Time Management

Time Management Techniques and Strategies

Last week, when I was on holidays, manager of one of the hotel in which I stayed mentioned during our conversation that he wish if he has more than 24 hours in a day. He found himself too much busy and was not able to manage his time.  Does it sound similar to you?? The same issue has been also discussed by couple of CEO of Startups to whom I mentor. Time management has become a issue with every second person.

Time Management

Time management is one of the important parameter for success, work life balance and well-being in today’s scenario.

What is time?

Can you give me a definition? Let’s try to find a definition….

Time is a Non Renewable Resource. Once it is gone, it is gone. You will never see this moment again.

What is Time Management?

The Definitions of time management usually revolve around the ability to use your time productively and efficiently. Time management means managing the hours of the day. It’s about planning and allocating how much time you will be spending; carrying out certain activities, whether it’s professional or personal.

Benefits of Time Management

Time management skills are important for your professional as well as personal life . It can help you balance conflicting demands on your time. Learning effective time management techniques can help you:

Most effective time management techniques enables you to plan out and perform daily tasks within set deadlines. In this way, activities don’t accumulate and can be completed with greater dedication.

Effective Time Management Techniques

There are countless time management tools and techniques that help you understand your work priorities and develop strategy that you can use to optimize every minute of your day. Fortunately, it’s now possible to have technology as an ally in the time management process. Here are the most effective time management techniques to improve your productivity.

1. Planning / To do List

  • Plan your day/week and manage your time creatively
  • List everything you need or want to get done.
  •  Use 80/20 Rule. Economist Vilfredo Pareto identified the 80/20 Rule. According to this rule – in any list of tasks, 80% of the importance lies in 20% of the list.  Make your planning / to do list.

Time Management

2. A, B, C of priorities

  • Once the list is ready …….Set your priorities & make the groups of activities (Eisenhower method)

– A – Must be done
– B – Should be completed if at all possible
– C – Low priority, completed only after doing A’s & B’s

  • Prioritize tasks within each group

By developing this habit you would not only be far more productive …you would be far happier.

3. Create a Time Audit

Few people feel, it should be the first step towards time management, but I have kept it after planning and prioritization. I personally feel the above two are more important.

Create a time audit for your days for a week at-least. Start writing your time logs and find out where your time goes throughout the day. There is often a big discrepancy between your subjective time and reality.

Once you have done it for a week, make a evaluation on weekend. You will be surprised, how much time you waste in a day and even you do not know it. It will help you to remove non value adding activities from your daily routines.

4. Procrastination …. The Roadblock to Time Management

Procrastination is the action of delaying or postponing something. How do people put things off ? Let us count the ways…

  • If I ignore it, it will go away.
  • I underestimate the time that task will take and then not able to complete it.
  • Mediocrity is just fine with me – I just need enough not to fail.
  •  If at first I don’t succeed, there is always next year.
  • Just watching 5 more minutes of TV won’t hurt.
  • I took my paper work with me…I just never had time to look at them…
  • If I just get this one part of the assignment perfect, the rest of the work will be really easy.
  • I can’t decide which is more important to do first, so I don’t do either.

Reasons to Procrastinate

Here are the reasons of procrastination

Lack of Relevance

– Things that aren’t personally important to you are often harder to want to do.

Working On Someone Else’s Goals

– Goals that others set for you are harder to want to pursue and lead to mediocre performance at best.


– Believing that the only good task is a perfectly done task will make it hard to finish anything.

Evaluation Anxiety

– A cousin to perfectionism. Worrying about how you or your project will be judged creates anxiety and makes it harder to work.

Ambiguity about the task

– If I don’t know exactly what I need to do, I can’t start. I’ll wait, till I know more.

Fear of the Unknown

– Ambiguity’s cousin. If this is new, I don’t have any way of telling how well I can do or if I can do it at all. I’ll wait, till I know more.

Lack of Skills to do the Job

– I can’t do this, so I won’t try.

Add your own reason to this list

There can be many other reasons. You may add on to this list

Now the question arising in your mind must be how to deal with procrastination.

  • Divide and Conquer Procrastination. Do you remember the inspiring story of father and son…. A father gave his son a bundle of sticks and asked him to break it. After the boy struggled, the father took the bundle, untied it and broke one stick at a time.
  • We procrastinate because the “A” tasks seem too lengthy or too difficult

– Divide a lengthy task into smaller, shorter parts that seem easier to complete
– Divide a forty page chapter into 10 page sections
– Reward yourself after completing each section.

  • We procrastinate because we fear FAILURE.

– It is easier to accept that we failed because we didn’t even attempt a project than to fail at doing the project.

  • We procrastinate because we fear SUCCESS.

– If I get promoted this year, everyone will expect the same next year.
– If I do an outstanding job on this project, my boss will just pile on more work.

5. Be Realistic in your Expectations

  • Examine your schedule.
  • Be realistic about what you can accomplish.
  • Don’t try to juggle too many things.
  • Don’t set yourself up for failure.
  • Delegate

6. Learn to say “No”

Having the courage to say no to the little things in life will give you the power to say yes to the big things.

7. One thing at a time

According to one research done at The McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ; multi tasking is a myth. Practically in multi tasking, we switch back and forth between tasks. With each switch we pay a cognitive cost and a time cost: It takes time to get mentally back into the task, thus making us less efficient. When we switch we lose the depth of our engagement and absorption.

8. Organize the work around you

You will waste lot of your time, if the work is not done in organized manner…

Time Management

Obstacles in time management

  • Interruptions – Many times we are in the middle of accomplishing something really important and the telephone rings. These calls can not only take you away from your task, but sometimes they interrupt your train of thought and you can’t return to where you were without retracing your steps
  • More interruptions – We all like to visit with others, but conversations at inappropriate times can cost us time when we have to stop what we are doing and redirect ourselves from our plans
  • Periods of inactivity – As much as we think we are busy, there are times in our day when we are not really doing anything. Recognizing and making use of these times can have a positive effect on our efforts

What can we do?

  • Recognize that obstacles exist
  • Identify them
  • Employ strategies to overcome

9. Use your waiting time

Another personal time management skill is to make good use of your “waiting time.”

Have you ever thought about how much time you spend doing nothing during an average day? Usually this is not a situation where you planned to do nothing…it just happened. Think about all of the things you could accomplish if you could make use of this time. For instance:

  • Travelling time you spend commuting on a train or bus
  • Waiting time you wait at the doctor or dentist office for your appointment
  • On airport – time which you spend on a plane, waiting for your plane, or the time you spend waiting for your baggage
  • Time you spend “on hold” on the telephone
  • Time you spend when you arrive at work or at a meeting earlier than you had anticipated

There are two ways to look at these periods of time. You can either consider them as “wastes of time” or as “gifts of time.” If you choose to think of them as gifts of time, you can use them as opportunities to accomplish routine tasks that are necessary, but don’t require large periods of time.

Most successful people have already found that there are a number of things that they can accomplish while they wait.
The trick to making use of your waiting time is to always make sure you have something with you that you can accomplish in the event that you are kept waiting. For instance:

Reading correspondence

Take your mail with you and read it while you are waiting or traveling. Now all the smart phones have e-mail capability, so you can read your e-mail on a train or plane or at the doctor’s office

Writing letters or memos

While you wait, you can take out a notepad or use a smart phone to write letters or memos. This could also be a good time to update your planner.

Reading or listening to tapes

Carry a book or magazine or a tape with you. You can also download books and articles to your smart phones. There is often no time in your schedule to keep updated on books or articles related to your business or to self-improvement. Instead of being impatient when you are delayed, this could be a perfect time to advance your own knowledge and skills.

10. Important-Urgent Matrix (Time Management Tool)

Also known as Time Management Matrix or Eisenhower Matrix, this is 2×2 matrix, which is another one of the top effective time management technique to help you manage your time more effectively. On one axis, you can classify tasks that are important and not important. On the other axis classification based on Urgent and not urgent goes . This results in 4 quadrants with you :

  1. tasks that are important and urgent
  2. important but not urgent
  3. not important but urgent
  4. and lastly not important and not urgent

The matrix helps to distinguish tasks that are truly urgent and important, which should be attended to. On the other hand, we tend to neglect important but not urgent tasks. We must focus on this quadrant to achieve effectiveness.

11. Pomodoro Technique of Time Management

The Pomodoro technique was developed in the late 1980s by Francesco Cirillo. This Technique is based on the idea that work should be broken down and completed in intervals separated by short breaks. You work for 25 minutes, then take a break of five minutes. After that you again work for 25 minutes. Each of these 25 minutes period is called a “Pomodoro” (named after the Italian word for tomato).  Francesco Cirillo used a tomato-shaped timer, hence the technique name come from here. After the completion of 4 Pomodoros, you take a longer break of 15–25 minutes. Of course, nothing should interrupt an ongoing Pomodoro.

The philosophy behind this time management technique is simple — frequent breaks improves your mental agility, letting you feel more refreshed and more recharged, ready to tackle new tasks. More importantly, Pomodoro technique minimizes any distractions, which these days come in the form of a whatsapp message or a tweet. Pomodoro forces these distractions to wait so that you can concentrate on your task. This also translates to higher productivity in getting work done, and you can have more time to do other things.

In conclusion, time management is a very important skill to be learned and to be mastered in order to have a better lifestyle. I hope all these techniques will help you in managing you time in better way and change your lifestyle to achieve success in life. Do you know any good time management tools and techniques? Please share with us in comment section below; the strategies which have helped you in time management .

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  1. If you would like to improve your experience simply keep visiting this site and be updated with the most up-to-date self improvement write ups posted here.

  2. The ability to manage your time effectively is important. Good time management leads to improved efficiency and productivity, less stress, and more success in life. You have explained all the points in a very neat and easy manner. Thank you for sharing this article.

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