Managing time effectively is a skill that everyone needs to master. With the non-stop hustle and bustle and cities that do not sleep, time is a critically important and precious resource that people need to manage. If not, it is easy to feel like we don’t have enough time to do the things we want and love.

Time management has a significant influence and impact on how we go about our daily lives. It affects our productivity and efficiency. This can domino down and affect the way we eat, sleep, and live, impacting our overall well-being.

Considering all this, it is critical that we understand and learn how to properly manage our time. One effective way to do so is to recognize the science behind effective time management strategies. Learning about the possible neurological, psychological, and practice facts involved in such techniques can help us further comprehend how time management works.With that in mind, here is a comprehensive overview of different time management strategies explaining the science behind them. 


How Science Explains Time and Time Perception

Before jumping into the different time management strategies, let’s first discuss how scientists and researchers view and perceive time. In the most basic sense, a layperson would define time as the seconds, minutes, and hours in a day and that all of us have 24 hours from day to night.

However, time is actually a multifaceted concept that is viewed, perceived, and discussed differently based on the discipline or perspective.

The field of physics sees time as something that is abstract and not absolute. Time, according to Einstein’s theory of relativity, can also be influenced by other factors and perceived differently by individuals in varying relative speeds and gravitational fields.

On the other hand, psychology looks at time as something that is subjective and influenced by personal experiences and perceptions. Factors such as the individual’s engagement, emotional state, and the external environment can affect how a person views time.

Neuroscience, the study that focuses on the brain and the nervous system, believes that specific areas of the brain influence how a person perceives time and time intervals. It argues that more engaging activities trigger hormones that make time feel like it is passing faster, while mundane activities can make time feel slower. 


The Science of Time Management and Boosting Productivity

The goal of time management strategies is to help individuals control their day-to-day activities to create a more productive and efficient lifestyle. With that, here are some of the effective time management strategies backed by science. 


SMART Goals: Efficient Time Management

Goal setting is a critical step in any process. It allows us to keep track and stay focused on the target goals and objectives. However, there is an even more effective way to set goals in relation to time management and time allocation.

Setting SMART goals is a strategy used to determine goals that SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. It is primarily used to ensure that efforts, resources, and time are allocated properly and accurately for the most productive and efficient results. 

SMART goals are designed to provide people with the clarity they need to understand which tasks to prioritize over others. It also offers a clear picture of the time needed to accomplish each task and objective as well as how it contributes to the main goal. However, it is important to understand that SMART goals don’t need to be grand. All it aims to do is avoid vague objectives that can easily discourage or mislead some people. 


The Eisenhower Matrix: Task Prioritization

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Knowing which tasks to work on first is a key strategy for time management. It encourages people to allocate the most time, effort, and resources to the hardest tasks, ideally at the start of the day.

The Eisenhower Matrix is a renowned framework developed by former U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower. It is a task and time management process that aims to organize tasks based on their importance and urgency. The matrix consists of a four-box square with specific labels – urgent, not urgent, important, and not important.

The first quadrant (I) categorizes tasks as urgent and important. Quadrant II identifies tasks as important but not urgent, while Quadrant III determines that the task is urgent but not important. Lastly, the fourth quadrant (IV) states that the tasks listed are both not important and not urgent.

The goal of the Eisenhower matrix is to categorize tasks accordingly. This helps identify the most impactful and important tasks, which allows users to allot the necessary time and resources needed to complete them. 

James Clear, a productivity expert, supports the Eisenhower Matrix stating that the quadrants can also be viewed as something related to productivity and delegation. 

According to Clear, Quadrant I includes tasks that you personally need to do while Quadrant II involves tasks that you can decide to do now or schedule at a later time. Quadrant III are tasks that should be delegated while Quadrant IV are tasks that are neither urgent nor important, therefore can be disregarded.

In terms of time management, the Eisenhower Matrix is a framework that can be used to identify tasks they should spend the most and least time on. The first quadrant (I) includes important tasks that require immediate attention. Ideally, tasks on the first quadrant should be accomplished first before moving on to any of the following quadrants. 


Pomodoro Technique: Utilizing Rest For Better Focus

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The Pomodoro technique is undoubtedly one of the most popular time management strategies. It is a simple method that encourages long periods of focus to increase productivity. However, a critical element of the Pomodoro technique is the periodical breaks in between periods of focus to prevent feelings of overwork and fatigue.

Research shows that working for long hours without breaks can either lead to stress or a sense of boredom. Cognitive boredom is a term used to describe the disengagement that occurs when someone is working on a considerably mundane or repetitive task for long periods of time. 

Another study also states that sedentary work, such as those in front of a computer, can lead to an unprecedented loss of focus as the brain is not stimulated enough. 

The Pomodoro technique aims to minimize stress, fatigue, and boredom by breaking down tasks into something that is smaller and more manageable within a short period of time. 

Generally, Pomodoro timers are set at 25 minutes of focus to 5 minutes of rest. By following this, users push themselves to focus for the whole 25 minutes to accomplish as much as they can. Then, they get a quick 5-minute break to stretch their legs, grab a drink, or simply take their eyes off the screen before coming back for another set of 25:5.

However, the periodical breaks in the Pomodoro strategy actually have another benefit. Aside from giving the user some time to rest, these breaks also allow them to maintain their focus and attention span on the task at hand for longer. 

Circadian Rhythm: Natural Body Time Clock


Commonly referred to as the body clock, the circadian rhythm is the 24-hour internal clock that our body naturally operates in. It affects the body in terms of our energy levels, sleep patterns, as well as our cognitive functions. 

But how does our natural body time clock affect our productivity and time management strategies?

The concept that an individual is a morning person or a night owl in terms of productivity is primarily based on our circadian rhythm. Based on our natural body clock, we experience higher energy levels and increased cognitive functions at certain hours of the day.

One way to leverage this is to align particular tasks at times when your energy levels and cognitive functions are the highest. Studies have shown that syncing complex tasks with our circadian rhythm can lead to higher levels of productivity, increased efficiency, as well as lesser feelings of stress and fatigue.


Technology Dilemma: Productivity Tool and Distraction


Technological advancements have greatly changed today’s landscape. From mobile devices to ultra-fast wireless internet connectivity, technology has made our daily lives so much more convenient. Nowadays, technology has developed so much that it has revolutionized how people perform their tasks and work. 

However, technology also poses a dilemma. While it can exponentially boost productivity and increase efficiency, it can also be a distraction and cause someone to lose focus. Having the vast digital world in the palm of your hand can easily pull you away from urgent and important tasks. Aside from that, persistent notifications, online games, social media, and the like can take your mind off focus even for short periods.

Considering this, it is important for anyone to learn how to manage their most prevalent digital distractions. Keeping your mobile phones out of reach when working can lessen your usage. Otherwise, you can have dedicated time schedules to use and work on your digital devices such as checking and replying to emails and browsing social media. 

There is also an array of online productivity tools that can be installed to minimize distractions. Website blockers can completely stop you from opening unproductive sites, apps, and programs and force you to stay focused on work. 



Practical Time Management Tips and Tricks

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Adapt your strategy to your personality

When it comes to managing one’s self, it is important to understand that management strategies are not one-size-fits-all. That is why there’s a multitude of time management strategies. It’s because some techniques work for some people while others need to develop new more suitable ones.

With this in mind, it is essential to understand and use time management strategies that fit well with your personality. If you’re the type of person who likes feeling organized, strategies such as time blocking can work for you. However, more spontaneous people would likely fit better with less stringent time management methods such as the Pomodoro technique.

Keep in mind that it is perfectly fine to try different strategies to find the one that fits you best. 


Avoid procrastination

Procrastination is arguably one of the most dangerous productivity killers. Delaying tasks is undoubtedly not the most effective, efficient, and productive use of one’s time. 

Generally, procrastination is caused by certain psychological factors, such as the fear of failure, anxiety, loss of motivation, and even perfectionism. These make it difficult to start working and ultimately lead to hours-long procrastination, effectively wasting time.

Considering this, it is important to learn ways to overcome these issues. 


Be mindful

Self-awareness can go a long way. If you are mindful of your actions, it is easier to take a step back and take responsibility and accountability for the end results and their consequences.

In terms of time management, being mindful means being aware of how you are spending your time. This also includes acknowledging both good and bad habits regarding your productivity and efficiency. But most importantly, being mindful requires change and adjustments to build a more suitable lifestyle. 



Learning how to manage your time is an important part of boosting productivity. The less time you waste and spend on your day-to-day tasks, the more time you get to spend on yourself. 

Considering this, understanding the science behind the most popular time management strategies can help you gain insight as to what makes them particularly effective. It can also help you determine which strategies work best for your personality and circumstances.


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