

  • Enhances your work experience. When you’re operating at your best and managing your time effectively, you’re getting more high-quality work done by (or before) the deadline. This reflects positively on your work ethic and boosts your confidence in your abilities. Overall, you’ll feel much more accomplished at work with how much you were able to get done and the overall quality given how much extra time you gave yourself to complete the project or assigned task. You’ll remain motivated and driven to keep contributing to the company’s objectives.
  • Provides more opportunities. With the ability to get the fundamentals of your job accomplished, more opportunities in the workplace will be available to you such as training, career development, promotions, and mentoring. Learning how to manage your time in a productive way can create chances for you to increase your competitiveness as a high performer and gain additional skills that can last your entire career.
  • Make better decisions. When you plan your day strategically, giving priority to the most essential tasks needing to be completed first, you’ve taken the most important step in making good, practical decisions with time management. This eventually becomes a regular habit, which not only increases your productivity in the long run but helps you think creatively and critically about your tasks and how to come to an effective resolution.
  • Less stress. Time management is all about allocating specific time windows to be your designated opportunity to be at your most productive. When you capitalize on these time frames and get your work done efficiently, you’ll feel less stressed overall. Rather than waiting until the last minute — with the tasks always looming in the back of your mind — or allowing fear and insecurities to paralyze your progress, having methods to improve your time management, help you get started, and minimize interruptions and distractions will produce fewer moments of work-related stress.
  • More personal time. Employees crave a work-life balance that feels fulfilling. But when we have an intimidating and insurmountable to-do list, both at home and at work, it can be tough to strike that balance. Practicing good time management can help restore our freedoms and personal time when we’re off the clock. We won’t be working long or odd hours to get the projects done, nor will we be working at home just to meet the deadline. Time management gives us back the time to reset, refresh, and relax.

In Conclusion

The work landscape is changing. Soft skills are in high demand. An increasing number of employers have found that soft skills are not only beneficial to the company, but for their entire team’s morale and motivation. The good news is that soft skills can be learned in the right setting and with appropriate opportunities.

Using your time wisely has a variety of benefits that can only improve your work experience, which is why time management is considered a soft skill that enables you to have a successful and fulfilling career.

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