Failing to meet deadlines and finish work on time can lead to anxiety and heightened stress levels.
So if you’re wondering how to take control of your time and feel accomplished at the end of every day, you’re in the right place.
This article will cover seven time management techniques to help you feel calm, prepared, and in control of your tasks and projects.
1. Time Blocking
Time blocking is a popular time management technique where you set aside a specific amount of time for a particular task. For example, instead of replying to emails each time you receive one, dedicate a one-time slot of 30-60 minutes per day for this. An email account management tool will help you deal fast with high volumes of email messages.
Time-blocking promotes deep work and encourages you to focus on a single task at a time. This method can also help overcome perfectionism and procrastination since there’s a time limit attached to your daily responsibilities.
At the end of the day, you can reflect and track the tasks you did and did not complete on time. You can then assess and adjust the time limit to set a more realistic schedule in the future.
The most common app used for time blocking is Google Calendar due to its simplicity and integrations with other platforms. If you prefer a physical planning tool, consider a bullet journal to effectively manage your time.
👉 Read also about Best Time Blocking Apps.
2. The Eisenhower Matrix
The Eisenhower Matrix is one of the most popular frameworks for prioritizing tasks. It uses a visual board to help identify which tasks to tackle first, schedule for later, delegate, and even eliminate.
The matrix helps do this by arranging tasks into four quadrants as shown in the picture below.
Important tasks are actions that contribute to your long term goals. For example, if you’re planning to build an online store, finding the best WordPress hosting for your website falls under the important quadrant.
Image credit: www.hostinger.co.uk
Urgent tasks, on the other hand, are time-sensitive and require your immediate attention. This includes activities like answering emails and phone calls.
To get started with this method, download an Eisenhower Matrix spreadsheet and use it for a couple of weeks to see whether it positively affects your productivity level.
3. Getting Things Done (GTD)
GTD is a framework to help clear the clutter in your mind and organize tasks that need to be done.
This time management technique is best for those who constantly feel overwhelmed with chores or worry about forgetting small details.
The framework follows a five-step method to help break down bigger assignments into manageable tasks. They are:
- Capture. Write down all the activities you need or would like to take on. This can be work-related tasks, a chore you’d like to tackle, or simply a movie to watch.
- Clarify. Decide whether to do, delegate, or set aside each item on your list.
- Organize. Further clarify your list by adding deadlines to create concrete action plans.
- Review. Update your list of actions frequently. Cross off completed items and determine your next priority.
- Engage. Take action to start tackling priority tasks.
4. The Pomodoro Timer
The Pomodoro technique beats distractions and maintains focus by splitting work into short bursts.
It is a great productivity method if you’re easily distracted, overwhelmed by a big project, or working on an open-ended task that can take unlimited amounts of time – like studying for an exam or researching for an article.
Although there are several time intervals for this technique, the most popular is the 25:5 framework, where you focus for 25 minutes and then take a break for five minutes.
Repeat the session for four rounds, and then take a longer break for 15 to 20 minutes before starting again. This helps to sustain concentration and reserve energy levels.
If you find 25 minutes to be too short of a focus time, simply adjust the time structure that works for you. Some options that others have found helpful are the 60:10 or 90:20 framework.
Get started by setting a timer on your phone or tablet, or using a dedicated Pomodoro app like Pomodone. Alternatively, there are plenty of “work with me” Pomodoro videos on YouTube if you prefer the feeling of a coworking environment.
5. Biological Prime Time
This productivity method requires tracking your biological rhythm to find the most optimal time for your activities.
The technique suggests tracking three main points to understand when, where, and how you are most productive. They are:
Before starting, avoid changes that can influence your energy levels – like caffeine intake, sleep schedule, and eating habits.
From there, record what you are accomplishing every working hour for a few weeks. The key to getting the most accurate results is staying consistent with your tracking.
Once you’ve collected enough information, analyze them to find patterns. You can also turn the data into a visual graph to better understand your prime time. Here is an example of what it may look like:
Depending on how much you’re invested in the process, you can also track other factors. For example, do you have more motivation when you snack on energy bars throughout your work hours? Are you less focused when you skip breakfast? And so on.
6. Kanban Board
The Kanban Board is a visual productivity workflow that is simple to manage. It uses a board and cards to provide an overview of your progress from start to finish.
The board acts as a physical or digital space that visually represents your work status. This usually consists of three categories: to do, doing, and done. The cards, on the other hand, are individual action plans that move along the board.
As such, Kanban is a great system if you handle several projects simultaneously. This method also encourages you to move the cards from one column to the next by promoting a sense of accomplishment.
Popular task management tools for Kanban Boarding include Trello and Asana.
7. Rapid Planning Method
RPM is a time management technique for goal-setting and life-planning. It helps you focus on doing tasks and actions that align with your long-term goals.
The abbreviation also stands for results-oriented, purpose-driven, and massive action plan. The technique prompts you to determine the desired result before deciding on the next steps.
As such, RPM encourages you to answer the following questions to create a clear direction:
- What do I want?
What’s the specific and measurable result you want to achieve? Consider saying “I want to write 1,000 words” instead of “I want to write an essay.”
- What’s my purpose?
What are your reasons and motivations to achieve your goal? Make it personal and think about what triggers you to make the change.
- What do I need to do?
Figure out an action plan.
Once you’ve found clarity, it’s easy to keep going and stay motivated to reach the desired results. RPM also helps limit distractions and time-wasting activities that do not align with your ultimate goal.
Consider reading the RPM Workbook to understand more about this method.
Finding the right time management technique is a crucial step toward establishing a more efficient and productive day. Here is a recap of the strategies mentioned in this article:
- Time blocking – best for planning out your entire day.
- The Eisenhower Matrix – best for task prioritization.
- Getting Things Done – best for reaching clarity before starting the day.
- The Pomodoro Timer – best for beating distractions and maintaining focus.
- Biological Prime Time – best for finding optimal hours to do activities.
- Kanban Board – best for project management and progress tracking.
- Rapid Planning Method – best for goal-setting and life-planning.
By learning the time management strategies above, staying consistent, and having a deep understanding of your goal, you can start taking control of your time and creating the life you want. Good luck!