Your Guide to Effective Time Management

A lot of people complain about not having enough time.

Sound familiar?

Truth be told, it isn’t minutes and hours they lack, but the proper organization of them.

There is a popular saying that we’re all given the same 24 hours in a day.

Think about it. Are you really getting the most from your time? If not, this article might be just what you need.

Why Is It Happening?

Misuse of time happens for a huge number of reasons. For instance, when considering employees, people can suffer from poor time management when:

  • A job doesn’t suit them
  • Abilities are overestimated
  • A worker or the whole company lacks working plan
  • There is no motivation to work
  • They lack understanding about what their work means to the company

These are just some of the reasons that may lead to a time management crisis. In the real world there could be hundreds of factors that affect productivity negatively.

Remember it’s impossible to organize your time properly if you allow factors like those to go undetected and unresolved. Work on eliminating them — then get to your time planning.

Organizing Time

People face a lack of time in all sorts of different situations — at school while writing an essay or doing homework, or at home when a person can’t find time to clean up the house or go for a morning jog.

It is true: Time can be our enemy, and the best way to defeat it is to organize it.

There are numerous ways of organizing your time. Here are some of the methods that have proved themselves over time. Check them out and pick one that suits you most. Or try combining them. Who knows? Maybe you’ll create your very own method of time management.

The Eisenhower Method

I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.”
– Dwight D Eisenhower, 34th President of United States

The idea behind this method is to determine whether the task you’re facing is important/unimportant and urgent/not urgent. It is recommended to draw a box with four equal sections and organize your tasks in following order:

  • Important/Urgent (Upper Left Corner) — These are the tasks that should be done immediately, or the consequences will surely affect your health or well-being in a really bad way. Examples might be taking your medicine, meeting an impending deadline or handling an emergency project. These are the most important tasks that cannot wait and should be done immediately.
  • Important/Not Urgent (Upper Right Corner) — Those tasks can wait but still should be done as soon as you finish the urgent tasks. It might be something like visiting your sick relative or doing exercise.
  • Unimportant/Urgent (Lower Left Corner) You encounter such situations all the time. It could be something like answering a call from a friend who just wants to chat or leaving the room for a smoke. Mostly they affect your work in a bad way. It is recommended to ignore such tasks during work hours.
  • Unimportant/Not Urgent (Lower Right Corner)These are tasks that you actually should cut out of your life. Basically, they’re just time wasters. Like browsing Facebook or trying to lift an apple using mind power. If you want to manage your time efficiently, you should forget about those activities. They consume too much time and have no positive effect on your life or work.

It is essential to be honest with yourself and give every task the label it really deserves. It may be hard, but it’s worth it. Eliminating time wasters and setting up priorities will drive you a long way.

Method Of Chronometry

The idea behind this method is to note every action a person does during the day and time spent on it. If you do this, you’ll get the list of your daily activities, that will look something like this:

  • 9:00-9:15 a.m. — Browsing Instagram
  • 9:15-9:35 a.m. — Drinking coffee and chatting with coworker
  • 9:35-10:00 a.m. — Completing a report
  • 10:00-10:15 a.m. — Browsing Facebook

It is easy to determine which of your actions should be eliminated from your daily timetable when you have such list on your hands. It may be inconvenient to record everything you do during the day, but the possible productivity gain is usually worth it.

Pomodoro Technique

You know the drill. Taking short brakes during work increases mental agility, and this technique takes advantage of that. Divide your work time into 25 minutes intervals, and take a short break (3-5 minutes) after every interval. After every four intervals, take a longer break (15-20 minutes).

Something to remember, however: After every 25-minute interval, write down the amount of work you’ve done. It will help you to understand how much time you need for completing particular tasks and will give you the opportunity to track your progress.

By the way, this technique is named after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer the creator of this method, Francesco Cirillo, used when he was a university student. (“Pomodoro” — Italian word meaning “tomato.”)

Essential Rules Of Time-Management

Regardless of which techniques you use to manage your time, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Keep Your Workplace Clean. It is proven that people with messy desks spend up to 30 percent of work time on searching for some document or other item. Keep it clean and you will not only be respected by your colleagues but will also increase productivity.
  • “No” Is the New “Yes. It is important to be able to say “No” when needed. If a coworker lures you into a time-wasting conversation, it is better to politely reject his or her offer and get back to work. Let them know you have nothing against them — you just want to use your time effectively.
  • Don’t Try to Do Too Much. It is much better to have some bonus time left than to be out of it. When planning your day, be sure not to take on too much work. Do as much as you are able to. And if you’ve completed all your tasks and still have time, you can always find something more to do before going home.

Remember you can apply those methods and rules not only to your work but to any aspect of your life, whether it’s studying, exercising or household chores.

Being productive is an important task if you want to succeed in life and build a notable career. It may sound funny, but just following the tips and trying the methods mentioned in this article may be a crucial factor in achieving your goals.

(Photo by StartupStockPhotos / CC BY)

Oliver Raw is a former journalist, who now works as a writer/blogger for You can find him on Google+ if you have any questions or suggestions.


  1. Steven on the 18th September

    “I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” — I haven’t heard that one yet. Perfect fit for this great article. Thanks!

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