What Innovative Approaches to Time Management Are Effective for Productivity?


    What Innovative Approaches to Time Management Are Effective for Productivity?

    In the quest for mastering the clock, we've gathered eight innovative strategies from experts including Productivity Coaches and CEOs. Starting with the Time Task Estimation Technique and wrapping up with the Marketing Power Hours Strategy, these professionals divulge their unique approaches to conquering time management challenges.

    • Time Task Estimation Technique
    • Strategic Scheduling and Tools
    • Plan on Paper Every Friday
    • Pomodoro Potluck Productivity
    • Time Blocking and Theme Days
    • Facilitate Productive Team Meetings
    • Task-Swapping for Energy Management
    • Marketing Power Hours Strategy

    Time Task Estimation Technique

    One way I manage my time better is to determine how long a new task takes me. Yes, I can make an educated guess, but we tend to estimate more time for tasks we don't like and less time for those we do like. You can use a timer on your phone or purchase a kitchen timer for your desk. Time anything new so you can properly schedule for it down the road. This will reduce stress and overwhelm because you won't block too much or too little time to complete a task.

    Jamie Steele
    Jamie SteeleProductivity Coach and Consultant, Tidy Your Time LLC

    Strategic Scheduling and Tools

    As a coach, one of the best time-management strategies I use revolves around scheduling. And it's a two-fold strategy:

    First, when I start an engagement with a client, we pick a regular day/time to meet, and we get all the sessions on the calendar (and work around any exceptions). This way, we both know what to expect and don't need to waste time scheduling later.

    Second, for all other types of meetings, I use a scheduling tool (Calendly), which connects to my calendar and allows me to set windows of availability. This allows me to ensure that I'm protecting enough time in my schedule for working ON the business, as well as protects us all from the endless back-and-forth of trying to find a date that works.

    Alexis Haselberger
    Alexis HaselbergerTime Management and Productivity Coach, Alexis Haselberger Coaching and Consulting, Inc

    Plan on Paper Every Friday

    Plan on paper every Friday. It's quite simple, but what makes it innovative is that it's not always easy in this modern day and age. However, taking the time to plan the following week on paper has been not just instrumental in business, but life-changing. The best part is anyone can do it, and they can start immediately.

    Samantha Lane
    Samantha LaneTime Management Consultant & Keynote Speaker, Origami Day

    Pomodoro Potluck Productivity

    Ah, time management—the eternal quest for all of us juggling more balls than a circus seal. One approach that's been a game-changer for me is what I call the "Pomodoro Potluck." No, it's not a new recipe involving tomatoes; it's a productivity technique named after those tomato-shaped kitchen timers. I chunk my day into focused 25-minute sprints (Pomodoros), followed by guilt-free snack breaks—because, hey, even the most disciplined need to refuel. This method helps me dive deep into tasks without drowning in overwhelm, and the breaks keep things fresh and, let's be honest, keep the snacks within arm's reach. It's a win-win for productivity and my snacking habit, proving yet again that sometimes the simplest solutions are the most effective.

    Josh Burris
    Josh BurrisCEO, STNDRD

    Time Blocking and Theme Days

    One innovative approach I've implemented to tackle time management challenges is using Time Blocking and Theme Days. Time Blocking involves setting specific periods for different tasks throughout the day or week, like dedicating one block for emails and another for project work. Theme Days assign particular days to specific types of work, such as planning on Mondays and client meetings on Tuesdays.

    This structured approach helps me stay focused and productive by minimizing task-switching and reducing mental fatigue. Research from Harvard Business Review supports the effectiveness of Time Blocking in enhancing productivity and task prioritization. By organizing my schedule this way, I can manage my workload more efficiently, meet deadlines consistently, and deliver high-quality work.

    Overall, Time Blocking and Theme Days have become essential tools that enable me to maintain a balanced work pace and achieve better outcomes in my role.

    Renante Altar
    Renante AltarProject Manager, Creloaded

    Facilitate Productive Team Meetings

    One of my biggest time-management challenges has been to facilitate productive team meetings without sacrificing team bonding or efficient communication. A common problem among teams is tangents, i.e., straying off topic for various reasons. Even if you have an agenda for a meeting, it seems that most topics inevitably spiral into tangents somehow. The challenge becomes staying focused so that everyone can all get back to their day and not waste time.

    That being said, small talk is human nature, and we're actually better off dealing with it up front because it's going to happen in spite of our best efforts to avoid it. Therefore, in order to get it 'out of the system,' we always designate the first 15 minutes to just chatting as friends.

    Acknowledging that there will always be 'chatty' energy present in the room has been transformative. We release it first, so that it doesn't distract us later. While this may seem counterintuitive, the cumulative effect has been significant. Tangents have lessened over time, and that has sped up decision-making. The team has gotten stronger because of the genuine interest and connection between colleagues, and there is reduced friction overall. As a bonus, those first 15 minutes catch anyone who may be running late and give a bit of breathing room to our day. It's been fascinating to see the ROI on those 15 minutes.

    Caroline Guntur
    Caroline GunturOrganizing & Productivity Coach, The Swedish Organizer LLC

    Task-Swapping for Energy Management

    Recognizing that different tasks require different energy levels, I use a 'task-swapping' strategy. I alternate between high-energy and low-energy tasks throughout the day to maintain consistent productivity without burnout. It helps me manage my energy levels better and keeps me engaged and efficient in my work.

    Vanessa Anello
    Vanessa AnelloProfessional Development Consultant, Workforce Charm, LLC

    Marketing Power Hours Strategy

    Here's an approach to time management that I adopted when I took the position of Marketing Director at Whitaker's Chocolates; I call this approach my 'Marketing Power Hours!'

    Morning Focus Sessions: Dedicate the first two hours of each day to deep work on high-priority tasks without interruptions. This could include strategic planning, campaign development, or analyzing market trends.

    Theme Days: Assign each day of the week to specific marketing activities to streamline focus:

    Monday: Market Research and Data Analysis - Study market trends, consumer behavior, and competitor strategies.

    Tuesday: Content Creation - Develop engaging content for blogs, social media, and newsletters.

    Wednesday: Campaign Planning - Outline and plan upcoming marketing campaigns.

    Thursday: Execution and Implementation - Launch campaigns, coordinate with team members, and ensure everything is running smoothly.

    Friday: Review and Reporting - Analyze the success of campaigns, gather insights, and prepare reports for continuous improvement.

    Meeting-Free Mornings: Reserve afternoons for collaborative tasks and team meetings to ensure mornings are kept free for focused, uninterrupted work.

    Weekly Review and Planning: Every Friday afternoon, conduct a review of the week’s accomplishments and challenges. Use this time to plan for the upcoming week, setting clear priorities and goals.

    Time Blocking: Use time blocking to schedule specific tasks within each themed day. This helps maintain structure and ensures dedicated time for all important activities.

    I find by implementing this structured yet flexible approach, I can enhance productivity, reduce task-switching, and ensure a balanced focus on all critical aspects of my role.

    Gemma Whitaker
    Gemma WhitakerMarketing Director, Whitakers Chocolates