Skip to content
× FreshBooks App Logo
FreshBooks
Official App
Free - Google Play
Get it
You're currently on our US site. Select your regional site here:
5 Min. Read

The 5 Best Essential Time Management Techniques

The 5 Best Essential Time Management Techniques

No matter how small or large your business is, there are a set of skills that are necessary when it comes to keeping things running smoothly. The most crucial skill among those is time management. When it comes to running a business, effective time management can make or break you, and can lead to massive success or pitiful failure. 

Time management techniques can be honed to suit you and your business’s needs. Check out these five time management techniques that any business owner should be well acquainted with.

Here’s What We’ll Cover:

1. Begin the Day With a Reasonable Task

2. Keep a To-Do List

3. Rank Your Tasks

4. Structure Your Work

5. Track Your Time

Key Takeaways 

1. Begin the Day With a Reasonable Task

Beginning with a task that is well laid out and achievable is the perfect way to start the day. When you give yourself a clear start time, as well as an achievable goal, it can kickstart the rest of your day, allowing for more focused work as the day goes on. Always be sure to start your day with a planned task over a cup of coffee.

2. Keep a To-Do List

Keeping a to-do list is the best way to help manage your time on a day-to-day, week-to-week, or month-to-month basis. Often, you’ll need to keep several to-do lists with different time frames on them, as not everything needs to be done on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. The best way to do this is by planning ahead, and creating various checklists depending on what the tasks that need to be done are. 

3. Rank Your Tasks

This is an important time management skill, as it’ll help you dictate what needs to be done, and how urgently. There are a number of ways to set this up, but usually, tasks need to be set as high, medium, and low priority items. Assigning one of these values can help a business owner make sure that things that must get done are done. Other tasks are back-burnered when necessary. Think of the priority levels as such:

  • High Priority - These tasks need to be done with urgency, and move to the front of the line. Knocking out an urgent task can be likened to putting out a fire.
  • Medium Priority - Medium priority tasks are items that need to be done as soon as possible, but fall behind anything that’s high priority. This doesn't mean it's not a difficult task, however. You can call these tasks that control the fire.
  • Low Priority - The bottom of the list, low priority tasks can wait until another day, if necessary, but still can’t be ignored. Completing low priority tasks is how you prevent fires.

4. Structure Your Work

An amazing way to manage your time effectively is by structuring your entire workday regarding it. Using the skills you’ve learned up until this point, you can put it all together to make a calendar that utilizes time blocks. It’s such an effective way to manage time because it places your schedule and tasks in front of you in a visual manner. The old saying, “Out of sight, out of mind,” rings very true when speaking about time management. 

Ideally, you’ll schedule time for your day the following way:

  • Start with an achievable task (something quick and easy)
  • Move onto high priority tasks that need to be done as soon as possible
  • Once high priority tasks are done, move onto medium priority
  • Save low priority tasks for the end of the day
  • Be sure to update the priority level of tasks that go uncompleted for the day so that they don’t get missed moving forward

It's important to make sure that the time limit you assign to each task is realistic, and to schedule regular breaks. Constantly working without breaks can lead to lower productivity. Stop every so often to refill that cup of coffee you started the day with, step away from your email inbox, and tend to your personal life. 

5. Track Your Time 

Structuring your time and tracking your time are two entirely different techniques. Both rely on each other for efficiency, though. When working through our structured day, track the time that it takes you to complete your tasks. Also track any time that you spend distracted or not working. This time tracking is essential in improving your time management skills. It is the best way to manage your time effectively.

Understanding your productive hours can change the way that you work. It can lead to scheduling daily tasks around different times. If you know what period of time during the day that you perform the highest, you can be sure to schedule tasks around it.

Time Has A Compounding Effect

Remember that time itself has a compounding effect attached to it. Any task that you do takes up time, and in doing so takes away time from anything else that you could be doing. That is why time management is the most important part of any business, as well as any part of your daily life.

Key Takeaways

If you’re managing your time effectively, your rate of success increases dramatically. Most experts agree that daily schedules are one of the most effective ways to approach time management. When you break it down, the five best time management strategy techniques that are absolutely essential to your business are:

  • Planning an achievable start to the day
  • Keeping a running to-do list
  • Ranked tasks based on priority
  • Structuring your workday
  • Realistically tracking your time

There are many software programs and applications available to assist you with time management. If you have time management needs, you may want to consider looking into them!

Read more guides to help you run your small business on our resource hub.


RELATED ARTICLES