45+ Time Management Techniques
Here are more than 45 different time management systems and techniques you can use to make the most out of your day.
8 hours Work
8 hours Sleep
8 hours Leisure
- Focus: 90–120 mins
- Social: 90–120 mins
- Admin Work: 30–60 mins
- Recovery: varies
50 minutes of focused work
10 minutes for a break
25 mins of work
5 min break
Repeat 3x, then take 15 mins break
1 big task
3 medium tasks
5 small tasks
7 Minute Life
Spend 7 minutes in the morning to plan your day and 7 minutes before you go to sleep to review your day and prepare the plan for tomorrow.
90 Minute Focus Session
Work 90 minutes in complete focus without any distractions and then rest for 20–30 minutes.
Do it now
If it takes less than 3 minutes, do it now, without any thinking or planning.
Sit down, commit 10 minutes of effort to a selected task and after 10 minutes, you can stop if you want. Usually, you won’t.
Start your day by spending 5 minutes on going over your daily schedule. Take a 1-minute break every hour to see your progress and what’s left to be done. End your day with a 5-minute review.
Before performing any task, make a conscious decision: Delete, Delegate, Do now or Defer.
ABCDE You divide the tasks into the following categories:
A: The most important task
B: Less important tasks
C: Tasks with no consequences
Use four different lists: New tasks, recurring tasks, unfinished and old tasks. Start with new tasks, move on to recurring tasks, then spend some time on the unfinished tasks. At the end, clear some old tasks.
Batch similar tasks and meetings together. You will complete your work faster and minimize idle time.
Biological Prime Time
The idea is that you track your biological rhythms to find when your most productive hours are. Then you adjust your working time accordingly.
Dave Lee’s System
A system used by Dave Lee that consists of a weekly chart, daily focus area, and Pomodoro timer. Choose five important areas for the week, and work on one of the areas each day.
Eat that frog
Do the most important task first thing in the morning. If you “eat a frog” in the morning, everything will be easy to accomplish afterward.
Fresh or Fried
Your brainpower depends on the freshness of your brain. When you are fresh, do the complex tasks, when you are fried, do the easy tasks.
Save all the emails, notes, articles, and other information you stumble upon in a digital system. Categorize information in folders and with tags. Every month, review everything you stored and brainstorm how it can be applied to your current work.
Every day, get your email inbox to zero while spending the least amount of time possible on e-mails.
At the end of the day, write down the 6 most important tasks for tomorrow. Prioritize them. Next day, start working on the most important task.
Write down 1–3 tasks that have the highest importance for the next day. You keep your mornings for MITs — the most important tasks on your to-do list.
Must, should, want (and won’t) Analyze all your tasks and categorize them under must do (non‑negotiable), should do (doesn’t need an immediate response), want to do (likable, but not necessary) and won’t do (things not to do).
POSEC is an acronym for “Prioritize by Organizing, Streamlining, Economizing and Contributing”. To achieve this, take a closer look at what needs to be done on a daily basis and figure out the best way to do it.
Rapid planning method
Tony Robbin’s planning method considers big vision, emotional motivation and taking massive action for each of your goals. Answer the following questions:
- What do I really want? What’s the outcome I’m after? What’s the specific measurable result?
- What’s my purpose? What are my reasons? Why is this not just a “should,” but a “must” for me?
- What do I need to do? What’s my massive action plan?
A system developed by the productivity app Todoist. The methodology suggests the following steps:
- Take it everywhere — be able to log things everywhere
- Capture everything
- Break everything into small and actionable tasks
- Get your to-do list to zero every day
- Review on a regular basis
Try to automate as many tasks as possible with tools like Zapier and IFTTT. Also, try to minimize and automate as many decisions as possible.
The Action Method
Developed by Behance. Break ideas down into three categories:
- Action items are the steps to get projects done
- Backburner items are all the interesting ideas that don’t lead to progress on the project
- Reference items are resources and information needed to complete a project
A list of all the activities you won’t do and are a big distraction that prevents you from doing the important things.
The Autofocus Method
Don’t bother too much with deadlines and priorities. Instead, focus on what you are naturally drawn to at any time. Keep lists with four different types of tasks: New, recurring, unfinished, and old.
The Checklist Manifesto
Turn every one of your projects or tasks into a series of easy‑to‑follow, step-by-step checklists.
The Final Version
Make a simple to-do list, select the first item on the list, ask yourself “what do I want to do before I do the first item on the list?” and write it down, then take action on the items in reverse order.
The Medium Method
Combine the best of digital work and paperwork. Get yourself:
- A main notebook to capture ideas, tasks, quotes, notes, meetings etc.
- A travel notebook — same as above, but for traveling
- A Post-It note for every day to list all the appointments and 3 most important tasks for that day
- A pen or pencil
- A task management app
- An online calendar app
- A note‑taking app
The Now Habit / Unscheduling
In your calendar, first schedule fixed commitments (e.g., meals, commute, sleep), self-care activities (e.g., meditation, exercise), and guilt-free play (e.g., socializing, hobbies), only then schedule work.
The Productivity Journal
In a productivity journal, you record all the tasks you’ve finished within a day and list all the tasks you’re supposed to tackle the next day. In the journal, you also record your ideas and work thoughts.
The Jar Glass
Categorize your tasks in these categories: Rocks, Pebbles, Sand, and Water. Tackle the “rocks”, the big important things first. If you keep tackling the small things and not the important strategic items, then your jar will quickly fill up with no room for more rocks.
The Swiss Cheese Method / The Salami Method
For complex tasks, start chipping away what needs to be done with small chunks of time. These are “holes” in the cheese (small completed tasks) that will soon lead to the completion of the whole complex task. The same representation can be a salami cut down to small pieces.
The Seinfeld Method / Don’t break the chain
Pick a goal, print a monthly calendar and place a red X on every day you work towards your goal. Make sure you place the red X on the calendar every single day.
The Spotlight Method
You sort tasks on a green, yellow, and red list. Red tasks require your immediate attention, the yellow need to be completed in two days, and green are more long-term tasks.
Timeboxing simply means that you open your calendar and enter a block of time that you’ll spend on a certain task in the future.
Time blocking means carefully planning your day in advance and dedicating specific hours (which you reserve in your calendar) to accomplish selected tasks. It’s timeboxing at large.
Keeping a list of all the tasks you have already completed will motivate you to achieve even more.
You prepare a list of goals, identify the most important goal, and then allocate time to work on that goal every single day.
Sort tasks into three different categories: Things that need immediate action, things that are important but not urgent, and things that are a waste of time.
Who’s Got the Monkey
Tasks can be boss‑imposed, system‑imposed, or self‑imposed. These could be “monkeys” you need to find a way to delegate to other people.
Zen to Done
Create new habits as you work through the following steps:
- Collect: Get ideas and tasks out of your head on a list
- Process: Review your list daily
- Plan: Pick a few high‑priority tasks for the week and the day
- Do: Schedule time to accomplish your tasks