Effective time management – strategies for better time management

12 June 2024

For successful business development, owners need to pay attention to the management of working time – their own and the team’s. If you choose the right method, you can work more productively, optimize your company’s costs and keep up more time. Let’s look at what methods exist and how they help.

Definition of time management


Time management involves certain methods that help you manage your time – plan it and save resources.

Its main goals are:

  1. To help achieve goals.
  2. Distribute efforts and increase productivity.
  3. Improve self-organization.

Principles of effective working time management

Many methods and techniques are based on 3 components:

  1. Prioritization. To do something, determine the urgency, complexity, and importance. Only after this process can you begin to carry out your plans.
  2. Planning. Before performing, it is important to understand when to do it and how much time you will have to spend on it.
  3. Structuring. It is worth deciding in advance how you will track your progress and results.

In most cases, structuring and prioritization are considered the main ones, a combination of 3 principles at once is very rarely used.

Managing the manager’s working time


The management and business owners need to allocate time so that the work eventually turns out to be effective. For example, to successfully cover participation in the development of a business development strategy, control of the work of departments, certain employees.

For more convenient execution, difficult tasks are divided into simple ones, allocating a certain period for their execution.

It is good if the tasks of the management will be:

  • detailed, realistic;
  • systemic, structured;
  • pursuing a certain result;
  • measurable;
  • with a limited time limit.

Working time management involves regular analysis of tasks. This way you will be able to move from goals to an action plan. For example, to increase profits, the business owner himself or with a team must assess what is happening in the market, in the company. Then identify what needs to be done next – from improving the quality of project execution to creating new services.

To analyze the situation, as a leader, use open and expert data, research results from subordinates. At the same time, any action must be limited to a specific period.

When making a plan, management will determine:

  • duration of the period;
  • purpose;
  • the amount of resources spent;
  • priority;
  • list of delegated actions;
  • Preparatory activities;
  • ways to track progress;
  • criteria of the result.

Employee time planning


The management of employees’ working hours should be built on the basis of a drawn-up plan, + it is mandatory for the head to monitor the implementation of his plans. At the same time, 60% of the time should be spent on the main ones, 20% on unforeseen ones, 20% on situational ones. In this case, employees will effectively perform their duties.

In order for the director to timely indicate errors in the activities of employees, they must regularly submit reports on the results. The frequency of their provision, as well as the feedback format, plays an important role here.

To increase staff productivity, you need to:

  1. Use a time management system in departments.
  2. To evaluate the effectiveness of the system in terms of structuring and optimization.
  3. Evaluate the effectiveness of labor.
  4. Compare the workflow with activities in other companies.
  5. Always be on the lookout for new time management techniques if some of the old ones don’t work.

With the help of standardization, it is possible to increase productivity, rationally approach the use of the working day, comply with all deadlines, as well as reduce the risk of reputational and monetary losses of your organization.

The best methods of working time management

The intelligence card

With its help, you can build a convenient data structure and a to-do list. The intelligence map is most relevant for those who are engaged in generating a large number of ideas, as well as brainstorming, visualizing hypotheses. The map is a tree–like diagram, where the main topic/problems are in the center, and resources for achieving the goal are around. It is also called mindmap, mental map, connection diagram.

Preparation from the evening

Task planning

This training will be appreciated by those who find it difficult to get up in the morning. If you record all the work and personal moments from the evening, then you will know about your workload in advance and in the morning you will not have to rush with its distribution. 

N minutes

If there is no desire to do anything, it is better to start at least from five to ten minutes. This way you will have the opportunity to change your mind, which means that your sense of control over the situation will increase. You won’t think you have to do this, so the process will be easier.


Deadlines encourage you to work more quickly and help in the fight against postponement. Even if you set deadlines for yourself, the process will already help you move forward. Although this option is worse in comparison with external deadlines from the head.


Suitable for those who do not adhere to deadlines. It is enough to write out everything in a list on a sheet, and then read it. It is better to do it slowly, so that you want to stop at some of the cases. The volume doesn’t matter, it’s important to do it right away. If you managed to finish today, delete it from the list, if not, move it to the end and read it again.

Fixed-time techniques

If you instill the habit of working on a timer, you can learn productivity, train willpower. It is also a good solution not to burn out.

Pomodoro Technique

Pomodoro Technique

The «25 minute system» by Francesco Cirillo assumes a half-hour time interval, where you need to do something for 25 minutes and rest for five minutes. After a five-minute break, you can work again. At the same time, after every 4 repetitions, the break should be at least half an hour.

Techniques «90 by 30» and «52 by 17»

These two methods have a similar principle: the first value is the working time in minutes, the second is a break. Thanks to such short breaks, you «unload the brain». In order for these methods to work successfully, it is important not to skip the rest and get down to business again.

The principle of nine 

The technique is based on a hierarchical arrangement of tasks. During the day, it is necessary to «close» the largest task, 3 smaller ones and 5 smallest ones. As a result, all cases will not disappear from view and will be included in the load calculation.


With it, it is possible to redistribute the load between employees and do everything on time. It can also be used when an assessment of the increasing pace of work is required.

The principle is as follows: the list of planned items in the form of cards / stickers must be entered in the «Need to do» column (you can put your own name). A board with columns can be made tangible or in electronic form. 

After work on a certain case has begun, the card with it must be moved to the «In progress» column, and at the end to «Completed». 

This way you can easily track the progress of employees, teams, and time costs.



The technique is needed to analyze personal productivity and optimize resources. It differs from others in its duration.

It all starts with self–observation – it needs to be done for 14 days. It takes no more than two to three minutes to record cases during this period. The analysis should not be carried out immediately – only a systematic fixation of everything that is happening.

For the next 14 days, you need to add marks about the effectiveness of the time spent. For example: the task is completely completed / the result is there, but not final / time is wasted.

You can also specify the reason. Thus, after a month you will be able to analyze the results obtained and find certain patterns – what you spend more/less resources on. After that, it will be much easier to optimize your schedule.


The method is relevant for those who seek to create an ideal daily schedule. Each person has their own peak productivity, wake-up time, and sleep mode:

  1. «Bears». They wake up from 7 to 11, are productive from 11 to 18, go to bed no later than 23 o’clock.
  2. «The lions». They get up from 5:30 to 10 a.m., work effectively from 10 to 17, go to bed before 22:30.
  3. «Wolves» They prefer to get up in the morning from 7:30 to 12, peak productivity is up to 20 hours, sleep is at 12 at night.
  4. «Dolphins». They have a restless sleep schedule, so they get up early from 6 to 10, while they can go back to sleep. They are active from 10 to 18 o’clock. They go to bed by midnight, but before that they must put away their gadgets 2 hours before bedtime.


In setting goals, it is important to follow several rules. According to the SMART method, the goals should be:

Specific. An example is to increase the receipt. The formulation of the goal should be understood by everyone who will work to achieve it.

  1. Measurable. We need specific indicators, for example, to increase the receipt by 30%. 
  2. Realistic. Unattainable goals will only reduce employee motivation, so before setting a goal, evaluate the company’s position and resources.
  3. Relevant. You should not waste your energy on outdated projects, the goal should be relevant and far-sighted.
  4. Limited in time. The deadline should also be realistic, for example, to increase the receipt by 30% in six months.

The Eisenhower Matrix

Time management

The method is used to set priorities, make daily and long-term plans. It is necessary to divide all cases into 4 categories:

  1. Important and urgent – long-term, which affect the efficiency of the business. For example, disconnecting phones, server failure. If they are not fixed immediately, the work will stop.
  2. Important non–urgent ones are postponed «for later» without a deadline. For example, create a database. They need to be worked on regularly.
  3. Unimportant urgent. Because of them, subordinates work a lot, but there is no result. It is better to wait with them, because in the future something may lose its relevance. The rest can be assigned to subordinates.
  4. Unimportant non–urgent people waste their time. They are like a break from the main things. It’s better to cross them off your list.

For a perfect balance, you need to perform 60% of important and 40% of urgent tasks daily. 

Pareto’s Law

The essence of the law is that 20% of labor brings 80% of the result, and 80% of labor brings 20% of the result. It is enough to identify 20% and focus on them.

The law is based on several rules:

  1. Only the current situation matters – in the future, tasks that bring good results may change.
  2. Random events may occur.
  3. The law concerns only material matters. For example, if you fill in the knowledge base, you will not immediately receive money, but you will train new employees and save experience.  As a result, such a solution will be useful in a long time.
  4. Do not ignore the small details, especially if you apply the law to a complex system. Otherwise, it may result in losses.

Common types of tasks and ways to solve them

In time management, it is customary to name tasks after the animals they are associated with. Each of them needs to be solved in its own way.



Small unpleasant actions that many people do not like to perform. For example, visit a dentist, talk to a difficult client. They are often postponed, but this is a big misconception. It is better to resolve the issue with the frog at the beginning of the day and quietly do other things.


Big actions that take a lot of effort and time. For example, creating a company website, learning a foreign language. It is customary to «eat» an elephant piece by piece – that is, divide it into small subtasks and perform them regularly.


In another way, these are elephants that have become extinct – not urgent tasks that people can’t get out of their heads. For example, the old desire to learn something. You always need to check the relevance of your goals and cross out mammoths. This way you won’t waste your energy.


Cases that employees are trying to shift to management. For example, you have instructed to do something, but due to a question that has arisen, the execution is suspended and depends on your answer. In such a situation, instructions will help, from where subordinates will always be able to take information.


Dreams that have not turned into goals are unicorns. Here it is worth considering whether your desire is still relevant, and if so, translate it into elephants, mammoths.

Planning Assistant Applications

Scheduling tasks in applications
  1. Focus To-Do – syncs data between your phone and computer, so you can access your records from anywhere.
  2. Todoist – allows you to customize recordings.
  3. Trello – records the plans and work of the team.
  4. Notion – stores and organizes incoming information. 
  5. Forest – timer for mobile;
  6. SingularityApp – allows you to translate information from email into work tasks.

Other techniques for working with time

  1. Voice recorder. It helps to collect ideas and save them quickly. This way you will bring them to the schedule and not forget them along the way. 
  2. Recurring tasks. Reminders and repetitions in the calendar will help you control regular business and events. 
  3. Joint dinners. At lunch, you can chat with a colleague, partners.
  4. Reading on the road. If you don’t have time to read, but you have a great desire, study the professional content on the way.
  5. Planning outside of work. Sleep and rest are very important – they affect the ability to work. If you have chaos outside the office, then it will definitely get into the work soon. Therefore, it is worth managing your personal affairs.

Planning errors

  1. Wrong priorities. 
  2. Special attention to small tasks. 
  3. Lack of rest. 
  4. Uncontrolled allocation of time for execution. 
  5. Multitasking on an ongoing basis.

Working time management is a skill that is useful for both the business owner and his subordinates. It will allow you to meet deadlines and reduce the number of errors to a minimum.

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