18 Effective Time Management Strategies and Techniques

18 Effective Time Management Strategies and Techniques
0:00
/
1:00
1x

You may feel like there’s never enough time in the day to get all of your work done. That’s why it’s crucial to find effective time management strategies and techniques to get the most out of each day.

This article covers 18 simple strategies that you can use for time management and six advanced time management techniques. Implementing some of the suggested time management strategies may help you have more control over your time and productivity.

Why is time management important?

Are you looking to get more work done in your day? Do you want to have a better work-life balance? What would you do with your extra free time if you could get more work done in less time?

Regardless of your motivation for improving your time management, you’re bound to see various benefits:

  • Increased productivity
  • Reduced stress
  • Better control of your workflow
  • Ability to consistently meet deadlines

18 time management strategies for work

Below is a list of time management strategies that you can use to improve your work productivity and time management.

1. Start your day with a plan

It all starts with a plan. To effectively use your time, you should create a plan for everything that you want to accomplish that day. The easiest way to start planning your workday is by making a to-do list of all the things you want and need to do. A to-do list isn’t a groundbreaking technique, but it can make an incredible difference in how well you use your time throughout the day.  

Each time you complete a task on your to-do list, make sure to physically cross it off so you have a sense of accomplishment and can go back and review all of the things you finished that day.

2. Prioritize the most important tasks

Once you have created a to-do list, it is time to organize it in order of priority. Prioritization allows you to use your time productively and focus on the day’s most important tasks. When prioritizing tasks on your to-do list, there are many different approaches.

  1. Pick out your most important three items to accomplish and get started.
  2. Sort your tasks into three tiers of importance: high, medium, or low.
  3. Rank every item on your list on a scale of 1-10, and then order them accordingly.

Later in this article, we’ll discuss the Eisenhower Matrix, an advanced technique for determining a task’s priority and urgency.

3. Divide larger projects into smaller tasks

One of the most common reasons people don’t manage their time well on large projects is that they feel overwhelmed. When you feel overwhelmed, you may want to procrastinate and work on other things instead. To overcome this feeling, break large projects into smaller, more manageable tasks. By looking at smaller pieces of the puzzle rather than the whole picture, it’s easier to get started. As you chip away at the project in bite-sized chunks, you’ll make progress and improve your overall time management.

4. Limit distractions

Everyone gets distracted. Whether it’s email, social media, co-workers, kids, or random thoughts, countless things can derail your progress. While you can’t control all of them, it is vital to make a dedicated effort to limit the number of things that can distract you.

Time management self-reflection: Identify the things that distract you and come up with a solution to minimize that distraction. Do you need to put your phone in the other room? Should you turn off notifications for texts or emails? Do you need to block social media from your work computer?

5. Leave the emails for later

Email can be an unexpected time sink. Every time you stop what you’re doing to check your email, you’re derailing your productivity. It takes time and mental energy to switch between different tasks. Schedule a specific time to check your email or wait until you finish your current job before checking your email.

Note: if you’re going to set a specific time to check your email, make sure that you communicate this to your co-workers and set clear expectations.

6. Batch your time

You can also utilize the efficiency of not switching tasks by batching your time. If you have a set of similar projects, try to do them at the same time. By grouping these tasks, you can knock them out quickly without devoting the brainpower and energy to adjusting to a new job. This time management technique can be used regardless of the specific job or industry.

7. Reduce multitasking tasks

While it may feel like you are tackling more things on your to-do list by multi-tasking, many studies show that multitasking makes you less productive. In a similar vein, the mental energy required to switch between tasks creates a lag that could be avoided by focusing on one project at a time. If you want to use your time more effectively, wait and complete the task you’re working on before moving on to the next item on your list.

8. Block time off on your calendar

Keeping all of your events, meetings, deadlines, and tasks on your calendar can save you time. Having a single place to check these things saves time. Online calendar apps such as Google Calendar and Calendly are an even more efficient way to schedule time. The ability to check your calendar across different devices and set reminders add to this time management strategy’s effectiveness.

9. Know when to say NO to meetings

Meetings aren’t always the most effective use of time. If the number of meetings you have continues to climb, it may be wise to say no. Instead, it might be helpful to express your busy schedule and ask if the meeting could be replaced with an email. In your discussion, explain the other tasks you have on your schedule and how taking time for the meeting will impact your workload and deadlines.

10. Summarize and review your day

At the end of the day, it’s time to reflect on what you accomplished and set yourself up for success the following day. This is the perfect time to review your to-do list from that day to see all of the items you checked off and what is still left to be tackled tomorrow. The end-of-day review is also a chance for honest self-reflection about how well you managed your time that day. Through self-reflection, you can identify what’s working and where you can continue to improve.

11. Look ahead—weeks and months

When you have many things on your to-do list, it can become challenging to see the bigger picture. That’s why it’s a critical time management strategy to make a conscious effort to step back and look at what’s coming ahead in the next few weeks or months. Looking at the future pipeline can help you prepare for upcoming projects and ensure that you’re not overloading your plate with future projects.

12. Take time to recharge

At some point, it is time to put down the work and call it a full day. You are only human, and humans need sleep and rest. When you’re exhausted, you won’t be able to perform as well as you would if you were fully rested. So, make sure you take time to decompress and get the rest your body needs. By giving yourself the chance to reset your energy clock, you can get more done on the work clock. This is especially important for remote workers that are trying to remain productive while working from home.

Advanced time management techniques

Above are 12 time management strategies that you can start to implement today. These tips can help you get more time out of your day and to be more productive at work. But, there’s another layer to effective time management that utilizes technology and more structured work time. Below are six advanced time management techniques:

13. Delegate and outsource

You don’t have to do everything yourself. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is delegate specific tasks to other people who can do them faster or better. If you don’t have anyone that can help share your burden, it might be time to outsource or hire a freelance contractor. You can find highly-skilled freelancers on Upwork, the world’s work marketplace, to help you get more work done without costing your valuable time.

14. Eisenhower’s Urgent-Important Matrix

We brought up the Eisenhower Matrix in time management strategy #2; now it’s time to dig deeper. This approach, also referred to as the urgent-important matrix, allows you to prioritize and sort the tasks on your to-do list.

The Einsenhower Decision Matrix

(Source: https://luxafor.com/the-eisenhower-matrix/)

Here’s how to create the Eisenhower Matrix:

  • Draw a grid with four quadrants to create four boxes.
  • Across the top, write Urgent above quadrant box one and Not Urgent above quadrant box two.
  • Going down the left side of the grid, write Important to the left of the quadrant one box and Not Important next to the quadrant three box.
  • Now for each task, you ask two questions, “Is this important?” and “Is this urgent?”
  • Then, place each task into the box that matches your yes or no for each question.

Now that you know what’s important and urgent, do these tasks first. For the things in quadrant two that are important but not urgent, schedule them to do later. The urgent but not important tasks in quadrant three can be delegated. The remaining tasks in quadrant four can be removed from your list until they become urgent or important.

15. Follow the 80/20 rule

Are the things that you’re doing in a given moment productive? The 80/20 rule, also called the Pareto Principle, says that 80% of the results come from 20% of the work. This principle is found throughout many different areas of life and certainly applies to time management. That means that you can work smarter and get more done by identifying the 20% of the things leading to the majority of your results. Then amplify those tasks that are providing the greatest value for your time.

16. Rapid Planning Method (RPM)

Motivational speaker Tony Robbins designed the Rapid Planning Method (RPM) to inspire massive action. This time management technique allows you to hone in on the things that make a difference in your life. To utilize this method, you need to ask yourself three questions:

  1. What do I really want?
  2. What’s my purpose?
  3. What do I need to do?

By asking these three questions, you’ll create a clear plan of action for the tasks you need to do to use your time effectively and help you accomplish your goals.

17. Structured time management techniques: Pomodoro and 52/17

There are many different time management techniques designed to maximize your work time by injecting specific breaks within a pre-planned work structure. For example, the Pomodoro time management technique splits work time into 25-minute blocks of time with a 5-minute rest between each work block. This time management strategy can be an easier way to force yourself to work on a task through pre-planned breaks. The 52/17 technique follows a similar structure, except the work period is 52 minutes, and the break time is 17 minutes. This time management option provides a longer sustained work time so that you can get into a practical working state with fewer interruptions.

18. Flowtime

Not everyone is the same when it comes to the amount of time to focus on a single task. As a result, the Flowtime technique gives you the power to design your own structured schedule. Rather than going with a set 25-minute or 52-minute work time, you can use your habits and productivity cycles to determine the optimal amount of time before a break. It’s still important to outline the blocks of time in advance of starting the clock and track your time allocation. Otherwise, the amount of time it takes to complete the task will expand to the amount of time given for the job.  

Additional ways to keep time management strategies organized

To take your time management skills to the next level, you can combine the time management strategies listed above with new technology platforms. Below are four different types of time management tools that may be helpful for you to try, especially for remote workers:

Time trackers

There are hundreds of time trackers that allow you to log your time easily. By automatically tracking your time spent on specific tasks, you can get a more accurate picture of your time allocation and productivity.

Productivity apps

Productivity tools and apps are used to limit distractions and force you to stop wasting time. While there are different functionalities, most productivity apps allow you to block specific unproductive activities or provide feedback on the productivity of a task based on the amount of time spent vs. the intended allocation of time.

Project management tools

Project management tools are the next step up from online calendars. They allow you to manage entire projects all in one place. This single source of deadlines, project details, project descriptions, and file-sharing capabilities will enable workers to boost productivity while increasing time on task.

Collaboration platforms

Programs like Slack and Zoom make it easier for remote teams to work together on projects, even when they aren’t in the same room. Some collaboration programs allow video conferencing to make communication more comfortable, while others offer detailed comment features for providing feedback directly on documents.

Conclusion

In this article, we’ve covered many different time management strategies and techniques. We touched on 12 easy-to-implement and straightforward ideas, like using a to-do list and minimizing distractions. We also highlighted six additional advanced methods like the Pomodoro and 52/17 methods. Now it’s your turn to take these time management strategies and implement them into your workflow.

If you’re still looking for more ways to save time during your day, you should consider hiring a virtual assistant to handle routine administrative tasks. Virtual assistants are an excellent way to complete data entry, customer service, web research, writing tasks, appointment scheduling, and more. Hire a virtual assistant on Upwork to find someone to help you get more work done today!  

Heading

asdassdsad
Projects related to this article:
No items found.

Author Spotlight

18 Effective Time Management Strategies and Techniques
Sean Cope
SEO Writer

Formerly a full-time in-house marketing director, Sean Cope began building an SEO and content creation company by freelancing on Upwork. He has enjoyed working with clients in various industries, leading them to achieve their business goals and higher Google search rankings. Sean is passionate about helping new clients in growing their businesses through search engine optimization, content writing, and digital marketing.

Get This Article as a PDF

For easy printing, reading, and sharing.

Download PDF

Latest articles

X Icon
Hide