Time Management: How to Choose and Use Effective Techniques

Time management is essential for success both inside and outside of school grounds. With effective time management techniques, students clarify their goals and prioritize their most important tasks, thereby increasing productivity and allowing for more free time.


However, not all time management techniques are created equal. Students should analyze and experiment with different methods to ascertain which techniques best suit their unique needs. To do so, students should follow the general steps of planning, prioritizing, and finally choosing the most beneficial time management plan.


Planning and Prioritization

The first step entails creating a general plan based on the student’s individual needs and wants. Students should consider the following questions:

  1. Do you want a rigid or more flexible schedule?

  2. How much do you need to get done in a day?

  3. How much time do you have?

  4. When do you work best?

  5. How frequently do you need breaks?

  6. How can you minimize distractions?

By answering these questions, students can effectively choose the best techniques for themselves. For example, a student who needs a rigid schedule can optimize their time by creating specific time blocks on Google Calendar for work and leisure. In contrast, learners who require a more flexible plan can utilize a to-do list that tells them what tasks they need to accomplish but allows them to complete each when they want to. Ultimately, by planning ahead, students can avoid distractions such as TV, take necessary breaks to stay motivated and work when they are most productive.


Eisenhower Matrix

There is only so much time in a day, but time-efficient students can optimize their day for both work and leisure. The Eisenhower Matrix allows learners to prioritize their tasks by categorizing them.


With this method, students sort tasks into a personalized hierarchy: urgent and important, urgent and not important, not urgent and important, and not urgent and not important. Students start with goals in the first category. Tasks that are urgent and not important can be delegated or done when the student has time. Projects that are important but not urgent are scheduled for another time of the student’s choosing. Finally, tasks that are neither urgent nor important are deleted.


Time Management Techniques

There are countless time management techniques, but some of the most popular and useful ones are listed here. In addition to a definition of each technique, there will be a brief description of what type of person is best suited for each.


Pomodoro Technique

With the Pomodoro Technique, students work for 25 minutes and then have a five minute break. If they need to do multiple sets of this cycle, they take a break for fifteen minutes after the fourth work period. This technique is best for those who need shorter study sessions and shorter but more frequent breaks, thereby relieving stress and preserving motivation.


Flowtime

An alternative to the Pomodoro Technique is Flowtime. Students set a specific time period and establish how long they can focus on work before taking a break. They then use that information for future study sessions. This is useful for all students because they can create personalized study strategies and limits without the constraints of a premade technique.


52/17 Technique

By using 52/17, students work for 52 minutes before breaking for seventeen minutes. This technique is best for those who are able to focus for longer periods of time and prefer to take longer breaks.


Get Things Done (GTD)

There are multiple steps to this technique:

  1. Capture everything that comes to mind, including ideas and tasks.

  2. Analyze and decide what to do with each item, such as delegating, doing, deleting, or scheduling them.

  3. Organize these tasks by putting them in a calendar or noting them somewhere safe.

  4. Review these tasks by updating lists and removing irrelevant items.

  5. Work on the tasks deemed important.


This technique is best for students who value organization and require a rigid plan to get things done.


1 Minute Rule

One of the hardest parts of any task is starting. Most people do not like having to stop watching Netflix to read a biology chapter. However, students can tell themselves that they will do the task for one minute. If they still want to stop after one minute, they will do so. However, the student will probably want to continue the task after getting past the initial hurdle of starting.


This technique is best for students who often procrastinate or are unmotivated to study.


Divide It Up

Students can divide their large projects into smaller tasks. This prevents them from feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of the large project. Instead, they steadily progress through each small task until the entire project is complete. This technique is best for students who easily get anxious and overwhelmed at the thought of a large project. It can also help those who struggle with seeing the details of the big picture.


Batch Time

Students can group a set of similar tasks together. By implementing this technique, they do not have to adjust their brain to focus on chemistry then the unrelated world history, for instance. Instead, they can work on chemistry before working on math. This workflow enhances concentration and productivity.


This also works for specific types of projects. For example, if a student has to create an English and math slideshow, it is easier to finish both instead of going from the English slideshow to chemistry practice problems to the math slideshow.


Batch time is best for students who do not switch focus easily and prefer to have a smoother workflow.


Eat That Frog

By using this technique, students “eat the frog” or do the most difficult and time-consuming task first. By doing so, they eliminate a huge part of their workload and are more motivated to finish other assignments. Eat That Frog is best for students who struggle with motivation and are prone to overthinking. By simply doing the hardest task, they improve their discipline and achieve their goals.


Ultimately, students can choose their favorite time management methods from a plethora of techniques. By planning, prioritizing, and finally choosing the techniques best suited for themselves, students create a system that can be used effectively for the rest of their life.


 

Sources

“18 Effective Time Management Strategies & TECHNIQUES: UPWORK.” RSS, www.upwork.com/resources/time-management-strategies?utm_source=google&utm_campaign=SEM_GGL_US_NonBrand_Marketplace_DSA&utm_medium=cpc&utm_content=111050689163&utm_term=&campaignid=348930905&matchtype=b&device=c&gclid=CjwKCAjwxo6IBhBKEiwAXSYBsz07xqMpSTjS8wh4qRPVrpz9GmVwvFlJdMKhewkwN3fqcB7Zsi5nAhoC16MQAvD_BwE.

“10 Popular Time Management Techniques.” RSS, www.brightpod.com/boost/10-popular -time-management-techniques.