Do you frequently feel overburdened by deadlines and never-ending to-do lists? if yes then you need the best time management technique to manage your time perfectly. In today’s fast-paced and dynamic world managing your time becomes super important in your personal/professional life.
Different people manage their time differently. A working professional’s way of managing time is different than the entrepreneur, a student’s way of managing time is different than his parents, right that’s why you need to master at least one time management technique that can help you manage your day properly.
In this article, not just 1 time management technique, I am going to discuss a total of 10 best tried and tested time management techniques that can help you manage your day properly and revolutionalize the way you approach daily tasks, priorities, and goals.
So, are you ready to become a time management master? then let’s get started…
Table of Contents
9 Time Management Techniques To Manage Your Time
You are living in a world filled with constant distractions, demands, and a number of opportunities but the time is very limited. Everyone has 24 hrs a day some people use these 24 hrs effectively to achieve more in their life.
On the other side, many complain that they don’t have enough time to do things. The root cause of this problem is the way people look at time management, some people see it as an enemy that they have to manage and control forcefully while others adjust themselves as per time.
Sometimes you see time as your enemy because it is constantly flowing you can’t control it. Most people struggle to manage time because they want to control it. Actually, that’s the truth you can’t control time, you can only manage time.
To manage your time you need to first manage your energy, focus, and ultimately your mind. There are a lot of reasons why you fail managing time like distractions, procrastination, not having clarity, poor prioritization, lack of planning, etc.
All these reasons make you fail in managing time because you don’t know how to manage your energy, focus, and ultimately Mind. That is why you need at least one time management technique to manage your time properly.
But here Let me discuss the 10 practical time management techniques one by one. In the end, you will be ready to apply any of these time management technique to boost your productivity in your personal as well as professional life.
1. Getting Things Done (GTD approach)
This time management technique was created by David Allen and is useful for those who struggle to focus on one thing at a time and get overwhelmed by multiple things in their life.
By listing all the tasks on paper and then breaking each activity down into manageable pieces, this method aims to get things done. With this approach, you will get a reliable system to capture, organize and prioritize all your commitments.
This is one of the most useful techniques for being organized, lowering stress levels, and completing more tasks in daily life. Let’s understand the steps of this approach.
Step1: Capture everything
Your brain can get overwhelmed trying to remember everything you need to do. To overcome this problem, you need to build the habit of capturing all your tasks, ideas, and commitment in a trusted system.
It could be a paper, notebook, digital app, or combination of both. The moment you write things on paper or any preferred thing, you actually free your mind from clutter. So, this step gets everything out of your head and put that on paper or notebook.
Step2: Clarity and process
Once you have captured all the tasks on paper or notebook, the next step is to process each task. Ask yourself, what is this task? can I do anything about it? If the task requires action then start taking action.
Check with yourself, can you do the task immediately in less than 2 minutes? if yes, then do it right away. If not then either delegate it or do it later or you can add it to your task list.
Step3: Organize and categorize
This step is all about categorizing and organizing your tasks into actionable to-do lists. Categories like work, personal, family, or specific projects you are working on.
Create a task folder for each category, by doing this you will get complete clarity of what needs to be done in each category or area of your life.
Step4: Prioritize and plan
Now you have categorized lists of tasks, determine which tasks are the most important or time-sensitive. Assign priorities to each task based on its importance and deadline.
Break down larger projects into smaller, actionable steps and schedule them accordingly. This way you will get a clear roadmap to tackle your tasks efficiently on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis without any overburden of tasks.
Step5: Review and reflect
Regularly review your tasks and commitments to ensure they align with your goals and priorities. Perform a weekly review to assess progress, update task lists, and plan for the upcoming week. This step is crucial for staying on track and making necessary adjustments.
Now choose tasks to work on based on context, energy level, and priority. Minimize distractions and dedicate your attention to completing specific actions or tasks at hand. As you work through your tasks, mark them as complete and update your system accordingly. celebrate your progress and accomplishments along the way.
2. Pareto Principle (80/20 principle)
The 80/20 principle approach was created by Italian economist Vifredo Pareto, initially, it was used in industrial problem solving but now you can use it as a time management technique to manage your day properly.
The basic idea of this approach is that 20% of your tasks or actions are responsible for 80% of the outcome or end result, so you must focus on those 20% high-impacting tasks first to get better results.
This method is useful if you want to prioritize highly impactful tasks from your list of tasks. This will increase your productivity and enable you to complete important or high-impact tasks first. Let’s see how it works.
Step1: Identify the Vital few
Start by identifying the task or activities that have the highest impact on your goal. What are the 20% efforts that will deliver 80% of your desired results? It could be prioritizing client meetings, focusing on high-value projects, or even enhancing your skills through continuous learning.
Step2: Eliminate the Trivial Many
Next, let go of activities that don’t contribute significantly to your goals. These are trivial many that consume your time without providing substantial returns. Think of them as unnecessary appetizers that only distract from the main course of success.
Step3: Delegate and outsource
Remember, you can’t do it all alone. Delegate tasks that don’t require your expertise or can be handled by others. By delegating or eliminating tasks that are less crucial and don’t contribute significantly to your desired outcomes, you can focus more on the tasks that matter the most.
Step4: Prioritize and plan
Once you have identified the vital few, prioritize them in your schedule. Set clear goals and deadlines to ensure you are making progress. Use time-blocking techniques like pomodo techniques to maintain focus and avoid distractions.
Step5: Continuous evaluation
Regularly assess your progress and results. Are you still focusing on the right tasks? Are there new opportunities for improvement? By continuously evaluating and adjusting your approach you will refine your time management skills and optimize your productivity.
3. Pomodoro Time Management Technique
The next time management technique is the Pomodoro technique which was invented by entrepreneur Francesco Cirillo. This technique breaks down your work into short time intervals called Pomodoro.
This time interval creates a sense of urgency and helps you maintain focus during the work period. These short breaks allow for regular mental rest and prevent burnout.
This technique is useful when you are working on any creative project that needs more concentration and also useful when you are struggling with burnout problems. Let’s see how it works.
- Select a task: Choose a task that you need to get done.
- Set a timer: Set a timer for 25 minutes, which is considered one Pomodoro interval. You can use a physical timer, a time app, or a Pomodoro technique app.
- Work on task: Focus exclusively on the chosen task for the entire 25-minute interval. Avoid any distractions or interruptions.
- Take a short break: When the timer ringer, pause for no longer than 5 minutes. Use this time to relax, stretch, or do something unrelated to work.
- Repeat: After the short break, start another Pomodoro by setting the timer for another 25-minute work interval. Repeat this cycle until you have completed 4 Pomodoros.
- Take a longer break: After completing 4 Pomodoros, take a longer break of around 15-30 minutes. This break allows for greater relaxation and rejuvenation.
- Restart the cycle: Once the longer break is over, you can start the cycle again by setting the timer for another 25-minute Pomodoro.
4. Parkinson’s Law Time Management Technique
A British historian Cyril Parkinson formulated this Parkinson’s law time management technique which states that work expands to fill the time available for its completion. This is useful for those who procrastinate a lot and those who can easily work under pressure.
This law states that when people have a set deadline for completing a task, they tend to utilize the entire allocated time, regardless of the actual complexity or required effort.
The key behind this technique is it imposes artificial time constraints on your tasks to increase productivity and efficiency. With the help of this technique, you can focus better and prevent procrastination by giving yourself shorter deadlines to finish tasks.
How you can apply this:
- Set specific and realistic deadlines: When assigning deadlines to tasks, be clear about when you want them to be completed. Make sure the deadlines are achievable and consider the complexity and importance of each task.
- Break tasks into smaller parts: Divide larger tasks into smaller and manageable parts. Set a proper deadline to finish each part, this can help you set milestones and track progress more effectively.
- Prioritize and eliminate distractions: Identify the most critical tasks and prioritize them accordingly. You may make sure that you use your time effectively by concentrating on high-priority tasks. Make sure that distractions can’t affect your productive time.
- Use timeboxing: Timeboxing is the process of allocating a set period of time to carry out a particular activity. You may enhance productivity and prevent spending too much time on a single task by establishing time limits.
- Practice accountability: Hold yourself accountable for meeting deadlines and managing your time effectively. Avoid the temptation to extend deadlines unnecessarily and develop the habit of completing tasks within the time frame you set for yourself.
5. Eat That Frog Time Management Technique
Eat That Frog time management technique popularized by Author and trainer Brain Tracy in his book Eat That Frog. The fundamental idea behind this method is that if you start your day by doing the most difficult or demanding task first then the remaining tasks will appear simple to complete in the afternoon.
By completing difficult tasks in the morning you get momentum to easily finish other tasks in the rest of the day. People who often work on challenging projects and long-term goals will find this strategy to be useful. Let’s see how it works.
- Identify your most crucial task: The first step is to choose the one task that will have the biggest impact on your day or the most potential to advance you toward your objectives.
- Prioritize your frog: Once you have identified the most important task, make it your top priority. Avoid getting distracted by other less important tasks and busy work.
- Break it down: If your frog is a large or complex task then break it down into smaller manageable sub-tasks. This will make it less overwhelming and easier to approach.
- Set a proper deadline: Assign a specific deadline for completing your frog. This helps create a sense of urgency and prevent procrastination.
- Take immediate action: Start working on your frog without delay. Avoid unnecessary delays or overthinking and start with small subtasks.
- Be disciplined: Maintain discipline and focus on the task at hand. If your mind wanders or you feel the urge to switch to something else, remind yourself of the importance of completing your frog. Eliminate distractions during your focused work time.
- Repeat the cycle: As you complete the subtask related to your frog, simply acknowledge your achievement to get some instant motivation. After completion of your frog, identify the next frog and apply the same method.
6. Eisenhower Matrix
This is one of the most powerful time management techniques created by D. Eisenhower, the 34th president of the USA. He developed this method when he was faced with problems in decision-making as president. This time management technique is useful for people who are working in leadership/managerial roles.
The Eisenhower Matrix helps you prioritize tasks based on their urgency and importance. This simple four-quadrant matrix helps you categorize tasks and determine which ones to focus on first. Let’s see how it works.
4 quadrants of the Eisenhower Matrix:
- Important and urgent (Do first): Tasks that are both important and urgent. These types of critical tasks require immediate attention to avoid any negative consequences.
- Important but not urgent (Schedule): Tasks that are important but not urgent should be scheduled and planned for the future. These tasks contribute to long-term goals and hence require proper planning so these tasks must be completed in a timely manner.
- Urgent but not important (Delegate): Tasks that are urgent but not important should be delegated to others whenever possible. These tasks require immediate attention but do not contribute to long-term goals hence can be handled by someone else.
- Not urgent and not important (Eliminate): Tasks that are neither important nor urgent are time wasters and just distractions. Eliminate such tasks and save your time and then spend that time on other crucial tasks.
Follow the simple steps to use this time management technique:
- List down all your tasks: Write down all the tasks you need to accomplish.
- Categorize tasks: Place each task into one of the four quadrants of the Eisenhower matrix based on urgency and importance.
- Prioritize: Start with tasks that are urgent and important (do first), then focus on important but not urgent (schedule), then focus on urgent but not important (delegate), and at last focus on eliminating tasks that are not urgent and important.
- Take action: Start taking action to complete each task according to their prioritization in the matrix.
7. Rapid Planning Method (RPM)
Rapid planning method time management technique developed by the popular motivational speaker Tony Robbins. This method provides a structured approach to planning and is developed to help working professionals and students achieve their goals by taking massive actions.
This technique is useful for working students/parents as well as for people working on long-term goals. This method emphasizes a lot on clarity, focus, and taking massive action to attain desired outcomes. let’s see how it works.
- Capturing: Write down all the tasks you want to accomplish.
- Chunking: Chunk all the similar tasks together. Which tasks are career-related? which are health-related? and which are relationship-related.
- Outcome visioning: Visualize what you want to achieve and be specific about the results you want to see in different areas of your life like career, health, and relationships after completing the respective tasks.
- Purpose and reasons: Identify the reasons why you want to achieve these outcomes. Understanding your reasons will help you stay committed and focused on your task completion.
- Massive action plan: Create a MAP in which create 4 columns on paper. List down the tasks you want to do in 1st column, then add the results you want after completing each task in the 2nd column, after that add the purpose behind completing each task in the 3rd column, and in the last column list the actions you need to take to complete the tasks.
- Consistently review: Regularly review your progress and reassess your goals. Make necessary adjustments to your massive action plan (MAP) based on changing circumstances or new insights.
8. Time-blocking Technique
This is the easiest time management technique for working professionals as well as for students. Time blocking simply means assigning a time block to each task you do throughout the day.
For example, a time block of 20 minutes for checking your important mail, and a time block of 30 minutes for spending time with family, such time blocks make it easy to complete tasks on time. The main goal of this method is to minimize distractions and create a structured schedule to finish all your tasks.
- Start by outlining your task or goal for the day or week.
- Allocate a specific time block for different activities or tasks like blocks for work-related activities, career-related activities, family related activities.
- Be realistic about how much time each task will take. Avoid over-committing because that will lead to frustration and burnout.
- Treat each time block as a commitment and try to finish your task within the time block. Be flexible also to adjust your time block in sudden emergencies.
- Don’t forget to incorporate breaks in between 2 to 3-time blocks to rest and recharge.
- To build this habit of time blocking for day-to-day tasks you can use digital calendars, pen and paper, or time management apps.
9. The Two-Minute Rule
The 9th time management technique is the 2-minute rule which is simple and easy to follow. The purpose of this rule is to increase your productivity by completing small tasks immediately. The rule is simple if a task can be completed in 2 min or less, then do it right away rather than putting it off.
The idea behind this rule is to prevent small tasks from accumulating and taking up mental space, allowing you to focus on more significant and complex tasks without being constantly interrupted by minor choices. Let’s see how it works.
- Identify the task: As you go through your day, keep track of small tasks that pop up. These could be replying to a short email, tidying up your desk, making a quick phone call, or any other small task that can be completed swiftly.
- Evaluate a time: Whenever you encounter such a task, ask yourself whether it can be done in less than 2 minutes. If yes, then do it right away.
- Take action: Instead of adding these tiny tasks to a to-do list or postponing them, act on them immediately. Completing them right away ensures that they won’t pile up and distract you later.
10. Learn to say ‘NO’
Learning to say no is not specifically a time management technique but an important mindset shift you need to develop. This simple mindset shift can help you manage your priorities and time effectively.
When you say no to irrelevant tasks, commitments, and distractions you shift your focus on what is important and allocate your time accordingly. Sometimes saying no to things can be challenging.
But with practice, you can see a better outcome of this simple mindset shift as it helps you save your time and energy for activities or tasks that are aligned with your long-term goals and priorities.
Whether you are a student, working professional, entrepreneur, or housewife time management skill is vital for living a balanced life. I have covered a total of 10 time management strategies in this article that might help you organize your everyday tasks and create more balance in your life.
Each time management technique is applicable in different situations. Let’s say you are in a leadership position and want to manage your time with better decision making then Eisenhower Matrix is the best option for you.
Similarly, If you are a procrastinator then you can use Parkinson’s law time management technique to manage your time, etc. Each technique discussed in the article can help you better manage your time and improve your productivity.
So embrace these tested practical techniques and let time become your best friend in the journey to success in life. If you found this article useful then please share it in your network and subscribe to get more such articles every week.