Time management is a wide and
diverse area, with different issues
and challenges for each of us.
There is no ‘one-size’ fits all solution
to Time Management.
It is important to learn the general
principles of Time Management
and then see how best they can be
applied to our lives
Benefits of Managing Time
Higher productivity and
Improvement of quality of
Implementation of important
Conservation of Energy
Less Stress, Better Health
The first step towards any learning is to establish
Identify what aspect of your Time Management
do you most want to work on.
Analyze the use of your time
Keep a time-log to the nearest minute of everything you do
over a typical working period of at least one day
Include dealing with interruptions, travel and breaks.
Highlight everything that was not planned, and make a note
alongside anything that was of special note, good or bad.
How many of the activities that you completed were planned for?
How many activities did you invest time in but had not planned to do so?
Where did you spend the most time, in planned or unplanned activities
How many important activities did you get done?
The pickle jar theory
A professor taking a time management class gave the following illustration:
“Imagine an empty pickle jar.
Now, put some large rocks in it. Put in as many as you possibly can. Until you think it’s
full. Now, I know you think it’s full, but put a couple more in anyway.
Okay, you’ve got a full pickle jar that you can’t fit anything else into, right? Now, put some
pebbles in. Put as many in as you can possibly fit, and raise your hand when you feel
your jar is full. Now, take your full jar and take sand and, you guessed it, fill that jar
until you can’t possibly fit anymore in, and then add some water.
I am sure the significance of this little exercise hasn’t escaped any of you. Each of us has
many large priorities in our life, represented by the large rocks. We also have things
which we enjoy doing, such as the pebbles. We have other things we have to do, like
the sand. And finally, we have things that simply clutter up our lives and get in
None of these are bad things. After all, we need the gamut of these objects—from large
priorities to times of rest—in order to feel truly fulfilled. No Time Management theory
should be without balance, and the Pickle Jar theory is all about balance. You make
time for everything, and everything simply fits well where it is supposed to fit.”
Important v/s Urgent
Urgent Not Urgent
DO NOW PLAN TO DO
REJECT RESIST AND
Not AND CEASE
Quadrant 1 – Urgent and Important
emergencies, complaints and
demands from superiors or
planned tasks or project work
meetings and appointments
reports and other submissions
staff issues or needs
problem resolution, fire-
Dealing with the activities in Quadrant 1
Subject to confirming the importance and the urgency of these
tasks, these tasks need doing now.
Prioritize tasks that fall into this category according to their
If two or more tasks appear equally urgent, discuss and probe
the actual requirements and deadlines with the task
originators or with the people dependent on the task
Help the originators of these demands to re-assess the real
urgency and priority of these tasks.
Dealing with the activities in Quadrant 1
If helpful you should show your schedule to task originators in
order to explain that you are prioritizing in a logical way,
and to be as productive and effective as possible.
Look for ways to break a task into two stages if it's an
unplanned demand - often a suitable initial 'holding'
response or acknowledgment, with a commitment to
resolve or complete at a later date, will enable you to
resume other planned tasks.
Quadrant 2 – Not Urgent But Important
PLAN TO DO
systems and process
anticipation and prevention
developing change, direction,
Dealing with the activities in Quadrant 2
These tasks are most critical to success, and yet commonly
are the most neglected.
These activities include planning, strategic thinking,
deciding direction and aims, etc., all crucial for success and
You must plan time-slots for doing these tasks, and if
necessary plan where you will do them free from
Break big tasks down into separate logical stages and plan
time-slots for each stage.
REJECT AND EXPLAIN
trivial requests from others
ad-hoc interruptions and distractions
misunderstandings appearing as
pointless routines or activities
accumulated unresolved trivia
boss's whims or tantrums
Scrutinise and probe demands. Help
originators to re-assess. Wherever
possible reject and avoid these tasks
sensitively and immediately.
Dealing with the activities in Quadrant 3
3 - REJECT (DIPLOMATICALLY)
Scrutinise these demands ruthlessly, and help originators - even your
boss and your senior managers - to re-assess the real importance of
these tasks. Practice and develop your ability to explain and justify to
task originators why you cannot do these tasks.
Where possible reject and avoid these tasks immediately, informing
and managing people's expectations and sensitivities accordingly;
explain why you cannot do these tasks and help the originator find
another way of achieving what they need, which might involve
delegation to another person, or re-shaping the demand to be more
strategic, with a more sustainable solution.
Look for causes of repeating demands in this area and seek to prevent
re-occurrence. Educate and train others, including customers,
suppliers, fellow staff and superiors, to identify long-term remedies, not
just quick fixes. For significant repeating demands in this area, create a
project to resolve cause, which will be a quadrant 2 task. Challenge
habitual systems, processes, procedures and expectations
RESIST AND CEASE
'comfort' activities, computer games, net
surfing, excessive cigarette breaks
chat, gossip, social communications
daydreaming, doodling, over-long breaks
reading nonsense or irrelevant material
unnecessary adjusting equipment etc.
embellishment and over-production
Habitual 'comforters' not true tasks. Non-
productive, de-motivational. Minimise or
cease altogether. Plan to avoid them.
Dealing with the activities in Quadrant 4
4 - RESIST AND CEASE
These activities are not tasks, they are habitual comforters
which provide a refuge from the effort of discipline and
proactivity. These activities affirm the same 'comfort-
seeking' tendencies in other people; a group or whole
department all doing a lot of this quadrant 4 activity creates
a non-productive and ineffective organizational culture.
These activities have no positive outcomes, and are
The best method for ceasing these activities, and for
removing temptation to gravitate back to them, is to have a
clear structure or schedule of tasks for each day, which you
should create in quadrant 2.
Your Daily Time Matrix
Maintain a diary of your daily time matrix for a
minimum period of 7 days.
Classify the activities that you have do into one of
the 4 columns
At the end of the week, find out which quadrant
do you spend most of your time in
What can you do to make it better
The “How to’s” of Time
How To Use E-mail Effectively
How To Plan Your Day
How To Stop Procrastinating
How To Say No
How To Prepare For
How To Prevent Interruptions
How To Get Cooperation from
How To Delegate
Tips to Tame Time
Write down your long-term goals.
Every day, divide your tasks into A, B and C priorities. Always
start with a high priority "A" task, even if you can only
accomplish a small part of it.
Block off time for activities that are important.
Stop spending time on trivia.
Have the courage to say no.
Always start meetings on time.
Avoid procrastination by completing unpleasant tasks first.
Create time for balance in your life.
The bad news is… time flies.
The good news is… you're the
-- Michael Altshuler
Remember!! The keys to effective time management
is knowing where you want to go (objective) and
knowing how to get there (planning)
“Cheshire Puss” Alice began, “Would you tell me, please,
which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where want to get to” said the
“I don’t much care where…” said Alice
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go” said the Cat
“… so long as I get somewhere” Alice added as an
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk