20 Quick Tips for Effective Time Management - Common Sense Living Newsletter
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20 Quick Tips for Effective Time Management

Dec 03, 2014

20 Quick Tips for Effective Time Management 

This one's going to be short and snappy.

No gyaan, no stories.

No extra words to take you away from your busy schedules.

Just a quick checklist to enhance your time management skills -

Because we know your time is precious...

And time is of the essence.

  1. Plan your day in advance: Planning ahead is one of the surest ways to ensure that you will manage your time and day more effectively. Keep a few minutes aside every morning to mentally go over everything you have to do.
  2. Keep a to-do list handy: Actually get down to writing the key deliverables of the day. Make short points that you can tick off once the task is complete. This will give you a great sense of accomplishment as well.
  3. Allot time blocks for activities: Time blocks are the amount of time you allot to a certain activity. It is believed that the average concentration span lasts for approximately 45-50 minutes. Thus account for that much time for important jobs, it will give you a better understanding of how much you can achieve in a day.
  4. Try and complete tasks on time: The most productive people are those who complete what they set out to do. It's just like when we gave our board exams, we got exactly three hours to finish, not a minute more or less. If you approach tasks with that mindset, you will add much more productivity to your day.
  5. If not, atleast get started: Don't get stressed out if you can't complete what you've begun, the more important thing is to get started. For example, if you need to submit a project by Friday, begin a little bit of work on it by Monday. This helps you space it out and reduces any last minute haste.
  6. Keep a buffer for contingencies: There will be some tasks that will take more time than you expected. So keep a little buffer time just in case. This is most common in activities that involve other people -- a meeting may take longer than expected or a doctor's visit may set you back by an hour or more because of the waiting.
  7. Lower your ringtones: The phone is increasingly becoming a bane as much as it is a boon. In tasks that need your undivided attention for completion, it may just be a good idea to put your ringtone on silent or better still, switch the phone off altogether.
  8. Don't respond to every email and ping: We are becoming a generation that is living with digital anxiety. We see an email or hear a ping and think we need to reply to it instantly. But unless it's an emergency, everything else can wait.
  9. Take short breaks for 5-10 minutes: One way to optimize an activity is by taking short breaks for few minutes in between. It is impossible for anyone to focus non-stop, so take the much-deserved break, look around, see some greenery, or go walk to the coffee machine and come back energized.
  10. Minimize the distractions: Have you ever felt yourself get so carried away by distractions that you find yourself completely forgetting the urgency of the task at hand? That's what happens when breaks become distractions that last too long. Distractions maybe many, but keep reminding yourself about what you set out to do and quickly bring your focus back to the task.
  11. Identify the urgency of tasks: As per the Eisenhower Method, there are some things that are urgent and important and can't wait at all, like responding to a fire alarm. Then there are others that are important and not urgent, like buying a new shoe, you may need it but not right away. And then there are still others that are urgent but not important - the odd call in between your work day; and finally there are things that are neither important nor urgent, like planning for the next vacation. Depending on the urgency and importance, schedule your tasks accordingly.
  12. Know your 'peak' time of day: Some people have greater focus in the morning while others can concentrate better once the sun sets. Identify your peak productivity hours as they will help you tackle a task faster and better.
  13. Stay flexible and ready for surprises: No matter how planned you are, be sure something will throw you off gear. A fluid and flexible mindset is the best at such times. If someone cancelled an appointment that you travelled a distance for, don't fret, just go explore that part of the city.
  14. Finish meetings and conversations on time: Sometimes people can talk till the cows come home. When in a meeting, keep an agenda and stick to it; when chatting with friends and family, mentally fix a time and once you think you need to end it, politely excuse yourself. Ending conversations sooner can help you save a lot of time.
  15. Find dedicated work spaces: If you don't work in an office, fix a place from where you will work; this will increase your focus. And keep this place as organized as possible. If you're working from a cafe, take your laptop charger along too and ensure they have Wi-Fi. Being organized helps complete a task on time.
  16. Realize that multitasking is a myth: Don't think you can be at a meeting, keep typing away on your laptop and still pay attention to those around you. Not only will your performance be affected, but you will also be wasting the time of the other people present.
  17. Recognize your support systems: Delegation is sometimes the fastest way to beat time and that's when you depend on those closest to you. If you need to pick up your child but you're stuck at work, call your child's friend's mother and ask her if she can oblige. But make sure you return the favour too.
  18. Make people aware of your schedule: When those around you have clarity on your schedule, they will know exactly when to call you and when not to. This is a very polite and friendly way of putting a "do not disturb" signboard without offending anyone.
  19. Learn to say "no": You can't be everywhere and do everything. There's no point spreading yourself thin, you'll lose face and lots of energy and eventually keep no one happy. Say no to what's not possible and make more time in your day for yourself.
  20. Review your day: At the end of the day, look back and take stock of what happened and what didn't. It will tell you what you need to focus on in the coming days. Reviewing your day is also a pat on the back - you'll realize just how much you are actually capable of.

Like the Kabir couplet goes: Kal kare so aaj kar, aaj kare so ab - What you can do tomorrow, do today; what you can do today, do now... If you aren't using these tips already, start doing so right away. And let me know if they work for you.

Image Source: Creativa Images / Shutterstock


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24 Responses to "20 Quick Tips for Effective Time Management"

parvez Bam

23 Oct, 2016

Time lost and lost for ever.True what Kabir couplet .Kal Kare so aaj kar,aaj kare so ab Procrastination is the thief of time


20 Oct, 2016

Ritika, Greetings. You articles are excellent and brisk. I always read anything you write twice. Time is an asset in life. We all have exactly 168 hours every week. How we make use of them defines our life. Time cannot be replaced- nor substituted - nor credited. We have to go on using time productively. In spite of knowing all this, many of us still go on wasting time. Life is made up of moments. God be with us.

Like (1)

Sukumar Nair

05 Aug, 2016

time tested tools. Kudos

snehal naik

04 Aug, 2016

only one word....... "Thank you !"

Ramesh Shaparia

04 Aug, 2016

Very nice to read.really this is effective time management tools. I have to read it more often and implement as soon as possible. Thanks to comman sense living team

Like (1)

Anil Bedi

03 Aug, 2016

Very useful, covering every aspect and situation

Suresh Patel

01 Jun, 2015

A fanstastic article. I will try accordingly for my daily lfire.

Like (1)

R K Srivastava

28 Feb, 2015

A fantasti article indeed ! A must read for one and all.

Like (1)

babu kambhampati

24 Dec, 2014

a must for every student

Like (2)


18 Dec, 2014

Excellent. One should go through whenever one feels that he is overburdened with lots of works. STITCH IN TIME SAVES NINE.

Gabriel Pani

07 Dec, 2014

Good points practically useful,I wise number can be reduced to 3 or 7.


05 Dec, 2014

Very useful and we'll narrated

Like (1)


05 Dec, 2014

Very useful and helpful tips !

Like (1)

D Ghosh

05 Dec, 2014

You can never manage time. Time waits for none. There are 24 hours in a day. You cannot make it more or less. You manage a task in a given time by reducing the number of activities involved in doing the task which effectively saves time. This means in other words you are changing the process of doing a job, which could result in poor quality. If you can achieve same quality by reducing certain activities in the entire process, then you have not managed time but removed the wastes from the process. If you can identify the wastages is any process and can eliminate them, you have reduced total time. This requires process management skill, not time management skill.


05 Dec, 2014

Excellent Article.All points given in the article are very useful and give practical tips for time management.Points like,"Don't respond to every mail","Learn to say No","Review your day" will help in identifying the wastage of time,and ultimately Efficient time management.

Like (1)


05 Dec, 2014

Good one. One should always make a check list what to do today in advance on regular basis. This way one can improve their work systematically and efficient way. .

Utpal K Dhar

04 Dec, 2014

Excellent write up and to the point.

santana govindan

04 Dec, 2014

time management is mind management. Both should be kept at good health. Very good piece. Thank you

pc jain

04 Dec, 2014

very good and useful.


04 Dec, 2014

Very nicely presented :)


04 Dec, 2014

Time Management essence...Time for everything and everything on time ...

Parvin Worliwalla

03 Dec, 2014

Excellent no-nonsense piece!!


03 Dec, 2014

Hi Ritika, I appreciate your Article. It is simple, well corroborated and straight to the point. Good job done here.

Like (1)


03 Dec, 2014

All the tips provided are invaluable to ORGANISE or PLAN our LIVES and MANAGE our routine , DAILY engagements in this present world , where we have to run in order to STAND !!!! However , the expression TIME MANAGEMENT , i feel , is a MISNOMER... we cannot MANAGE TIME .... it is ABUNDANT and in free supply !!! Unlike water or other natural resources in the nature , it never GETS DEPLETED , just like AIR !!! ....we must , just MANAGE our lives by OPTIMISING its UTILITY and AVAILABILITY to meet our needs !!!! I think we have to come out of this mind-set ,as if the TIME is a COMMODITY which is UNDER our MANAGEMENT or CONTROL !!!! I stand corrected !!!


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