Planning tools for effective time management

Planning Tools
Max Miller
Max Miller
20 February 2024
6 min

It is impossible to combine different activities, leisure, personal affairs without proper planning. It is a tool that helps you to put your life in order, make it more organised, calm, get rid of stress. So, you have firmly decided to master the technology of time management to have more time for less time, to increase your efficiency. How do you choose the right planning tools? How can you use them to successfully distribute all your tasks and get extra time for rest or solving important tasks?

In fact, the choice of a scheduling system depends on the personal preferences of the user and the daily to-do’s they have to do on a regular basis. In this article, we will look at the most popular methods of organising your to-do’s to make it easier for you to decide which one suits you best.

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The best tools for effective time management

We have listed traditional remedies and new techniques that greatly simplify the life of any busy person.

Paper and pen

Using these tools is very convenient. You simply take a piece of paper, write down all your daily tasks on a regular basis. Then you highlight the most important ones and start doing them, gradually crossing out the completed tasks.

The pros of the method:

  • Simplicity and accessibility. Wherever you are, you can always find something to write with and on.
  • This is a versatile method suitable for all occasions.

His disadvantages:

  • It takes a lot of time to master the simplest time management techniques on paper. For example, to change the arrangement of tasks, you have to rewrite the lists repeatedly.
  • Paper won’t be able to remind you of important events or appointments.

Paper diary

This is a special notepad with a calendar grid layout that can be used to plan various events. It also has numbered pages for making to-do lists. You can choose a standard planner or a creative variant with tips, tests, description of modern planning algorithms.


  • Regular keeping of a diary disciplines, helps to maintain order in work, personal affairs.
  • The paper carrier has an attractive design, looks stylish, modern.


  • The possibilities of a notebook are limited to markup. If it is designed for a specific type of planning, it will be difficult to adapt it to something else.
  • Like ordinary paper, a diary cannot send a reminder. You have to fill it in carefully, which takes a lot of time. Otherwise, you will find it difficult to sort out your own entries.

Electronic applications

Task managers or electronic planners are convenient tools for personal and team planning. They are designed for creating, controlling tasks, managing joint, personal projects. These programmes include a full set of time management techniques (Pomodoro, GTD, Eisenhower matrix, kanban-boards).

You can make plans, adjust them with a single click, track progress, and share tasks with others. Find out about important events or appointments from notifications sent to messenger, email or push notifications on the home screen of your digital device.

Many services, such as LeaderTask, work without internet. They are synchronised with various platforms and applications. They can be installed on a computer, laptop, phone, so the application will always be at hand.

The pros of electronic gliders:

  • Automation, organisation of all work processes. Thanks to a good set of functions, electronic schedulers greatly simplify work with tasks. They can be structured, sorted by priority or deadlines, and the number of repetitions for regular actions can be set.
  • Such programmes are suitable for almost all existing time management systems and techniques and help to increase productivity.


  • At a minimum, a digital device (computer, tablet or smartphone) is required to work with electronic gliders.
  • Some programmes require additional time to master.

Effective Planning Techniques

We have looked at examples of popular planning tools. Next, let’s talk about techniques that will make working with them even more effective.

Temporary blocks

With the help of this fly hack you can intelligently distribute any day. This idea is based on Parkinson’s law. Its essence: people deliberately stretch their work to take up all the time allotted for its fulfilment. But, when you have clear deadlines set for each task – you are bound to stick to them. If you have a lot of things that need to be completed by a certain deadline, this method will help you stick to your planned schedule. You will finish them exactly by the deadline, despite the occasional procrastination and many other distractions.

By dividing a standard 40-hour week into time blocks, it is possible to do the same amount of work as a 60-hour week. To do this, you need to make a timetable, just like in school. You write down the name of the activity, specify the time period for it. You concentrate only on this activity, without distracting yourself with minor matters. This approach allows you to get a quick, high-quality result.

Apart from pluses, the methodology has disadvantages. For example, the difficulty of forecasting some processes. Sometimes at the planning stage it is difficult to understand how much time is required to solve a task. Because of this, time blocks are not always accurate.

Gantt chart

This tool is convenient to use for long-term strategic planning. It is also actively used in project management. It helps to visualise the structure, complexity and timing of tasks. It looks like a line diagram consisting of two axes:

  • The vertical reflects the tasks themselves.
  • The horizontal scale indicates the time of their execution.

With its help, work processes become more understandable for team members, as all complex projects are divided into separate stages. You can build such a schedule manually or use special electronic services for this purpose, ranging from Word or Excel to specialised programmes.

Kanban board

It is any surface divided into three or more columns where stickers with tasks are attached. The board can be physical (paper or plastic) or electronic. Its first column contains the task cards. The second column moves the activities currently in progress. The third column includes completed activities. Looking at the board, we can see at a glance what stage the tasks are at, which ones are fully completed, what is to be done in the near future.

The “1-3-5” principle

The essence of this technique is to plan one key, three medium and five minor tasks for one day. Using this formula to organise your tasks, you will be as productive as possible during the day. You will easily cope with important work, and by the evening you will not feel very tired. The rest of the working day can be spent on summarising.

Fresh or Fried

When using this method of organising tasks, it is necessary to select from the general list of the most difficult tasks that require a creative approach and are emotionally demanding. They are performed in the first half of the day. Routine activities will automatically move to the evening, when concentration decreases and there is no energy to search for creative solutions. The main thing when implementing this method is to overcome a kind of psychological barrier: in the morning it is sometimes difficult to start a global task without imagining a specific time of its completion.

Common planning mistakes

  1. The most obvious, common mistake is to try to “cover too much ground” by adding too many tasks to the list. The number of tasks will have no effect on performance, as each task takes a certain amount of time to complete. Plus, you need to take into account external factors that can reduce the speed of work.
  2. Another problem is wrong prioritisation. All people tend to take on any minor tasks, putting off important goals “for later”. This makes it very difficult to achieve them. Therefore, get in the habit of defining for yourself the main tasks, immediately start their fulfilment, recording the results of each stage of movement towards the goal.
  3. The effectiveness of planning is reduced by misjudging the time required to complete each task. It should be planned taking into account the complexity and various force majeure circumstances.
  4. Failure to delegate steals valuable time from you. Don’t try to do things that can be delegated to others.


We have looked at planning tools and techniques that will be useful in different situations. You may find one that suits your needs. To make daily plans, it is convenient to use electronic task planners, where you can set personal goals, track achievements, communicate with other users, keep timekeeping. Such programmes are very user-friendly, which makes it much easier to implement into your daily life. With the help of planners, you will save yourself from the need to keep a huge amount of information in your head. You will manage more in less time, improve your productivity.

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