Time Management

Time management is the act or process of planning and exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency or productivity.

The Pareto analysis can be applied to time management. This is the idea that 80% of tasks can be completed in 20% of the disposable time. The remaining 20% of tasks will take up 80% of the time. The 80-20-rule can also be applied to increase productivity as it is assumed that 80% of the productivity can be achieved by doing 20% of the tasks. Similarly, 80% of results can be attributed to 20% of activity.

The ‘Eisenhower Method’ stems from a quote attributed to US President Dwight D. Eisenhower – ‘I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent’.

Using the Eisenhower Decision Principle, tasks are evaluated using the criteria important/unimportant and urgent/not urgent. Tasks are then handled as follows:

  • Important/urgent quadrant – Is done immediately and personally, e.g. crises, deadlines, and problems.
  • Important/not urgent quadrant – Gets an end date and are done personally, e.g. relationships, planning, and recreation.
  • Unimportant/urgent quadrant – Are delegated, e.g. interruptions, meetings, activities.
  • Unimportant/not urgent quadrant – Are dropped, e.g. time wasters, pleasant activities, trivia, and Facebook.

Many businesses use time tracking software to track an employee’s working time, billable hours etc., e.g. law practice management software. Time management systems give employers insights into their workforce, allowing them to see, plan and manage employees’ time. Doing so allows employers to control labour costs and increase productivity.