We listed 30 time management strategies that are not only effective in helping you get more things done in a day but also earn you more even when working less.
30 Proven Time Management Strategies & Tips To Work Less & Earn More
But when you look at your pending tasks, you still have plenty of things to do. That can’t be good for your health and peace of mind.
If you haven’t done plenty in a day, why are you even exhausted?
There’s only one answer—you’re doing your best but you just lack time management strategies. No?
If you know how to manage your time or have a plan for it, you’d be more productive without working yourself to the ground.
So, I’ll be my money here and say you’re going to need what we have in store for you.
30 Proven Time Management Strategies
Start with the bigger picture
1. Set Tangible Goals
As a busy worker, you need to have plans to help organize your entire day and all your tasks. In creating a plan, you must know “why” you do it, not just “what” you need to do.
The blurry ideas of “just making more money” won’t work. You will not be productive if you do not truly understand where your efforts will lead you.
So, for a productive workday and guaranteed success, you need to plan for the long-term and set tangible goals. It helps you have a long-term vision and a short-term motivation to do something for the day.
2. Start your day early
We all get 24 hours a day.
Although it’s impossible to change the number of hours a day, a great tip for time management that many successful people follow is to wake up a bit earlier so you can do more. Most of them like to start their day early since it gives them time to think and plan their entire day. They also follow a daily routine (1) that they do without fail.
Apple CEO Tim Cook wakes up at 3:45 a.m, while Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama both wake up at 4 a.m.
Not a morning person?
Start by setting up your alarm 15-20 minutes earlier. Increase the time frame as you go along. Eventually, you won’t have a hard time waking up early, giving you that extra time to meditate, prioritize, exercise, or do your morning routine. All of these can contribute to increased productivity throughout the day.
Plan your tasks with the end in mind
3. Convert Plans into Tasks
So, after you have set goals and plans, it is time to make them happen.
You need to convert these long-term plans into important tasks that you will have to complete to achieve your goal.
This entails setting deadlines. Take note of the days or weeks you have to implement your plan and assign related tasks. Add it to your to-do lists to deliver them on time. Also, do not forget the associated activities, if there’s any. This would include promoting your account, booking consultations, taking part in webinars, and more.
4. Consider Short-Term Planning
Work can sometimes mean sleepless nights on projects because of looming deadlines. However, the blame might be on your lack of short-term planning skills.
To avoid deadline pressures and rushed projects that can kill your productivity, consider these short-term time management tips:
- If you’re having a hard time deciding on a fixed deadline to complete a project, divide the task into stages, and make necessary changes in your plan.
- If clients come at the same time, estimate and evaluate each project plan and prioritize it.
- If there are corrections, approval issues, or the like, leave some free time to solve them and consequently revise the tasks.
- Use scheduling apps.
5. Prioritize Work
If you are struggling to efficiently spend and manage time, then try prioritizing your work with the ABCDE method (2). This means classifying your tasks as A – E
- A for the most important tasks, you need to complete at all cost or there will be some serious consequences.
- B for the less important tasks falling behind the A tasks.
- C for the tasks without consequences, whether you do it or not.
- D for the tasks that can be delegated to someone else.
- E stands for the tasks that are completely irrelevant and can be eliminated.
6. Complete your most demanding tasks when you’re most energetic
Nobody will be energized throughout their day—from morning to evening. Productivity and motivation naturally go on a roller coaster ride. However, one of the best strategies for time management is to know when those ebbs and flows take place, so you can schedule around it.
To capitalize on your most productive and energetic periods, save the most demanding tasks for when you know you will be in the right moment for them. You can knock out the much easier tasks on your plate during the slower times of the day.
These small acts completed can help build momentum for the heavier ones that are waiting to get done.
7. Don’t Plan All Tasks for One Day
Never overestimate yourself. There’s nothing wrong about being confident. However, believing the day is long enough is a big mistake. Avoid inserting tons of tasks or you’ll end up dealing with them inefficiently.
Time management and productivity are not about doing as much as possible for the day. It is about proper prioritization and the ability to budget your time efficiently.
So, plan a time-consuming task or two with 3–4 short sets a day. Also, do this with your weekly schedule. This way you will not panic or miss the deadline if you did not complete your daily tasks in time.
8. Don’t Try to Realize All Ideas
If you have a gift for developing ideas, you can probably make a long list of them in minutes or hours. Turning all of them into a reality, however, is not always possible. Don’t be disheartened.
Most of the time, only 30% to 50% of your ideas will be realized, whether they’re related to new courses, activities, tasks, and projects get to be fulfilled. Others are left buried and forgotten.
You can still generate ideas and write them down. However, make it a habit to carefully evaluate every idea at the preparation stage. Think about the effort and time needed and the benefits or profits that you will receive afterward.
Ask yourself, “Is this idea worth investing in or not?”
In the same sense, you should avoid obsessing about checking off all the items on your to-do list. This may only cause unwanted stress and reduce your work quality.
It’s recommended that you create a to-do list but prioritize so you’ll know what’s worth investing time and effort in.
Aim to work steadily at your own pace and don’t try to rush through your tasks.
9. Work in Real-Time
This means doing your task as soon as you receive them. This way, you get it done the soonest time possible rather than wait until the deadline.
However, if you already have tasks scheduled for the day, consider the new work’s urgency and then prioritize. If there’s something else more pressing that you need to do, work on that instead and then schedule in the new task appropriately.
Schedule your day in the most efficient way possible
10. Schedule Your Working Hours / Create a Schedule
Creating your schedule is one of the effective time management tips everyone should master.
This allows you to set and manage your time successfully. Knowing when to start a certain task and the allotted time for it will allow you to manage your time effectively.
Scheduling your day or having a routine will also benefit your mental health (3), personal, and social life. Setting the limitations for your working hours will let you know when to be in laser-focus mode.
Effective time management allows you to have a well-balanced life. Defining your working hours should be your priority to avoid confusion and stress. After work, your scheduled free time should be on spending quality time with yourself or your loved ones.
11. Set up Deadlines
Not meeting project deadlines can affect your career and reputation. You need a proper time management strategy when confronted with tight deadlines.
Setting up deadlines will progressively lead you to successful project completion. Be sure to set reasonable schedules whether daily or weekly. Make sure these are aligned with your goals.
12. Set up time limits on tasks
Setting up time limits on tasks will help you finish more assignments. When you set a timeframe for each project, you can actually focus more on the task at hand and then move to the next one once done. Knowing your time limits can increase your speed and focus on a specific single task.
Setting time limits is an effective time management strategy as this gives you the idea that this task can be done within a particular duration, giving you time to squeeze in a relaxing moment to prepare for the next task.
13. Avoid Distractions Like Email And Social Media
Email and social media are great time-eaters and distractors.
While there is a need to respond to important emails, you do not need to reply to them as soon as possible. It’s best to schedule a part of your day to take care of these emails and stick with it. Or, if you have downtime, check on your mails.
As for social media, put it off until after work or during your breaks. The only exception is when you use the platform to get your job done.
By avoiding distractions, you can focus on what matters and use your time wisely.
14. Avoid and Overcome Procrastination
To overcome procrastination, make it a habit to take a few minutes on Sunday to create a plan or schedule for the upcoming week. You should also follow effective time management tip, such as:
- Break down your weekly task into daily deadlines
- Work on when your energy is at its peak
- Schedule high-priority task on Mondays and Tuesday, where you’re still pumped up due to weekend break
- Spend your Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for tasks that require moderate energy levels
- Make sure to hit a daily target
Most importantly, recognize that you’re procrastinating (4), know why you’re doing it, and then re-prioritize your workload.
15. Block out distractions
When working on high-focus tasks, activate the “do not disturb” status when you are working in your office or go offline as the task allows. This time management tip allows you to complete a demanding task with your complete attention.
Don’t answer the phone if you’re working on something big as doing so can only derail your progress or disrupt your rhythm. One way to help budget time is to tell others that you will not take calls during certain times. Or, have someone to take your messages and return calls at the scheduled time.
Avoid small talks that may lead to long conversations. Schedule a time to chat with colleagues and stick with it. Because when the workday ends, you can always go out with them to talk and de-stress.
16. Handle your emails strategically
Answer All Of Your Emails At The Same Time. Set 20 to 30 minutes in a day to read and answer all your emails. Any other messages that come after that you can put off reading until the next day.
Don’t Reply to Emails Right Away. this is especially true if you don’t need the distraction or disruption. While you are eager to hit that reply button, follow your schedule, and stay focused on priority assignments.
Organize your emails. Create filters and labels for urgent and non-urgent emails, so you’ll know which one must be answered right away and those that can be read at a later time. Archive emails that might have some important information but are not urgent. Speed up the response process by enabling canned responses but use only when appropriate.
17. Allocate Time for Self-Awareness and Promotion
Effective time management is like managing your life. Therefore, when working on several projects, make sure that you have an escape plan for self-awareness and recovery time.
- Continue promoting your business or enhancing your capabilities.
- Take part in relevant conferences.
- Multiple projects should be divided into stages and control points.
- Plan some diversions. You can travel, spend quality time with your family and friends.
This recovery period will release stress, burnouts, and increase your focus and productivity. When you can have a great time away from your desk, then you’re implementing a great time management strategy.
18. Deal With Stress Wisely
The road is always more important than the destination. Trust the process. Remember that stress will always be inevitable. To properly manage your time, you should know how to properly deal with stress.
- Work steadily and work at your own pace.
- Take a break and engage in meaningful walks.
- Wake up early in the morning and get other errands done before work demands all your time.
- Avoid rushing through tasks.
- Set realistic deadlines. Do not obsess if your to-do lists have not been completed at the end of the day.
- Enjoy every day with a positive outlook.
- Believe in yourself.
Working through stress is a testament that highly successful people master. Implementing an effective time management strategy is one way to be in the same plane as them.
19. Remember to Grow Your Soft Skills
Building your customer relation, understanding the need to work with other persons/businesses, and learning to say “no” to toxic people politely are some skills that some people overlook. Delegation is also an effective time management strategy. But some people do not practice this due to interpersonal reasons.
By developing the skills to handle such situations, you can make better use of your time and get more work done in a day. This can also help eliminate unnecessary tasks in your schedule.
Know when to stop and take a break
20. Schedule relaxation time
Do you notice that the more stressed you are the less likely you’ll think straight or creatively? Whatever ideas you had in mind flies out the window once you feel tired and overworked.
Take a moment to be still and enjoy some quiet time, and you’ll be surprised at how you’ll be able to regroup and gather your thoughts. This will have a positive impact on your creative process.
So make sure to schedule breaks to just relax, meditate, or to go for a walk to clear your head.
21. Take Regular Breaks
Doing so will ensure you’ll be productive throughout the day. The trick is to schedule breaks and set time limits for each to prevent you from taking too many breaks.
To help you power through:
- Don’t take a break for more than 10 minutes
- Do something completely unrelated to your task during your break
- Slot in several breaks within a big project
- Always take a break for lunch and step away from your desk
Most importantly, don’t take unscheduled or unplanned breaks as these are equivalent to interruptions you should avoid when managing your day properly.
Understand your limits
22. Avoid Multitasking
A study suggests (5) that only 2% of people can effectively multitask. Now, for the remaining 98%, multitasking is just wasting their time and reducing their overall productivity.
So, instead of dividing your attention into 3 or more different things, it is better to focus and concentrate on one thing. To make it more effective, do timeboxing. This is the process of allocating a time-frame for each task, which helps in increasing the likelihood of successful completion.
Finish one task before starting another, and you will be surprised at how much more you get done in a day.
23. Learn to Say No
One important element of how to manage time is to learn and get comfortable with saying “No” to the things that do not help you reach your goals. The same is true if you’re already overloaded with tasks.
I know that you do not want to upset anyone. But remember, there is only so much you can handle.
If saying no seems hard, just think about a time when you willingly said yes to something, only to regret it later on. In the end, you flaked out since you overcommitted and ended up disappointing the person asking for the favor or hastily and begrudgingly finished the task even though you did not have the resources and time to do it in the first place.
Saying no is a lot easier and saves you more time and energy to focus on what really matters.
24. Delegate Tasks
Delegation is one of the most challenging skills to learn. There is no need for you to be a one-person show, however. Don’t be ashamed to delegate. It does not mean that you’re running away from responsibilities but that you’re learning about the proper management of your tasks.
As you create your to-do list, choose the low-priority ones, and delegate them to your teammates according to their abilities and skills. If your whole team shares the workload, you get things more done. Not only can this free up more time, but it also makes your team members feel like a crucial piece of the work puzzle.
25. Get the Most Out of Technology
These days, there is plenty of time management and productivity tools that will help you complete your projects and get paid more while working less.
You can choose tools that can help organize your work, follow the plan, and keep you on schedule. Here are some of your options:
- Toggl or Rescue Time lets you know where all your time is going.
- aCalendar keeps your calendar of tasks in order.
- Trello helps in keeping your to-do list neat and organized.
- Focus Booster helps keep distractions at bay.
These are just a few digital tools out there. There are time and productivity management apps for everyone. So, if you are not a fan of the above suggestions, you can find something else that suits your requirement.
26. Develop A Sense Of Urgency
Speed is the most important measure of time. And the most important skill that you can develop with regards to time management is the “sense of urgency”.
It is the habit of moving or working fast when an opportunity presents itself to you. With a good sense of urgency, you develop a bias for action. Remember, a fast tempo is crucial to success.
All successful people not only work hard, but they also work fast.
So, how do you do that?
Set a maximum amount of time to finish a task. This way, you’ll be motivated to be more productive and to work harder.
Make a habit to plan ahead
27. Plan your day the night before
To ensure that you are productive the next day, plan your day the night before. Write down your goals before going to sleep. Planning each day in advance, organizing your list, and sticking to your schedule can help you work faster and smoother.
Make this a daily habit and it will also help you overcome procrastination, get started at the right time, and keep going until you complete your daily tasks. It’s not a surprise that this is one of the strategies that highly successful people employ to plan their time (6).
28. Keep a to-do-list
One of the most important time management tips is to always work from a list. When something new pops up, add it to the list before working on it. This is how you can boost your output and productivity from the first day that you start working right up to the end.
The more time that you take to make written lists of every task you have to do, the more efficient and productive you will be over time.
Also, as you work through the day, remember to tick off the items on your list as you complete them. It gives you a visual picture of accomplishment, generating a feeling of success, and boosting your morale and motivation while overcoming procrastination.
29. Perform a time audit
Another way to improve your skills in managing time is to perform a time audit.
Every day and every week, record how much time you hope to spend on a project. As you complete your tasks, track your time until you can finish them. By the end of the week, you will have a record wherein you can compare your estimated time spent and the actual time spent.
From this audit, you can adjust your time management plans. Then, continue reviewing your results week over week to see gradual improvement and trends you can use to further boost your productivity and efficiency.
30. Plan your week during the Weekend
Walking into work with a comprehensive plan for the week can help you focus on your priorities. You can easily transition from a carefree weekend mindset to a motivating and productive Monday morning.
So, make sure to take a few minutes on your weekend to create a plan for the whole workweek. Break down your weekly goals into daily tasks, and always take into consideration your creativity and energy levels throughout the week.
Your weekly schedule can look like this:
- Mondays are for the low-priority tasks.
- Tuesdays and Wednesdays are best for completing demanding and creative tasks.
- Thursdays can be a day for meetings as this is when a team’s energy starts to drop.
- Friday is the perfect day for networking and planning.
Now that I’ve given you the tips and tricks, it’s up to you to implement them. If you apply even just one tip out of the 30 strategies to manage your time, you’re going to see the difference.
All of them are effective if you follow and apply them properly. Find out what works for you and stick with it.
Put them into practice. No matter how awesome a time management strategy is, if you don’t practice or make a habit of it, you won’t enjoy its benefits.