How to Track Time: 7 Best Practices for Time Management

In a fast-paced and competitive society, time is a valuable thing. Yet it often seems to slip through our minds. Without good time management skills, one may struggle to complete tasks and achieve goals.

From personal endeavours to professional pursuits, properly managing time is the key to maintaining productivity. The ability to track time effectively helps us stay on top of our tasks and identify areas of improvement.

The following discussions will specifically cater to this issue. We've curated the seven best ways to help you build time management skills and stay on top of your priorities. You may also find more opportunities for personal growth and a healthier work-life balance. So, keep reading!

Why Time Management Matters

Procrastination is one of the most evident consequences of poor time management. We've all experienced those moments of delaying essential tasks, only to find ourselves scrambling at the last minute, overwhelmed by stress and frustration.

As reported by the American Psychological Association, approximately 20% of adults fall into the category of chronic procrastinators. It proves further that the majority of workers need better time management, including something as simple as prioritizing urgent tasks.

Moreover, not managing and allocating time can adversely affect both personal and professional aspects. Some negative aftermaths of poor time management are missed deadlines, low productivity, poor task quality, increased anxiety, and lack of work-life balance.

Meanwhile, on the contrary, allocating time can lead to personal satisfaction and positive results, such as higher quality work, better decision-making, enhanced focus, and positive reputations. To help you work more efficiently, here are the seven ways to build time management skills.

1. List Your Priorities and Goals

The easiest way to build time management skills is to list your tasks and goals. Continue sorting important and urgent tasks to create a prioritized listing that aligns with the goals you want to achieve.

Pen down a to-do list or use a task management app to organize your responsibilities. Having a clear list of priorities helps you focus on what truly matters, ensuring you allocate time and energy to the most crucial tasks first.

For example, spend the morning creating social media content and plan it in to be published at the recommended times. This way you free up time later in the afternoon to work on other items on your to-do list. Even though this strategy isn't the most efficient, it can help build a fundamental capability for better time management skills.

2. Break Down Your Task

Breaking down tasks involves dividing larger projects or activities into smaller, more manageable sub-tasks. This practice helps prevent overwhelm and makes it easier to approach complex assignments.

When you manage a big task into smaller parts, you can set specific milestones and track your progress more effectively. Additionally, completing smaller sub-tasks provides a sense of accomplishment, boosting motivation and encouraging you to progress.

Moreover, smaller, more manageable tasks also motivate you to work faster and allow you to allocate time more accurately. You can estimate how long each sub-task will take and plan your schedule accordingly.

3. Leverage Time Management Tools

In the age of technology, many time management tools and apps are available. These tools help you stay organized and track your time efficiently, from simple to-do list apps to sophisticated project management software.

Time-tracking apps and timers help you record the time spent on different tasks, providing valuable data for analysis and improvement. Calendar apps allow you to schedule and prioritize your activities, ensuring you don't overlook any essential commitments.

Using AI-powered tools can be a great option if you're a team leader of a remote team. You can easily distribute tasks, set deadlines, and streamline the workflow of your team members. Besides, such tools can generate reports of your team's performance.

4. Set Time Limits for Tasks

Setting time limits for tasks is a key element of effective time management. Once you have your prioritized list of tasks, allocate specific time slots for each activity. The Eisenhower Matrix and Pomodoro Technique are effective strategies for setting time limits and maximizing productivity.

The Eisenhower Matrix (the Urgent-Important Matrix) helps you classify tasks based on their importance. It requires you to divide your tasks into four quadrants: Urgent and Important (Do First), Important but Not Urgent (Schedule), Urgent but Not Important (Delegate), and Not Urgent and Not Important (Minimize/Eliminate).

Meanwhile, the Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that involves breaking work into intervals, typically 25 minutes, separated by short breaks. For example, set a timer for 25 minutes for working, then take a short break of 5 minutes. You can extend your intervals to 15-30 minutes.

The time limits set by these techniques instill discipline in your time management approach. In the long run, you can manage more success while avoiding migraines and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

5. Minimize Possible Distractions

Distractions are productivity's nemesis and can significantly disrupt your time management efforts. Identifying potential distractions in your environment and taking steps to minimize them is crucial.

These distractions could be external, like phone notifications, social media, and noisy surroundings, or internal, such as daydreaming or lack of focus. Consider creating a dedicated workspace free from distractions, silencing unnecessary notifications, or using website blockers when working on critical tasks.

6. Record Your Performance

Tracking your time and recording your performance is essential for continuous improvement in time management. Keep a journal, use time-tracking apps, or maintain a productivity log to document how you spend your time throughout the day.

This record allows you to analyze your habits, identify patterns, and discover areas for improvement. You can assess whether you are meeting your time limits for tasks, identify time-wasting activities, and adjust your schedule accordingly.

You don't have to track your time daily. Weekly monitoring and analysis also work fine. Regularly reviewing your performance data enables you to make informed decisions, refine your time management strategies, and achieve better outcomes in the long run.

7. Analyze and Adjust Your Time Management

Task and time schedules aren't set in stone. In the dynamic world, circumstances change, and new challenges arise regularly. As a result, you may have to continually redevelop your time management strategies and adjust your priorities, depending on your workload.

To analyze your performance, set aside time (weekly or monthly) to evaluate your time management performance. This evaluation should involve a comprehensive analysis of how you've spent your time, including completed tasks, time spent on each task, and any deviations from your planned schedule.

Identify any challenges or obstacles you faced while managing your time. Consider what caused these challenges and explore potential solutions to overcome them in the future. If specific time management techniques work well for you, continue using them.

If you notice inefficiencies or areas for improvement, try adopting a new strategy. Don't be discouraged by mistakes or setbacks in your time management journey. Instead, view them as learning opportunities and use them to refine your approach.


Mastering the art of time management is an invaluable skill that can transform your life. By adopting the seven best practices outlined in this article, you can harness the power of effective time tracking, prioritization, and focus to enhance your productivity and overall well-being.

Time management is not a one-size-fits-all approach because your journey is unique, and finding the perfect balance may take time. The benefits of proper time management extend far beyond just completing tasks; they extend to achieving personal goals, nurturing relationships, and finding time for self-care and leisure.

About the Author:

Andre Oentoro is the founder of Breadnbeyond, an award-winning explainer video company. He helps businesses increase conversion rates, close more sales, and get positive ROI from explainer videos (in that order).

LinkedIn: Andre Oentoro

Email/Gravatar: [email protected]

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