Time Management Strategies: How to Do More in Less Time

Mike Kulakov, January 15, 2020
time management

People say that every new day brings new opportunities. But to seize them, we need to make the most of the chances that are presented to us. How can we become more prosperous, successful, and happier with just 24 hours in a day? The answer is simple –  effective time management strategies that help us excel and thrive.

Time management statistics

Before we dive in, here are some shocking time management stats you should know:

time management facts infographics
  • 15% of workers say they waste between 5 and 10 hours each week;
  • 51% of professionals say they are spending too much time in meetings and on calls;
  • 10 – 12 minutes of planning will save you up to 2 hours in wasted time;
  • 55 days a year. That’s what we spend on procrastination;
  • 3 hours each day on average is how long a manager spends on interruptions;
  • 81% of workers say they experience elevated anxiety on Sunday in anticipation of Monday.

In this article, you’ll discover what time management is, which time management techniques and strategies you can employ for yourself and your business, and how technology can boost your time management skills.

What is time management?

Time management is a set of techniques on how to distribute your time consciously and effectively between tasks that should be completed in a definite period of time. 

While time management is often about how you spend your working time, these tasks can also include leisure time, making the time to focus on your fitness or even spending time with family. 

Effective time management helps both to organize working time in companies and maintain the work-life balance for individuals with ease.  

Why is time management important?

Whether you have your own business or are a freelancer, it’s essential to get the most from your daily routine, and this is where time management activities come in handy. 

However, it’s not only professionals who can employ good time management. Students undertaking university exams, stay at home parents setting daily goals, or even entrepreneurs with their own deadlines can benefit from knowing how to plan their time effectively. 

What are the main benefits of time management techniques?

  • Improve your working capacity. They help you to remain concentrated on one task at a time;
  • Stay focused on the task at hand, learn to be stricter with yourself – no extra tea-breaks until the work is done;
  • Systemize and prioritize your tasks, making your working hours more productive;
  • Avoid overworking, reducing the chance of burnout;
  • Improve your work-life balance and find the time for activities you enjoy.

What are time management techniques and strategies?

Time management techniques and strategies are activities you can do and steps you can take to improve your time management. 

Although there are lots of time management techniques and strategies out there, finding the ones that work for you can be a challenge. Let’s take a look at some of them: 

Planning ahead

Using to-do-lists is Beginner Level; it’s that simple!  It helps you get your day in order. One way to organize your to-do list is the Alps method. The Alps method consists of simple steps and resembles hiking in the mountains.

Here’s how it works: 

  • Write down all the tasks and activities you need to do in the day;
  • Set how much time you need to do each task (it should be around 60% of your time);
  • Add in extra time for breaks throughout the day (this should be 40% of your time);
  • Prioritize the tasks;
  • Re-examine your tasks by their importance every time you complete a task and adjust your schedule accordingly.

Prioritize and delegate

If you have your own business, then you know how much prioritizing is vital for effective workflow. There are often thousands of urgent tasks that require your immediate attention. The Eisenhower Decision Matrix will help you not to spread yourself and your staff too thin and delegate tasks among your employees effectively.

The Eisenhower Decision Matrix divides tasks into four quadrants according to urgency and importance:

timemanagement importance matrix
  • A: Urgent and important – tasks that require your immediate attention;
  • B: Not urgent but important – tasks that you can schedule;
  • C: Urgent but not important – tasks you can delegate to others;
  • D: Not urgent and not important –tasks you can eliminate.

Meaning you can more efficiently fill your day, based on priority.

S.M.A.R.T. long-term planning

When launching a new business, investors and business owners alike hope that it will exist and thrive for more than a year (at least). To be able to realize your future plans, you need to know how to plan for the long-term. The S.M.A.R.T. technique helps to set up long-term goals and achieve them. 

S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that stands for the qualities that you need to account when creating your long-term goals:

  • S for specific. Your goals should be definite and achievable. For example, a bad goal is to hope to have a lot of clients by the end of the year. This isn’t specific. A good goal is to reach the 5th leading place in the market segment by the end of the year. This sets a clear and precise objective.
  • M for measurable. This means that it’s possible to estimate your goal. For example, a bad goal is to earn a lot of money. In this case, it’s impossible to measure what is ‘a lot’? A good goal is to earn $10,000 by the end of this year. This sets a specific figure that you want to achieve.
  • A for attainable. You should have enough resources to make your goals come true. For example, a bad goal is to hire 3 workers in your company when you only have the budget for 2.5, hoping you’ll make enough next month. A good goal is to have enough money only for 2.5 workers in the company, so you hire 2, and when the company has enough money for 3 salaries, you find the 3rd employee. 
  • R for realistic. You have to estimate your capacity and potential and realize which goals you can reach right now. For example, a bad goal is to start a small company and, in a week, to try to compete with world-known companies in the segment. A good goal is to start a small company, go local and aim for local customers to meet their expectations and gain a good reputation. Before going on to conquer the world.
  • T for tangible. You’ve got to schedule all your goals on time. For example, a bad goal is that one day you’ll have a big and prosperous business. Again, this is not specific and isn’t achievable without work. A good goal is that your business will make $10,000/mo by the end of the next year and there will be 5 employees in your company. Here, you take concrete steps to make your objectives come to life. 

What are the best time management skills?

Besides these simple strategies that you can employ in your personal life or business, there are also some techniques you can follow to improve your time management skills.

How to improve your time management skills:

  1. Organize your morning routine

    If you follow the same steps each morning, your brain becomes accustomed to these repeated actions. It makes it easier for you to get down to business. For example, shower-coffee-toast for breakfast-answer emails. time-management-morning-routine

  2. Put unpleasant tasks first

    Start achieving your daily goals by completing the most unpleasant tasks first. Your brain isn’t tired yet, and you’re able to think faster, making fewer mistakes.time-management-unpleasant-tasks

  3. Concentrate

    When starting a new task our brain takes time to get accustomed to it. This means that if we get distracted, we need time to get back to the same level of concentration. Turn off your cell phone to avoid pop-up messages and social media, find a comfortable place away from noises and talkative colleagues, and consider using the Pomodoro techniquetime-management-concentrate

  4. Say no to multitasking

    It’s been proven long ago* that multitasking has a negative effect on our brain. It reduces our ability to concentrate, and we tend to make more mistakes. To avoid multitasking, it’s worthwhile using project management software, such as Asana or Basecamp, and time trackers, such as Everhour. They help to systemize tasks in order and estimate the time spent on each. time-management-multitasking

  5. Reward yourself

    Even if you’re the owner of your own business who has hundreds of employees, it doesn’t mean that you don’t need to reward yourself. A cup of coffee or 15 minutes of social media after one completed task won’t do much harm. On the contrary, giving your brain a signal for reward can fill you with extra energy to do a little bit more throughout the day.time-management-reward-yourself

  6. Read time management literature

    If you want to succeed in effective time management, you need to develop many skills – concentration, task prioritization, building a routine, consistency, and others. All of them require hard work, and if you want to get results, just one article isn’t enough. It may take time to find a solution that works for you. For a thorough investigation of the matter, read professional literature. Here we’ve gathered some of the best books on productivity that you might like, just to get you started. time-management-read-more

  7. Communicate

    While eliminating distracting factors helps you concentrate, communication is still an important aspect of productive work. One well-formed question to a specialist can save you hours of work or scrolling through the internet in search of the answer.time-management-communicate

  8. Review your time spent

    Time planning is a key part of time management. Estimate how much time you and your team spend on particular tasks throughout the day or a week. This will give you insight on how many employees you actually need to complete particular tasks, their value for your company and plan for future projects.time-management-review

  9. Try new trends

    Some businesses develop an alternative vision: 9/80 work schedule or offer work-from-home option. By implementing an unusual approach to working-time scheduling, they’ve managed to increase their employees’ productivity and morale levels greatly.time-management-new-trends

Time management tools

To be able to employ these time management strategies and techniques effectively, there is one vital ingredient needed – special time management apps

Old-fashioned planners might be OK for one single person who isn’t overwhelmed with tasks. But, whether you’re a business owner, or a project manager, managing tasks and the time they take is best achieved using the right kit. 

For teams

everhour timesheet summary

Teams of different sizes and industries choose Everhour to track time and expenses, properly bill their clients and better understand how long specific jobs took for future quotes and estimates for a reason. Don’t just take our word for it…read our clients’ feedback.

For individuals

Toggl is a simplified version of a time tracking app offering you all the core features you’d expect. Its one-click tracking style allows you to effectively track time without the other bells and whistles. Check the Toggl vs Everhour comparison page.

Free templates

If you need to keep things simple – an efficient timesheet template is more than enough. Take a look at how you can do it quickly with our free Google Spreadsheet timesheet template.

Use our free time card calculator to fill in employee clock-in and clock-out time, breaks and time off. The calculator counts overtime (1.5х) and double time (2х) based on entered values. You can also set an hourly rate and see the total sum owed for hours worked.

free time card calculator

Wrap-up

We all know that effective time management can help make our business a success as well as give us time for our personal lives. But, there’s no doubt that it’s also one of the most difficult skills to manage. After all, we’ve all been known to procrastinate at times.

We hope this article helped you to discover new techniques for your business so that you can reach new levels of productivity. Here’s what to take-away:

  • Time management is one of the most essential skills for a prosperous person or business. It helps you set the right goals and achieve them successfully by the deadlines. 
  • To develop time management skills, you need to learn and follow some strategies and techniques on time management. And although there are many of them on the internet, you need to choose those that suit you.
  • To facilitate time management activities, you can use simple and handy apps, developed for the needs of businesses and individual users that help you monitor and track time so you can optimize it to the max.

We, at Everhour, are fanatics about time management. To make the most of yours, get in touch and see hour our time tracking software can help.

Mike Kulakov

IT entrepreneur, executive and a former engineer. Responsible for company growth as well as the team’s motivation. Big fan of playing tennis, snowboarding, traveling, reading books, and (of course) I live and breathe our product.