time management skills

9 time-tested time management techniques

If you can manage your time well, you have already won half the battle. These time-tested time management techniques will help you succeed more effectively. And leave you with time to do more things!

How effectively you can utilize your time? With distractions galore, how do you optimize your time to make the most of it?  Many of us struggle with time management. In fact, a differentiating factor for an efficient and productive way of life is managing your time well. Not only does it lead to timely accomplishments of tasks, but an effective time management also helps in curbing unnecessary stress and anxiety.

When you get up, there might be a mental list of tasks, which you might even be excited to accomplish. However by the end of the day, you might still find yourself chasing unfinished tasks –certainly not a pleasant feeling. Without effective time management, you are bound to go helter-skelter in spite of having the requisite aptitude and skills.

Effective time management is a must for everyone, whether you are a student, a homemaker, a professional or an entrepreneur. The technique you adopt might differ depending on your profile but when you are able to manage your time well, you attain better work-life balance and a boosted productivity.

Soulveda lists some time-tested time management techniques that you can choose from to make your life smoother.

Pareto Analysis (the 80/20 rule)

Popularly known as the 80/20 rule, the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto created this technique. He observed an interesting fact that 80% land was owned by 20% of the people. After conducting a thorough research, he concluded that 20% of our actions are responsible for 80% of the outcomes we get. The aim of the Pareto analysis is to help prioritize tasks that are most effective. If your role demands analytical thinking and problem solving, then this time-tested time management technique works very well. According to this technique, you should first list the problems you are facing, identify the root cause of every problem, assign a score to each problem, group together problems by their cause and add up the score of each group. The group which has the highest score are the problems you should tackle first.

Pomodoro Technique

Created by author Francesco Cirillo, this technique uses a timer to break down your task into intervals. Pomodoro is an Italian word for tomato and it was a tomato shaped timer that Cirillo had invented.

The timer is used to set time for completing a task. This technique encourages short breaks after completion of each task in its stipulated time. It is helpful in not only time management but in also letting you set goals and achieving them. With the help of this time management technique, you will be able to complete your daily goals as well as weekly or monthly schedules with considerable ease.

When following this technique, you have to choose a task and set the timer. When the times goes off, you have to put a checkmark on a piece of paper. Take a short break now for your coffee, some pacing or a quick hello to a friend or co-worker. Repeat this process 4-5 times and then take longer breaks. Pomodoro technique is especially helpful for creative people or those who feel burnt out from work. As we grapple with more distractions than ever, this technique helps us resist any temptation to see that buzzing phone or check a quick email.

Eisenhower Matrix

If you are in a leadership position and the role demands critical thinking, Eisenhower matrix or the urgent-important matrix will work wonderfully for you. Dwight Eisenhower was in the army before he became the president of the USA. While in the army, he had to take difficult decisions every day.

He deduced that the tasks needed to be organized into 4 quadrants – important vs unimportant and urgent vs not urgent. Urgent tasks are those that need to be done immediately. Important ones are those that contribute to-long term goals or values. Ideally, according to this time-management technique, we should work on tasks that are urgent and important first.

According to this matrix, 4 Ds are to be followed – do, decide, delegate and delete. If a task is urgent and important, it is to be done first. If the task is not so urgent but still important, a time has to be scheduled to do it. If the task is urgent but not so important, then one must delegate it, as in find the most appropriate person to do it.

If the task is neither urgent nor important, one must simply delete it.

  1. Parkinson’s Law

“Work expands to fill the period of time available for its completion,” observed the famous British historian and author Cyril Northcote Parkinson, the famous British historian, author, . and wrote as an opening line in his article in The Economist. What it implies is that In simple words, the amount of time you give yourself to complete a specific task, is the actual time it will take to complete that task as the work expands itself to fill that time.

This is not a time management technique, rather a law which can be applied as one of the mosta beneficial time management techniques too. This technique helps those who are procrastinators and who work well under pressure. Basically, it tells you to set a time period for the task at hand. So if you think you can complete an assignment in 2 hours, then ensure you complete it by then. Simple but brilliant.

  1. Time- blocking method

This is also known as the cousin of the Pomodoro method. Each chunk of the day is ‘blocked’ or in other words, the tasks are allotted definite time periods. This gives immense clarity on what is to be done and improves efficiency of the doer as well.to the tasks at hand as well as the time allotted each task. This technique works very well for students and analytical thinkers.

For making the best use of your day, you can plan each chunk and assign the tasks accordingly. Keep some buffer time to adjust any time that mightthe overflowing time. This time management technique is just perfect to plan your day and tasks in the most efficient manner.

  1. Getting Things Done (GTD) method

If you are the typeone who that struggles to focus on one thing at a time or feels overwhelmed oftenindaily life, then the Getting Things Done or GTD method may just be the right time-management technique for you. Created by author David Allen, this technique helps you get things done by recording tasks on paper and then breaking them down into actionable work items.

This technique or process consists of four4 steps – clarify, organize, reflect, and engage. Firstly, you need to decide, whether the tasks are actionable or not. If a task is not actionable, ignore it. If it is actionable, just do it or delegate it. Prioritize your to- do- list according to what you need to get done first. You can go through your task list repeatedly to prioritize your next task. MTake tasks smaller tasks nowso that you can complete them easily and faster.

  1. Rapid planning method

RPM or ‘result, purpose, and massive action’ method, was developed by motivational speaker Tony Robbins, a well known motivational speaker. This technique is based on the premise of training your brain to focus on a vision to make it real. This works well for students or those who have long-term goals.

According to this time-management technique, at first, write down all the tasks you need to accomplish. Now, you need to categorise the tasks – say, work- related, school- related, or household chores. Make a list of 3 columns – the task, the result upon achieving the task and the purpose of completing the task.

Further, tTo keep yourself motivated and in order to achieve your goals, empower yourself by giving your list self an appropriate title.

  1. Pickle Jar Theory

Let us iImagine a pickle jar but full of rocks, pebbles, and sand. The sand here serves as the distractions like texts, calls, emails and, social media, etc. The pebbles are the tasks that can be done later or by someone else whereas rocks are the most important tasks needed to be addressed urgently.

This time management technique works best for those who like to visualisze or are  concrete thinkers.

Begin by  Now makinge a list of tasks for the day and, sorting them as rocks, pebbles, and sand. If yYou do this regularly, you will find yourself sorted with a high degree of efficiencyt time-management.

  1. Leap Frog Method

Mark Twain, the father of American literature, said, “Eat a live frog the first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” This time management technique is based on the premise that you shouldcan complete the most challenging task first and dotake the rest later.

The ‘Leap Frog’ Method works best for those who remain undecided aboutfor which task to pick first or those who work very hard but are still not able to complete the important ones. Here, dDeciding the priority of the tasks is important to maintain productivity. Sometimes, we keep pushing the most challenging tasks ones and this impacts our efficiency as well as puts pressure on ourthe  subconscious minds. This technique takes care of all that overthinking by simply going for the hardest task first.

These time-tested time-management techniques have worked well for thousands of people over decades and if we can choose the one that’s right for us, it will doubly benefit us – not only will we get the job done but also have ample time to pursue other things we like.




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