Time Management – how we use and organize our time – is something that many of us struggle with. Effective time management allows us to make the most of the day, complete tasks faster, and prioritize tasks that will have the greatest impact.
Different time management strategies are needed by different people. If you’re a graduate student, you may choose to manage your time differently than a working mother. If you’re a visual person, you’d prefer a color-coded calendar to a written to-do list maybe. Whatever it is, finding the process that works for you is the key to living your most efficient life.
Here we have outlined what are the most popular time management techniques and how to implement them.
Table of Contents
- Time Management Techniques
- Pareto Analysis (The 80-20 Rule)
- Pomodoro Technique
- Getting Things Done (GTD)
- Pickle Jar Theory
- Eat That Frog Technique
- Rapid Planning Method (RPM)
- Time Blocking Technique
- Parkinson’s Law
- The Eisenhower Matrix
- Further reading: Relevant Topics
Time Management Techniques
Pareto Analysis (The 80-20 Rule)
This principle is also known as the 80-20 rule, which states that 80% of tasks can be completed in 20% of the time and the remaining 20% of tasks can be completed 80% of the time. So, 20% of the work is 80% of the output. Therefore, tasks that fall into the former category should be given higher priority, which helps improve productivity.
This principle is a useful tool for analyzing where your time is currently being spent and deciding where to spend it wisely. This analysis also encourages users to look for simpler, easier ways to complete each task that take less time.
How Does Pareto Analysis Work?
- List out some of the problems which you are facing. For example, your grades may be falling.
- Identify the main reason for each problem. You may be spending too much time on social media or other distractions and your grades are going down.
- Assign a score to each question.
- Assign higher numbers to more important issues
- Group problems by cause.
- Summarize all the problems caused by spending too much time on social media. Sum the scores for each group.
- The group with the highest score should be the topic to tackle first.
The Pomodoro Technique is based on the idea that work should be broken down and completed in intervals separated by short breaks. That means working for 25 minutes and then resting for 5 minutes. These 25 minutes periods are called a “Pomodoro” and are named after the Italian word for tomato. (Cirillo got this name because he had used a timer in tomato-shaped). After 4 Pomodori, take a long 15–20-minute break. Of course, nothing prevents a running Pomodoro.
The philosophy behind the Pomodoro technique is quite simple. Frequent breaks improve mental alertness, leaving you feeling refreshed, recharged, and ready to take on new tasks. More importantly, keep distractions to a minimum in the form of Facebook messages and tweets these days. Pomodoro makes those distractions wait so you can focus on your tasks.
How does Pomodoro Technique work?
- Select the task that needs to be performed.
- Set a timer (e.g., 25 minutes).
- Concentrate on the task at hand.
- When the timer rings, put a check on the paper.
- Take a break for 3 to 5 minutes. Go for a walk, grab a cup of coffee, or do something other than work to clear your mind.
- Repeat steps 2-5.
- After you’ve done this four times, you can start taking longer breaks (20-30 minutes).
Getting Things Done (GTD)
The GTD (Getting Things Done) approach, advanced via way of means of David Allen, begins off evolved via way of means of getting the consumer to jot down all of the matters he desires or desires to do, after which spoil them into smaller actionable items. The smaller obligations are completed immediately, and the larger obligations are divided into smaller ones to begin finishing now.
Because the obligations are recorded externally, this approach works first via way of means of focusing interest on the undertaking itself, in preference to recalling them. The corporation of obligations, as an example of grouping collectively comparable obligations, lets in them to be without difficulty managed. It additionally reduces tension that’s an all-too-not-unusual place feeling while swamped with loads of factors annoying our interest.
How does GTD (Getting Things Done) work?
- Capture the action that grabs your attention.
- These actions are tasks related to everything from work to school to personal life.
- Clarify their meaning.
- Determine if the task you are looking at is executable. If the item is not viable, ignore it for now. If the item is actionable, do it, delegate it, or put it aside.
- Organize your actions.
- Prioritize your to-do list based on what needs to be completed and when.
- Review your action list regularly to determine your next priority.
- Check completed tasks to refresh the list.
Pickle Jar Theory
The story of Stones, Pebbles, and Sand is hugely popular on the internet and is presented in a way that begs readers to live a life that matters. It is necessary to put water, stones, and sand into the pitcher, and if you try to put water first, the stones will not enter. Applied to productivity, this is a way of saying that you should focus on your biggest tasks (rocks) first, then your medium tasks (pebbles), and everything else you do that day is just the water in the glass.
How does Pickle Jar Technique work?
The sand: It represents the disruptive elements of our day: phone calls, text messages, emails, and social media.
The Pebbles: This represents a task that needs to be done but can be done another day or by someone else.
The Stone: These are the most important tasks to do today.
Start by thinking about how your tasks for the day fit into the categories above. Then create a to-do list starting with rocks and ending with sand (time permitting). Add an honest time estimate next to each one. Don’t plan more than 6 hours out of an 8-hour working day. This leaves some buffer time for pebbles and sand.
Eat That Frog Technique
Doing the hardest thing you have to do all day first thing in the morning has several benefits. First of all, you don’t dread this big task all day long, spend time on Second, you’re already past the worst part of your day and really doing something. This performance will motivate you and keep you going for the rest of the day.
How does Eat That frog Technique work?
- Clarify your goals. What do you want to achieve the most?
- Write it down.
- Set a deadline.
- Make a list of what you need to do to reach your goal.
- Priority wise organize this list. The most important item is probably the most difficult one which are your “frogs”.
- If you have more than one frog on your plate, eat the meanest frog first.
- Repeat this cycle every day to keep getting closer to your goals.
Rapid Planning Method (RPM)
“RPM” stands for “Rapid Planning Method” or “Result, Purpose, and Massive Action Plan”. Developed by Anthony Robbins, RPM aims to change the way you think by letting you focus on what really matters: the results you want. It also focuses on why you want it. Developing a flexible plan to achieve it is the next step. Robbins distinguishes between actual progress and just checking off things on a to-do list.
Therefore, we want RPM to be more than just a timekeeping system. It promotes personal fulfillment through the experience of your life’s journey.
How does Rapid Planning Method work?
Capture: Write down all the tasks that need to be done this week.
Chunking: Group tasks by their similarities. Personal items? School related? Career oriented? Create your own RPM (Rapid Planning Method) block.
At the top of a new sheet of paper, create three columns: A task, The expected result of completing that task, and The purpose for completing it. Then list the actions you can take to get there.
Create a role to grant permissions: If you are a student, you might call yourself the “Queen of Academics”. Everything that drives you to reach your goals.
Time Blocking Technique
A productive person cannot live under the pressure of time. After every hour of work, when you look at your watch and see that you only have 15 minutes, you quickly lose motivation. If you know what you have to do each day, the best thing you can do to stop fearing and procrastinating on difficult tasks is to block your time. Set aside the first two hours of the day for one type of task, the next two for another, and so on. This is quite similar to task batching.
From the moment you wake up, assign each block of your day to a task. These tasks can be anything from early wake-up to studying for an exam.
How does Time Blocking Technique work?
A sheet of paper he divides into two columns. On the left, write down each hour of the day and create time blocks, such as 30-minute or hour blocks.
Estimate how long it will take to complete each task and fit it into your time block.
Add buffer time between each time block to allow for adjustments throughout the day.
Parkinson’s Law is one of the most effective techniques on this list. Because once mastered, it can be applied to any area of life. The basic premise is that tasks scale up or down based on the time allotted. It’s not realistic to say you can complete a 2-hour task in just 30 minutes, but here’s a possibly relevant example: If you have to write an email that you know will only take about 20 minutes, and you start writing it “before closing time,” you’ll almost certainly end up doing it at the end of the day. If instead, you say you need to get it done “before lunch” or “within the next hour,” you’ll get it done.
Actually, this is not a time management technique but it’s a law that, once understood, can be applied as one of the most beneficial ways of managing time, but it takes effort. This means working more efficiently in less time. Here are some time management tips:
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- Try working without a computer charger. This should finish the project before the computer stops.
- Instead of rushing to finish your essay by midnight, try to finish it by noon.
- Set a deadline. Give yourself a certain amount of time to do something, then cut it in half.
- Limit the time you spend on tasks. It takes only 20 minutes to answer an email in the morning.
The Eisenhower Matrix
This method can be used for short-term or long-term planning as it helps you make quick decisions. Dwight Eisenhower said, “What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important,” and that is the basis of this technique. You can mark whether it is urgent or not. Based on these decisions, you can decide how to handle this particular task. Delegation isn’t an option for everyone, but you can use this tool to put your priorities in perspective before taking action.
How does The Eisenhower Matrix work?
Organize your to-do list into four separate quadrants and sort by important vs. non-important and urgent vs. non-urgent, as shown in the image above. An urgent task is a task that you feel needs to be done immediately. Important tasks are those that contribute to your long-term goals and values. Ideally, only work on tasks in the top two quadrants. Other tasks should be delegated or removed.
Whether you’re a full-time college student, a working person, or a back-to-school parent, better time management is essential to living a balanced life. If you have a habit of procrastinating things until the end, Try Parkinson’s Law or How to Eat Frogs. If you’re having trouble focusing on the task at hand, try the Pomodoro Technique to work more intensively in short intervals.
Further reading: Relevant Topics
Click on the below link to read relevant articles.