time management skills

Master Time Management Skills with these 5 Proven Strategies.

How to increase productivity at work has been the subject of countless academic investigations, books, and articles, but the discussion always seems to come back to the same thing: time management.

This is probably not a coincidence. Experts agree that if you want to greatly increase your productivity, you must master the elusive art of time management.

man hand red alarm clock stands desk office showing seven oclock am pm Master Time Management Skills with these 5 Proven Strategies.

Finding a starting point, however, might be difficult if you are new to the study of time management. There is a plethora of recommendations and tips available online.

It’s difficult to simplify time. Therefore, it is essential to comprehend how to incorporate your career and normal tasks inside this framework. If you’re having difficulties staying on top of your workload or you just want to improve your time management abilities, have a look at my list of the most effective and proven time management strategies.

Pareto Analysis

Pareto Analysis is a tool that can help you to identify where your time is being spent. It will help you to prioritize tasks and allocate your time more efficiently. This tool helps you in identifying the 20% of tasks that contribute most to your success and focus on those.

The Pareto principle is an economic theory that states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. The Pareto principle was first popularized by Vilfredo Pareto in 1906. He identified this phenomenon as part of a theory that there are certain natural laws under which economies and societies progress. One useful way to apply the 80/20 rule is mastering time management skills.

If you spend 80 percent of your time dealing with only 2/10 -time wasters (email, meetings, coworker interruptions, phone calls, social networking, instant messaging and other notifications, TV, gossiping, etc.), it makes sense to eliminate or minimize those two.

So Ask Yourself these questions.

How do you identify the top 20% of your work that will lead to your growth?

Which 20% of your work directly contributes to your personal or organizational goals?

What are the 20% of your actions (or less) that are responsible for the loss of 80% of your potential outcomes?

How much of your day is spent on just one or two things that you might easily eliminate?

Try the same mental approach in your own life to strike a better work-life balance. You should evaluate how you spend your free time to determine what you should prioritize and what you should avoid doing because it is a time sink.

Try to figure out which easy things you do to waste time and get nowhere, and which things should be your top priority when you have free time.

The 4D Approach

The 4 Ds of time management, often called the 4 Ds of productivity, is a well-known method for determining whether or not a given endeavor is worth your time and effort. Choosing what to do right now (either by doing it yourself or assigning it to someone else), what to do later, and what to completely ignore is a crucial part of time management skills.

Delete it: What would happen if you didn’t perform the job at all? Use the 80/20 rule to determine whether something really has to be done.

Delegate it: If the job is crucial, you may want to reconsider whether or not it falls inside your purview. Is there a chance of delegating this responsibility?

Do it Now: Putting off doing something that has to be done on priority will only cause more worry and anxiety in the long run. Get it done first thing in the morning.

Defer it: If the job isn’t urgent and doesn’t need to be done right now, you may put it off by saying “defer.”

Eat that Frog

To quote Brian Tracey from his book, “Eat That Frog,”

“If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.”

The “eat the frog” technique, often called a “productivity hack,” is a time-management strategy with two basic goals:

  • Maintaining forward momentum towards your most vital objectives can eventually make those goals far more manageable.
  • Get back on track by clearing your schedule of the most time-consuming, taxing tasks first.

So How does it work?

It’s not hard in the least; all you have to do is identify the tasks that you give the majority of your attention to. In a sense, they are your frogs. Even though they seem large and nasty, after you’ve eaten them, the rest of the day will be lot easier to deal with.

The “eat the frog” strategy is advocated by numerous “productivity gurus,” who have observed that individuals are more energized and motivated first thing in the morning.

Time Blocking Technique.

If you want to get more done in less time, try time blocking, which is allocating chunks of time to different activities throughout the day. It’s quite similar to making a list of things to accomplish, except in this case you’ll have a certain time frame in mind. So, it’s a more targeted kind of to-do list, and it works wonderfully to aid in productivity.

Time blocking is effective because, unlike an open-ended to-do list, it allows you to zero in on a single activity at a time. Consequently, you won’t need to spend any more time mulling about what to do first.

It Involves Just 3 Simple Steps.


Prioritize your chores for time blocking to work. This approach improves time management. You can’t spend time deciding which to do first. Focusing on priorities now helps you work more effectively.

Print Your Schedule

To enhance your productivity, print your schedule and pin it to your workstation.

The advantages are twofold.

  • First, this blueprint will remind you of your responsibilities and push you to do them.
  • You may manually delete finished tasks. You’ll feel accomplished and motivated to finish all your responsibilities.

Time Minor Tasks, Too

You may not block time for little chores. It’s a common error. Not blocking time for less essential things means utilising time for greater tasks to finish them.

This will need sacrificing your routine to do minor chores. This might reduce your productivity and stop you from working. Always allot time for each tasks, no matter how large or little.

The Glass Jar: Rocks, Pebbles, Sand Method.

Put your work into one of these categories:

Rocks: are the most critical strategic initiatives you are working on.

Pebbles: are defined as projects and duties that are significant but not of the utmost importance.

Sand: Activities that are less important and less significant

Get the rocks out of the way first. If you keep focusing on the little details (the sand and pebbles), rather of the significant strategic details (the rocks), your jar will rapidly get full, leaving no place for any further rocks to be added.

Why does it work?

The number of rocks that can fit in the jar is equivalent to the number of hours in a day; both are limited resources. When filling the jar, the rocks (high priority) go in first, followed by the less important items and the mundane. Depending on how your pickle jar is stocked, your day may seem different.

If you follow the “Pickle Jar Theory,” you’ll learn to take charge of your day by learning to create and maintain promises to yourself. There will always be individuals (often the same ones) who need to replace the rocks in your jar as soon as possible, notwithstanding how busy you are. “Dropping everything” to deal with unanticipated duties throughout the day may have a devastating effect on your productivity.

The Pomodoro Technique

Francesco Cirillo, an entrepreneur, and author developed the Pomodoro Technique. It involves use of a timer to manage your productivity. The timer is used in this method to divide the task into smaller chunks. The 25-minute segments are called Pomodoros, after the tomato-shaped timer invented by Francesco Cirillo.

How it Works

  • Select an activity that must be completed.
  • Make use of the timer (e.g., for 25 mins).
  • Pay attention to what you’re doing.
  • Mark a sheet of paper with a check when the bell rings.
  • Now pause for a moment: Get away from the computer or your workstation for three to five minutes. Give your mind a rest by doing something unrelated to your task, such as going for a stroll or grabbing a cup of coffee.
  • Iterate above steps 4 times: As soon as you have repeated this procedure four times, you may start taking lengthier pauses (20–30 mins).

The Pomodoro approach teaches more than simply time management; it also helps you learn to develop and accomplish objectives.

You’ll have an easier time maintaining your day-to-day and week-to-week plans.

Pomodoro Technique in detail.

Writing SMART Goals

Goal-setting and having a clear sense of direction are essential to effective time management. The SMART goal-setting method is widely used.

This concept is straightforward. The following guidelines should be used for any SMART goals:

SMART – defined in terms of the result or accomplishment sought.

MEASURABLE – a method of evaluation is required

ACHIEVABLE – In other words, the target can be reached with the resources at hand.

RELEVANT – Having a purpose, or knowing why you want to accomplish a certain goal, is what makes it “relevant.”

TIME BOUND – Specific in terms of a definite end date or time frame within which success must be declared

Rarely do individuals take the time to plan for specific outcomes. Just 10% of the population really sets objectives in writing. That means setting worthwhile objectives the proper way requires time, thought, and work.

Therefore, if you want to put your objectives in writing, you should avoid making resolutions that are too broad, as they will fail to provide you with the guidance and drive you to need to achieve them. It would be a waste of time and effort. In order to achieve your objectives, you need to put them down on paper.

Example: SMART goal for running a marathon

Specific: I’d want to begin daily training in preparation for a marathon.

Measurable: As my training mileage grows, I will monitor my progress with my Apple Watch.

Achievable: I ran a half marathon earlier this year, so I already have a good fitness foundation.

Relevant: This objective will aid me in maintaining my commitment to health and fitness.

Time-bound: The marathon is a year away, therefore I need to be ready by then.

GTD (Getting Things Done) Method:

This method, developed by author David Allen, entails writing down your to-dos and then breaking them down into smaller, more manageable activities.

The framework is comprised of the following five steps:

CAPTURE: Initially, you write down anything that’s important to remember, whether it’s a thought, a to-do list item, or anything else (things to read, watch, notes, bills, etc.). It’s a great way to dump your thoughts and feelings into one location.

CLARIFY: The next step in the process, after collecting everything, is to go through it all and determine what to do with each individual item. In cases when no further action is required, you will need to select whether to delete, archive, or postpone the item. Depending on the item’s severity, you may choose to carry it out yourself, assign it to someone else, or put it off until later.

ORGANIZE: The next phase, after processing, is to put things and activities in some kind of order. You should take at least four steps while arranging. Organize your work by assigning it to one of four categories (projects, next action, waiting for, calendar), labeling it, and giving it some background. An electronic or physical archive should be used to keep inert materials.

REFLECT: Reflecting is done so that everything may be brought up to date. You should revise your listings, get rid of old information, etc. At the very least, you should check your progress once every week.

ENGAGE: After you’ve recorded your thoughts, sorted them into relevant categories, and reviewed your tasks, it’s time to get down to business and get to work. Make sure you have the necessary resources (time, attention, and focus) and that the tasks have the greatest priority before beginning.

“The art of stress-free productivity” is the slogan for this method. If the system works as intended, you’ll feel less stressed while working, get more done, have more ideas, and remember all that has to be remembered.

Its all about a Mental Approach.

Efficient use of one’s time is ultimately more of a mental than a physical skill. If you take the time to set priorities for your work, you may enter each day knowing exactly what it is that needs your undivided attention. Avoid letting your to-do list dictate your priorities; instead, centre your efforts on the impact you hope to achieve.

Good Reads on Time Management.

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About the author

Suhas Dakhole

Hi I am Suhas Dakhole. A Lifelong Learner who loves to Teach. My philosophy is to learn by doing and implement what you've learned in real life.

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