April 8, 2024 - Blog Post

Time Management Techniques

Have you ever experienced long delays or no response to emails you send?  Do you find people make commitments to actions that get forgotten?  These events are often a result of people being very busy.  How about you?  Do you find yourself not having enough time to do everything you need to do, or are you procrastinating or constantly distracted from doing more important things?  Today’s very “connected” world plus the accelerated pace of change have created a busyness unlike anything we have experienced before.  The number of hours in a day has not changed, yet don’t you find that the number of tasks people are expected to complete are continually increasing?  If this is true, we need to be ever more mindful of how we manage our time.  Effective time management is crucial for productivity and achieving goals.  How do you manage your time?  If you like most people are struggling to focus your attention and allocate your time appropriately, here are some proven effective techniques:

  1. Prioritize with Eisenhower Matrix: Divide tasks into four categories: Urgent and important, important but not urgent, urgent but not important, neither urgent nor important. Focus on tasks in the first category, schedule and do the tasks in the second category and try to eliminate or reduce the third category and get away from the last category. For more explanation check out this website.
  2. Pareto Principle or the 80/20 rule: From Wikipedia, ‘Mathematically, the 80/20 rule is roughly described by a power law distribution (also known as a Pareto distribution) for a particular set of parameters. Many natural phenomena are distributed according to power law statistics.[4] It is an adage of business management that "80% of sales come from 20% of clients."   Not all tasks are created equal. When using the 80/20 rule in terms of time management, think about all the tasks you must do and identify which ones will give you the most value if completed and develop a priority list based on that assessment.
  3. Pomodoro Technique: Work for 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break.  Repeat this cycle.  After four cycles, take a longer break.  This helps maintain focus and prevents burnout.
  4. Time Blocking: Allocate specific time slots for different tasks or activities. This ensures you dedicate focused time to each task and avoid multitasking.  Know your energy levels or biorhythms so that you do the most challenging tasks when you normally have the most energy.
  5. Eat That Frog: Start your day by tackling the most challenging or important task first.  Completing it gives a sense of accomplishment and sets a positive tone for the rest of the day.
  6. Set SMART Goals: Make goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.  This helps clarify what needs to be done and provides motivation.
  7. Use a Planner or To-Do List: Write down tasks and deadlines to keep track of what needs to be done.  Cross off tasks as you complete them to visualize progress.  There are many IT solutions in Google or Microsoft or other aids that you can use in lieu of a written list.
  8. Limit Distractions: Identify and eliminate or minimize distractions such as social media, emails, or unnecessary meetings during focused work periods.  Be wary of what notifications you have set up. Don’t be afraid to turn off your phone and put it out of sight when working on important tasks.
  9. Batch Similar Tasks: Group similar tasks together and tackle them in one go. For example, handle all emails at specific times rather than checking them constantly throughout the day. When going through emails or files use the 4 Ds of time management: Do it now, Delay it for a later response, Delegate it to someone else or Dump or delete it.  For more see this article.
  10. Delegate: Don't hesitate to delegate tasks that others can or should do. This frees up time for you to focus on more important responsibilities.
  11. Regular Reviews: Set a specific time in the week to review your progress regularly. Reflect on what's working and what isn’t and adjust your strategies accordingly.
  12. Learn to Say No: Be selective about taking on new tasks or commitments. Saying no to non-essential requests helps protect your time and energy.
  13. Mindfulness and Meditation: Practice mindfulness techniques or meditation to improve focus and reduce stress, enhancing overall productivity. For some examples see here.
  14. Use Technology Wisely: Utilize productivity apps or tools like calendar apps, project management software, or time-tracking apps to streamline tasks and manage time effectively.
  15. Maintain Work-Life Balance: Allocate time for personal activities, hobbies, and relaxation to avoid burnout and maintain overall well-being.
  16. Continuous Improvement: Regularly evaluate and refine your time management strategies to adapt to changing priorities and circumstances. Keep experimenting to find what works best for you.

It will take some time to first find out what works best for you and then to develop an effective habit.  The effort will be worth it.  Good luck.


Michael Kennedy
CCI Nova Scotia

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