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Performance Management

Effective Time Management (E)


Time Management



What is the goal of effective Time Management? How to prioritize Tasks? How to plan Tasks in Time?


Posted: Jul 2008









Why do we need to manage a Time? Although term Time might sound like something that is unlimited and free, since everybody can have it. But in reality, time is resource as anything else. We have some time granted to do a specific task in our life. We have a specific time watch a movie, to finish the school, complete a task in our jobs, we have a biological time to have offspring and finally we have a time to live our life.


Randy Pausch Lecture: Time Management

Now, it is more obvious that the time is not that free and unlimited. Furthermore, you cannot turn time back or buy more, even if you are rich. Once the time has passed, there is no more. So, it is obvious that we need to manage our time given to perform a specific task, in a most time-efficient way.

Why we need the effective Time management?

Time management .......To achieve better results.
Time management .......To achieve quality of work
Time management .......To reduce stress
Time management .......To reduce errors
Time management .......To improve satisfaction with job
Time management .......To improve quality of private life.

In order to manage our time in a best possible way, we need to learn and utilize Time Management tools:


In every segment of our life activity, in our profession or in the recreation club, there are certain lists of activities that need to be accomplished. Since there are always more activities than we can handle at same time, we need to prioritize. In order to prioritize we use our judgment, common sense, experience or other people's advices. However, there are more structured time management tools that can help us in prioritization.

  • Urgent/Important matrix

This time management tool helps us to filter tasks as per their urgency and importance. Urgent is something that needs attention – Now. Important is something that is related to results, goals and value. When we pair these two scales of importance and urgency, we get a matrix with four quadrants:

Urgent / Important Matrix
  • Pareto Principle ( 80:20 Rule )

Pareto principle ( 80:20 Rule ) is time management prioritization tool which states that 20% of our results comes from 20% of our effort. 80% of our revenue comes from 20% of our customers. 80% of our success comes from 20% of our effort.

This time management principle does not have to be in exactly 80:20 ratio, but essentially shows that there are certain activities that create most of our success, therefore we should give priority to them.

Fight Procrastination

Time Eaters are activities that occupy a portion of our time on non-productive activities. Typical time eaters are Idle Time, Interruptions, Analysis-Paralysis syndrome, too many parallel activities, etc.

Many people procrastinate ( delay ) accomplishment of tasks. In fact, everybody is procrastinating to some degree. To the most extreme situation, procrastination can totally block some process or destroy someone's career.

In order to fight procrastination first we need to understand the degree of our habit of procrastinating. Second is to understand why is this happening. Third step is to take action to suppress habit of delaying or procrastinating task accomplishment.


Time Planning

While Prioritization is vertical dimension of Time Management, Time Planning is it's horizontal dimension. Simply, by time planning, we position our activity in time. I order to track implementation of task planning through time, we conduct tracking in several time scales:

  • Milestones are related to annual time management planning, project planning and seasonal events.

  • Scheduling of Tasks is related to Monthly, Weekly and Daily time management scale, by recording incoming tasks and events in desired time format ( notebook, scheduler software, etc. )

  • To Do List is a simple form of daily time management planning. It enables us to work better, serves as a reminder and helps us with task tracking. It also motivates us to do what we need to do and helps us to focus on priorities.

To Do List Tips:

1. At the end of a day spend 5 minutes to plan a next day.
2. Unfinished tasks
from today schedule for tomorrow.
3. Include both, daily tasks and long term tasks in daily To Do list.
4. Delegate
5. Estimate time necessary for every task in a To Do List


Eliminate Time Eaters

Time Eaters are activities that occupy a portion of our time on non-productive activities. Typical time eaters are Idle Time, Interruptions, Analysis-Paralysis syndrome, too many parallel activities, etc.

First step in eliminating time eaters is estimating how much time is being wasted during a day. Second step is select time eaters that can be controlled by you. Finally, elimination of these time eaters and periodical re-check of time eaters can help you in achieving time efficiency.  

Time Eaters:
- Loosing documents
- Long chats and phone calls
- Interruptions
- Delaying
- Paperwork

- Doing someone's else job
- Checking other people activities
- Inverse delegation
- Lack of Planning
- Smoking




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