Every minute counts: seven time management techniques

Subject:  Multidisciplinary
A man looking at his watch with a mobile phone in his hand and a computer in the background
Author: Sandra Pérez (foto: Yan Krukau de

This Library website contains more content and tips for your activities and degree final projects

The Library team offers you a selection of reading and videos containing techniques and tips to help you manage your time efficiently and productively. Here are some key points so you can start using them right away.

Seven ideas for time management

There is a wide variety of techniques for improving productivity and time management. Here is a selection:

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gestió del temps

  • Define SMART goals: stop and think about what your next goals are. Make sure that they follow the SMART principles (i.e. they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound), or in other words, they are specific and clear enough, measurable so that you can evaluate your progress, achievable with the resources you have available, relevant and involve a personal challenge; and defined in terms of time, with a specific deadline for achieving them.
  • Prioritize tasks according to their importance and urgency: you can use the Eisenhower matrix. This consists of placing tasks graphically in a table with four quadrants, according to how urgent they are (how quickly they need to be done) and how important they are (how they will affect your goals). The first two quadrants contain the activities to which you should devote the most efforts (urgent and important, and important but not urgent); and the last two are those you should postpone or cut down (urgent but not important, and neither urgent nor important).
  • The Pareto principle (the 80/20 rule): applied to time management, this principle states that 20% of the work we do is responsible for 80% of the results. The idea behind it is to identify which actions make the biggest contribution to achieving your goals, and concentrate your efforts on them.
  • Parkinson's law: this law states that "work expands to fill the time given to complete it". If you have a delivery deadline that is a long way off, the task could expand unnecessarily, and that is why planning is crucial.
  • Organize tasks in blocks of time: this method consists of dividing your day into blocks of time and allocating each block to similar tasks (answering emails, searching for information, consulting trends in your sector, etc.). It is designed to help you stay focused and avoid increasing the time you spend on each task.
  • Eat the Frog: based on Mark Twain's observation that "Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day", this method suggest that you start off your day with the most important or difficult tasks.
  • Pomodoro Technique: this consists of dividing the day into 25-minute intervals, each followed by 5 minutes of rest (pomodoros). A longer break is advisable after every four intervals to maintain concentration and avoid mental fatigue.

You can use digital tools to apply these techniques, including the following:

  • Google Keep: an app for taking notes and jotting down reminders.
  • Pomodoro Timer: for time management with work and rest intervals.
  • Trello: for organizing tasks and projects using lists.
  • Forest: an app that rewards concentration by cultivating an online forest.
  • Google Calendar: calendars are not only used to publish milestones and specific events - they are also very useful for organizing personal work or dividing tasks into blocks of time.

Choose the ones that best suit your needs and the way you work.