"Ordinary people think merely of spending time, great people think of using it."

Arthur Schopenhauer

Does time management and productivity mean the same? Then if anyone who manages time effectively should be productive? Well, even though they sound similar, time management and productivity are closely related yet, they are different from each other.

Let us take a scenario to understand time management and productivity better.

There are two persons A & B working in a company. A finishes two jobs in a day, while B finishes five jobs in a day. Does that mean B is more productive than A? He managed his time in a better way to accomplish five jobs instead of two. But time management alone is not the measure of productivity. What if there are reworks and B has to take three more days to complete these five tasks, while A in his pace completes six jobs in three days effectively and efficiently. So, in the above scenario A is considered productive.

What is Time Management?

Time management is allocating certain time to every task in hand and accomplishing it.

What is Productivity?

Productivity is allocating certain time to every task in hand and accomplishing it efficiently & effectively.

Time management and productivity are closely connected but they are two separate entities.

Why Time Management Is Important To Be Productive?

The Pareto principle states that for many outcomes, roughly 80% of consequences come from 20% of the causes.

So going by this, 80% fruitful outcomes come from 20% of the efforts. To be highly productive, one should concentrate on how they allocate their time.

The Eisenhower Box for Productivity:

Now that we know allocating time is the most important part of being highly productive, let us strategize how to allocate the time for getting maximum efficiency.

Eisenhower’s strategy is to take actions based on organizing your tasks.

What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.

Dwight Eisenhower


Every task we have in hand comes into four possible categories.

1) Urgent & Important: Things that need your immediate attention. Example, having a client call, drafting an important email. These kinds of tasks, you have to DO – Do it immediately.

2) Urgent & Not Important: These are things that are urgent, and have to be done now but not that important for you to do yourself. Example: scheduling a call, sending out template response, booking a flight etc. The tasks that you can DELEGATE, have an assistant or some staff to get it done for you.

3) Important & Not Urgent: There are some tasks which are important for you to carry out but don’t have to be done immediately. Example, exercising, checking out a business magazine, reading a book, calling a friend or family. These things you have to DECIDE, schedule a fixed time to do it.

4) Not Important & Not Urgent: These are tasks, that kills your time and productivity. Example sorting spam mails, browsing through social media, watching television in work hours. These are tasks that you have to DISCARD from your working hours.

Practical Strategy to Increase Productivity with Time Management

Any life change that you want to make, one important thing you need is Self-awareness. You need to know yourself, your personality, your characteristics etc. to set a schedule for yourself.

1) Time Journal – Check how you spend your time:

Now that you are determined to be more productive, assess where you spend your time. Time tracker apps or a simple journal would do. Make patterns to determine

  1. Your most productive hours
  2. Tasks that consume more time
  3. Time when you are distracted
  4.  How much time you spend in meetings
  5.  Dead time/ time that you don’t use for doing something meaningful.


2) Task Organization – Determine your priorities:

We already spoke about Eisenhower’s strategy. You have already recorded all the tasks that you might have in a day. Now categorize them into urgent, important and not important. Taking away non-important tasks from your schedule will free up a lot of time.


3) Planning – Preparation

Making a plan is very critical. Make a schedule either before starting the day or schedule the next day before closing the day. Whatever works for, but scheduling is the key. Keep a digital scheduler or good old paper planner. Make sure you are following the schedule and always keep your scheduler/planner with you.


4) Keep Yourself Organized

When you need things, they have to be at the right place at the right time. Do not waste time searching for things – be it an important file or a pencil or a small sticky note. Keeping your workspace organized saves plenty of time. Decluttered space gives you a best opportunity to be more productive.


5) Set Reminders

Having a schedule is one thing. Following it is entirely another thing. Set reminders using an app or good old alarm will help you time your tasks and complete them.


6) Eliminate Distractions

Distractions in your environment need to be eliminated. Your time journal from step one would have clearly indicated your least productive time and distractions. Keep them away. Keep your mobile silent to free yourself from electronic distractions like calls, messages. For emails, set a specific time of day to check them.


7) Make Use of Dead Time

Commuting to your workplace, waiting for an appointment, time left after completing a task early etc where you don’t do anything comprise of dead time. Instead, you can plan and use that time for checking/responding to emails/messages. You can use the dead-time to take a break, walk or do some stress busting breathing exercises to keep you fresh.  


8) Do not multitask

Multitasking may seem like a better way to complete multiple tasks and get extra work done. But one of the major productivity killers is multitasking. You may end up not finishing any of the tasks. Setting your focus on one task, completing it in the stipulated time is important for getting more productivity.


9) Reward Yourself

Any new change in your life can be accomplished in a better way with a good motivation. You can give yourself a small reward for every day you stick to your schedule or for every task you complete on time.


10) Taking a break

Sometimes doing a lot of work without a break may make you feel exhausted. It gets difficult to concentrate, stay focused and motivated. Having downtime in between your tasks will help you to clear your head. Consider having a short walk or meditation or even a small nap between tasks to keep yourself refreshed.

When you are managing your time effectively, it improves your productivity. More than that it helps you be stress free and grab more opportunities. Are you stuck managing your time or can see you lack productivity and need help in organizing your time? Talk to us. Our coaches at Peakin are here to help you out.