The Only Three Time Management Techniques You Will Ever Need

Last updated on May 6th, 2013 at 07:07 pm

As busy professionals we all must be aware that one of the keys to personal effectiveness is good time management.

Effective time management means that we have the time to plan for a work and life goals and we also have the focus and direction to achieve those goals. In this busy, topsy turvy, multitasking, ‘on the go’ world,  I believe that prioritization/time management is one of the most effective tools available to help you achieve personal satisfaction.

Below, I have therefore set out 3 time management techniques that you may want to try out to help you improve the way you manage your time and work towards your personal goals.

1.) Covey’s Time Management Matrix.

We all know this one. Its a great prioritization tool which you can use to sort the wood from the trees. Its easy to understand and use and can deliver instant results. This is why this is my number 1 time management tool. You can see the time management matrix below. How does it work? (See below the image for explanation)

Merrill Covey Matrix Four Quadrants Urgent Important

In the top left quadrant, we have urgent and important items which must be dealt with immediately.

In the top right, we have not urgent but important which are important items that don’t require your immediate attention but which need to be planned for. This quadrant is highlighted in yellow because Covey believed that to be at our most effective and meet all our personal and work goals we should spend most of our time here.

We should minimize the time spent in the not important and urgent and in not urgent and not important.

2.) The Pomodoro Technique

This a time management technique which uses a timer to break down periods of work into 25-minute intervals called ‘Pomodori’ separated by short breaks. The technique involves 5 steps.

  1. decide on the task to be done
  2. set the pomodoro (timer) to 25 minutes
  3. work on the task until the timer rings; record with an x
  4. take a short break (3-5 minutes)
  5. every four “pomodori” take a longer break (15–30 minutes)

3.) 18 Minutes

18 minutes is a time management method originated by Peter Bregman. There are several steps to this technique.

  • Step 1 ( Set Plan for Day) Prior to turning on the computer, sit down with a blank notebook and decide which tasks if completed will make the day highly successful. Now take your calendar and schedule those things into time slots, putting the hardest and most important items at the beginning of the day. He believes there is great power in deciding when and where you are going to do something.
  • Step 2 (Spend 1 minute every hour refocusing) At the end of every hour, ask yourself how productive was your last hour? Refocus and make the next hour more productive.
  • Step 3 (5 minutes) Review. Turn off the computer and review your day for what worked and what didn’t. Understand what worked and where you got distracted and learn, so you can be more productive tomorrow.

In terms of what I use to manage my time, I use 18 minutes combined with the Covey time management matrix to help set priorities and review how effectively I am working.

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