Which Personal Time Management Techniques Significantly Impact a Professional’s Life?


    Which Personal Time Management Techniques Significantly Impact a Professional’s Life?

    In the pursuit of mastering the clock, we've gathered wisdom from top professionals including CEOs and Time Management Consultants. Exploring techniques ranging from planning weekly for proactive living to labeling tasks by urgency for priority, here are twelve transformative personal time management strategies that have profoundly influenced their professional lives.

    • Plan Weekly for Proactive Living
    • Prioritize Tasks for Focused Excellence
    • Combine Time-Blocking with Processing
    • Maintain a Running Task List
    • Match Tasks with Energy Levels
    • Handle Sub-5-Minute Tasks Immediately
    • Use the Eisenhower Matrix for Clarity
    • Work with a Timer for Focus
    • Apply the 80/20 Rule for Impact
    • Keep a Personal Calendar for Tasks
    • Allocate Time Blocks for Efficiency
    • Implement Theme Days for Structure
    • Label Tasks by Urgency for Priority

    Plan Weekly for Proactive Living

    Weekly planning has had the most significant impact by far! Every Friday, I start by writing out (yes, on paper) the things I know I need to do in the coming week for both my life and my work. After that, I fill in the gaps with the things I hope to complete during the remaining time—for both my life and my work. Finally, I utilize digital reinforcement to support my plans and communicate important information to others.

    By making my plans a full week in advance, I am able to see what is coming and ensure I am prepared instead of stressed. This practice has helped me to live and work more proactively. Through weekly planning, I am more present in life and even more productive in my days.

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

    Prioritize Tasks for Focused Excellence

    I am using quite a few different techniques in my attempt to manage the workload. I prioritize, typically giving favor to small tasks to quickly cross them off my list and reduce visual task clutter and overwhelm. I use to-do lists with monthly and daily planning that I regularly review to adjust and stay on track. I block time for my morning and evening routines and for continuous education. I don't set time goals or toxic goals; instead, I keep the destination in mind and diligently focus only on the task at hand to give it all my attention and achieve excellence in results. I don't use social media or watch movies or TV. I've learned to remain flexible, as even meticulously planned projects aren't immune to getting derailed. I keep my mind empty so I don't experience any negative thoughts or emotions that can stop me from progressing towards my destination.

    Erin Andrea Craske
    Erin Andrea CraskeExecutive Coach, Business Advisor, Educator, Effortless

    Combine Time-Blocking with Processing

    What's had the most impact for me has been a combination of time-blocking and the concept of 'processing.' In time-blocking, it's physically scheduling specific timeframes where I'll only work on one task; this allows me to not stress about when something needs to be done or trying to keep track in my head. I combine that with processing, which is explicitly different than checking emails. With checking emails, I just briefly scan to see if there is anything urgent that needs my attention. With processing, it's a specific time set aside each day to look through each email/to-do item and decide what needs to be done with it (if anything) and, if necessary, when it needs to be done by. Together, I'm drastically more productive, even when there are multiple impending tasks that need to be done.

    Chris Wong
    Chris WongOwner, Executive Coach, Leadership Potential

    Maintain a Running Task List

    Write it down! I have a running list of tasks I need to complete on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Having a list means I'm not wasting time trying to remember what needs to be done or choosing what to work on next. I can glance at the list, pick a task, and run with it. I find I accomplish more this way, whether it's household chores, errands, or something related to my writing business.

    Alli Hill
    Alli HillFounder and Director, Fleurish Freelance

    Match Tasks with Energy Levels

    One misconception about time management has to do with the idea that 'if you put it on your calendar, it will get done.' That's not always the case. Sure, it (whatever 'it' happens to be) has a better chance of getting done, yes, but you have to mindfully plan your approach. It's not just about 'scheduling' tasks. It's about scheduling them at the right time.

    When you sit down to plan out when to do what, you have to match the task at hand with the amount of energy it will require. If you schedule a bunch of low-energy tasks when you are high-energy yourself, your time could have been put to much better use. If you schedule a bunch of high-energy tasks when you are low on energy yourself, you will try to avoid them, or half-ass them at best.

    This is why I work out in the mornings, and not in the evenings. This is why I cook in the mornings, and not in the afternoons. Later in the day, I am much more likely to skip these activities, and therefore struggle with consistency. You have to understand yourself in order to successfully manage your time and calendar. It's not just about scheduling tasks on your calendar whenever there is an open slot - it's about asking yourself: 'When is the RIGHT time to schedule this task?'

    This holds true both for your personal and your professional life because the two are deeply intertwined. What affects you at home affects you at work, and vice versa. We must consider both sides of the coin.

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

    Handle Sub-5-Minute Tasks Immediately

    If I can do something in five minutes or less, I do it right away rather than putting it on my to-do list for later in the day, even if it isn't something super important. Getting bogged down in little things isn't ideal, but in my experience, it is far better than letting them pile up and snowball to the point where they start causing you stress and taking mental energy away from actually important work that you should be doing with a clear mind and a clear calendar. You should still prioritize things in order of importance and the time it will take you to accomplish said task, but these little bits of admin or the like should really just be knocked off right away so you don't have to think about them moving forward. It has really helped with the little niggling stress at the back of your mind that you have a to-do list that has 20 items on it.

    Kate Kandefer
    Kate KandeferCEO, SEOwind

    Use the Eisenhower Matrix for Clarity

    One time-management technique that really changed the game for me in my professional life is using the Eisenhower Matrix. It's like this cool tool that helps me figure out what tasks are super important and need to be done right away, and which ones can wait a bit. It's all about sorting tasks into four groups: stuff that's both urgent and important, stuff that's important but not urgent, stuff that's urgent but not really that important, and stuff that's neither urgent nor important.

    So, instead of feeling totally swamped with a million things to do, the Eisenhower Matrix helps me focus on the stuff that really matters for reaching my goals. It's like putting on a pair of glasses that helps me see clearly what's important and what's just a distraction. Plus, it's not just about making a to-do list—it's about making smart decisions about how to spend my time and energy.

    Phil Mcparlane
    Phil McparlaneFounder & CEO, 4DayWeekJobs

    Work with a Timer for Focus

    The single most effective tip I have for managing your time better is to use a timer when you need to work. It forces you to start even when you don't feel like it, and it helps you focus because when the timer is running, you know it's time to work and not check something that just popped into your head. People often set the timer for 30 minutes, but I often set it for 60 minutes when I'm writing. At the end of the day, you'll also have a much better idea of how much time you actually spend working.

    Nina Joanna
    Nina JoannaContent Creator, Goals Calling

    Apply the 80/20 Rule for Impact

    I started using the 80/20 rule, which means I focus on the few things that really make a difference. It turns out most of my results come from just 20% of my work. By zeroing in on what matters most, I've been able to do more important stuff without working all the time. It's like finding a shortcut to being productive, and it's made a huge difference for me.

    Tobias Liebsch
    Tobias LiebschCo-Founder, Fintalent.io

    Keep a Personal Calendar for Tasks

    I always have my own calendar of activities to keep track of the tasks that I need to accomplish and other commitments that I must attend to. This strategic approach facilitates effective time management and priority setting, thereby optimizing productivity and ensuring the attainment of my daily objectives.

    Carmela Florido
    Carmela FloridoDigital Demand Generator Intern, Fortify SEO

    Allocate Time Blocks for Efficiency

    I was always someone who struggled with following a schedule and managing their time effectively. It always felt like there weren't enough hours in the day to get everything done.


    That couldn't continue when I decided to become an entrepreneur and launch my own business. It was crucial that I learn how to manage my time better. That is when I started allocating time blocks for every task in my life, and I've never looked back!

    I divide my days into blocks of time, 30 minutes long. If it's a bigger task, I can expand that to 1 hour. Each block is dedicated to a particular activity or task. After half an hour, I pause to reflect on my progress. Knowing that I have a ticking clock to complete my work, I can get so much more done in those 30 minutes.

    Tony Taylor
    Tony TaylorFounder, A1 Auto Transport

    Implement Theme Days for Structure

    One unique personal time-management technique that has significantly improved my productivity as the head of a busy recruiting firm is implementing 'theme days.' Assigning specific themes or focuses to each day of the week has allowed me to structure my tasks and priorities based on the theme for that particular day.

    For instance, we have 'Strategy Mondays,' where I dedicate my time to setting goals, reviewing performance metrics, and identifying areas for growth and improvement. Tuesdays are focused on client meetings and business development, while Wednesdays are reserved for team meetings and internal operations.

    By dedicating each day to a specific theme, I am able to maintain a clear and organized schedule, prioritize my tasks accordingly, and avoid getting overwhelmed by trying to juggle multiple priorities at once. This approach helps me stay focused and efficient, as I can fully immerse myself in one aspect of my business without distractions or interruptions.

    Additionally, implementing theme days has also helped me delegate tasks more effectively, as my team knows what to expect and can plan their own schedules around the designated themes. This collaborative approach has improved communication and teamwork within the organization, leading to increased productivity and better overall results.

    Joe Coletta
    Joe ColettaFounder & CEO, 180 Engineering

    Label Tasks by Urgency for Priority

    One personal time-management technique that can be particularly effective is differentiating tasks by their urgency, using labels such as 'URGENT' and 'NOT URGENT.'

    By prioritizing tasks that need immediate attention under the 'URGENT' category, you can ensure that critical deadlines are met and that important opportunities are not missed. Conversely, assigning tasks that are not time-sensitive to the 'NOT URGENT' category allows for better distribution of workload over time, preventing burnout and promoting a more balanced approach to task management.

    This strategy encourages proactive prioritization and can result in a more productive and stress-reduced professional life.

    David Rubie-Todd
    David Rubie-ToddCo-Founder & Marketing Head, Sticker It