Work-Life Integration

Timeless Time Management Techniques: Old and New Ways to Get More Done

Learn many ways to boost your work productivity by combining old and recent time management techniques.

Why do you need to learn about time management?

The truth is many activities that we do today require good time management skills. Time management is essential to progress and success, from your personal demands to work-related issues. Time is our most precious resource in today's fast-paced world, and managing it wisely is an ingredient to success.

Luckily, there are several methods that can help you boost productivity and efficiency. These are the time management techniques. This article will explore these classic and modern time management techniques so you will be able to work smarter and not harder to reach your goals with ease.

Whether you are a student, a busy professional, or simply someone looking to make the most of your time, these tips will be invaluable.

Old-Fashioned Time Management Techniques

In simple words, these are time management techniques that have been around for many years. They have been tried and approved to be effective in achieving more with limited time.

Before we had all the fancy technology today, people relied on their systems and strategies to stay on top of things. And you know what? Those old techniques still work just as well today as they did back then.

In fact, they might even work better, considering how we easily get distracted by the modern gadgets and gizmos around us.

So what are these techniques that have been helping people be more productive and efficient for decades? Let's take a closer look.

1. Sundials and Water Clocks

Sundials and water clocks were one of the first time-tracking devices used in ancient times. Before watches or clocks, sundials and water clocks were used to tell time and manage it. When compared to modern gadgets, these devices seem to be quite basic. Despite this, they play a huge role in the development of most time-keeping devices that we use today.

Sundials were designed and used in ancient Egypt about 3500 years ago! The Greeks and Romans later popularized them, and soon they became the most common way to tell the time. They were also easy to use, as they work by using the sun’s movement across the sky to cast a shadow on a flat plate or dial. The length and position of the shadow cast are then read to tell the time. Pretty clever right?

These sundials were used to keep track of time for all sorts of activities, from important religious rituals to agriculture and trade. They were often placed in public areas like temples and marketplaces so that everyone could keep track of time.

Water clocks, on the other hand, were designed by the ancient Greeks about 2500 years ago. These clocks were designed using a container of water with a small hole drilled at the bottom. They then measure the time by watching as the water flows out of the bottle.

These clocks were used to measure activities like cooking, religious ceremonies, and even court trials. This was a better way to measure time at night, as sundials require the sun to be effective.

Sundials, however, had their drawbacks. It can only be used in the daytime, and they were not very accurate on cloudy days. Water clocks, on the other hand, were often affected by the temperature, which made them inaccurate. Despite these limitations, these tools paved the way for the accurate timekeeping devices that we have today.

2. Candle Clocks and Sand Timers

Candle clocks and sand timers were used for all sorts of purposes. They were used in religious ceremonies to time prayers or rituals, in schools to time lessons, and in cooking to time the preparation of meals. They have also been used in maritime navigation to time the duration of a ship's journey.

Candle clocks are said to have originated in China. With time, it expanded to other countries like Rome and Greece. The concept of the candle clock is pretty simple.

  • It was a marked candle that melted to show how much time had passed.
  • The longer the candle, the longer it will burn.
  • The markings helped the people tell how much time has gone and how much was left.

The sand timers, also known as the hourglass by most people, dating back to ancient Egypt, around 1500 BC. They consist of two glass bulbs connected by a narrow neck. The glass was filled with sand that flowed from one bulb to the other. The amount of sand determines how long it will last and allows people to measure time accurately.

The beauty of these old tools is their simplicity. They did not require electricity or complicated mechanics like the modern ones. However, these timers were not very accurate. They were often affected by wind or humidity.

3. Task Lists

Task lists, or as we call them now, To-do lists, are amazing time management tools. While it might seem like a modern concept, task lists date back centuries. Back in ancient Rome, task lists were already a thing among the senators and officials who wanted to stay organized and productive. They needed to keep track of their daily tasks to ensure they didn't miss anything important.

When it comes to getting things done, task lists are definitely a go-to tool. They're straightforward and practical, as they allow one to plan out schedules and break down workloads into smaller, manageable tasks.

One of the biggest flexes of this tool is that it improves organization and reduces stress and anxiety. However, too much focus on these tasks often makes one neglect other aspects of their life.

Despite this, this time management tool has remained for centuries. Many successful people, like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison, used task lists to stay organized and productive. And today, there are all sorts of apps and tools available to help you create and manage your task list more efficiently.

Modern Time Management Techniques

Thanks to technological advancements, we now have modern tools and techniques for time management. These options can be used to track your daily activities and keep us organized.

4. Digital Task Lists

These are the modern versions of the classic to-do lists that people have used for ages. However, they have been advanced with additional features which t make them even more efficient and interesting.

With digital task lists, you can create and manage tasks right from your smartphone or computer. This makes it super convenient to access and update them whenever and wherever you need to. In addition to this, other features like reminders, deadlines, and notifications help you stay on top of your task and keeps you motivated to get things done.

If you're looking to manage your tasks more efficiently, there are several popular apps to choose from. These apps have their own special features, but they all share the same purpose - to help you manage your time better.

Best Practice for Using Digital Task Lists

  • Be realistic about your goals.
  • Break down large tasks into smaller and more manageable tasks. This makes them easier to accomplish.
  • Categorize your tasks into groups, such as work, personal, and health, and label them with specific tags to help you find and prioritize them.
  • Remember to review your task list regularly to ensure you are on track
  • Also, use reminders for important tasks or deadlines so that you don’t forget anything.
  • If you're working on a project with others, use a digital task list app that allows for collaboration and communication.

B. Time Tracking Apps

Tracking apps have also become more popular. These are basically time management tools that allow people to monitor their time usage, track their progress, and identify improvement areas.


One thing it does is give people a clear picture of how they are spending their time. By doing so, you can figure out if you are spending too much time on one thing and if you need a change of schedule. These apps can also be helpful in setting goals, deciding what tasks are most important, and tracking your progress.

Today, we have several popular tracking apps like Some common features of these apps are:

  • Automatic time tracking,
  • Manual time entry
  • Real-time analytics and many more.

When you are using the time tracking apps, make sure you set clear goals and specific tasks that need to be done within a timeframe. The app then helps you track the time you spend on each task and keeps tabs on how much progress you've achieved.

Tips For Using Time Tracking Apps Effectively

  • Choose an app that suits your needs
  • Before you start tracking your time, set clear goals and objectives for your work and identify specific tasks that must be completed.
  • Use the app consistently
  • Most time, tracking apps provide detailed reports and analytics. Analyze these data to know where you need to improve.
  • Once you have identified your most productive times and activities, use the app to prioritize your work accordingly.

5. Time Blocking

This modern time management technique has become very popular recently.

What does it involve?

In simple terms, you break down your day into specific time blocks and assign tasks to each block. For it to be effective, you would need to create a schedule or planner. This should include all your daily activities, appointments, and tasks.

In your planner, allocate each time slot for each task. You will need to make sure that the schedule is flexible enough for you.

Time blocking helps to keep you focused and avoid distraction. Using this technique, you can reduce the temptation to multitask or procrastinate. In essence, you deal with your workload more efficiently, ultimately reducing stress.

This technique can, however, be quite inflexible, especially if there is no room for emergencies. Remember that you can use this technique for work, personal hobbies, or even household chores. As a student, you can use this to allocate time slots for studying, attending classes, and completing assignments.

Tips for Using Time Blocking Effectively

To make the most of time blocking:

  • Be realistic about your schedule
  • Avoid overcommitting yourself
  • Prioritize tasks and allocate time slots for the most critical or time-sensitive tasks.
  • You can as well review and adjust your schedule regularly to ensure that it is still meeting your needs and goals.

6. Pomodoro Technique

Francesco Cirillo developed the Pomodoro Technique in the late 1980s. It was designed based on the concept of time blocking. Named after the popular tomato shed timer that Cirillo used, the technique works by breaking down tasks into manageable chipmunks. This allows you to focus on one thing at a time without distraction.

In using this technique, you are encouraged to work for about 25 minutes and have a five-minute break. After completing 25-minute intervals, you can now take a longer break of 20 to 30 minutes before the next cycle.

The Pomodoro technique helps individuals stay focused and avoid procrastination. It also makes it easier to complete large goals. The frequent breaks are to help you avoid burnout and maintain productivity.

Note that this technique is not for everyone. While some of you might prefer working in short bursts, others prefer working for longer hours without distraction.

This technique can be used to:

  • Study for exams
  • Write
  • Structure work meetings

To use this technique effectively, it is important that you set realistic goals. They identify the important ones and break them into smaller tasks. You can now set a timer for 25 minutes and start working. Once the timer goes off, take a 5-minute break and start again.

7. Eisenhower Matrix

Eisenhower Matrix is a time management technique that was created by former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The idea behind the matrix is that tasks are not equally important. While some require immediate attention, others can still wait.

How does it work?

The technique works by dividing your tasks into four quadrants based on their urgency. These quadrants are labeled as:

  1. Urgent and Important: These tasks are top priorities and should be done immediately. For example, completing a project in 24 hrs.
  2. Important but Not Urgent: These tasks are important but can be scheduled for later. For example, planning and preparing for a meeting that is scheduled for next week.
  3. Urgent but Not Important: These tasks are urgent but do not require your immediate attention so that you can delegate them to someone else. For example, responding to an email requires a quick response but can be handled by someone else.
  4. Not Urgent and Not Important: These tasks are low-priority and can be eliminated or postponed. For example; check social media

By using this technique, you can prioritize your task and handle the urgent and important ones first before moving to the less important ones. If you are working on a more complex task, this might not be the best option. It doesn't consider the complexity of tasks in grading them.

Tips For Using The Eisenhower Matrix Effectively

  • Be honest with yourself when categorizing tasks - make sure you are not overestimating their importance or urgency.
  • Prioritize tasks based on their importance, not just their urgency.
  • Delegate tasks whenever possible.
  • Use the matrix regularly to ensure you stay on top of your tasks.

8. GTD (Getting Things Done) System

GTD, or Getting Things Done system, was developed by Davide Allen. This time management system was designed to help reduce the stress of completing tasks. It is based on capturing all the tasks one needs to do and processing them to determine which is important or urgent.

It then breaks down these tasks into smaller projects that will be easy to perform. There are basically five stages in this system:

  1. Capture: Here, you will need to collate all the tasks and projects in one system. This can be your task list.
  2. Clarify: In the next step, you will need to review the tasks to determine your next step.
  3. Organize: In this stage; you will categorize and prioritize the tasks based on their level of urgency and importance.
  4. Reflect: In this stage, you will need to review your progress and make changes where it is necessary.
  5. Engage: The final stage is Engage, and this is where you start executing the task that has been identified.

The GTD system helps to provide a clear and structured way to manage and handle your tasks. This helps to reduce stress and increase your productivity. By breaking down your tasks like this, you can focus on what needs to be done and make considerable progress in achieving your goals.

While this system is very effective, it is also very difficult to set up and maintain. Not everybody will be able to be consistent with the system, as we all have different organizational styles and preferences.

Tips For Using The GTD System Effectively

  1. Start small: Begin by implementing the GTD system for a specific project or area of your life rather than trying to apply it to everything at once.
  2. Use the right tools: Choose a tool or system that works for you, whether it's a physical notebook or a digital app, and make sure that it is easily accessible and convenient to use.
  3. Review regularly: Schedule regular reviews of your tasks and projects to ensure that you stay on track and adjust your priorities as needed.
  4. Keep it simple: Don't overcomplicate the system with too many categories or lists, as this can make it harder to use and maintain.

9. Agile Method

The Agile method of time management is a more recent technique. It is commonly used for tasks involving project management. The agile method is a more flexible technique that emphasizes collaboration, adaptability, and iterative development.


Agile works by simplifying complex projects by breaking them into small tasks that can be completed in short timeframes, known as sprints. These sprints usually last from one to four weeks, during which time a team collaborates to complete a specific set of tasks.


At the end of each sprint, the team takes a look at their progress and makes any necessary changes to their approach for the next sprint based on feedback they receive. This allows them to stay flexible and adapt to any challenges that arise along the way.

The agile technique allows the team members to work together and communicate effectively. This, in turn, leads to better outcomes and more efficient teamwork. What's more? The Agile Method is very adaptable and flexible. It can always be modified to meet the evolving needs of a project as it moves forward.

The agile method can be used to manage the entire software development life cycle, from planning and design to testing and deployment. It can also be used in marketing campaigns to manage the various components of a campaign, such as social media, email marketing, and content creation. However, the Agile method requires a high level of collaboration and communication, which can be difficult to maintain in remote work settings.

Tips To Using The Agile Method Effectively

  • Establish clear goals and objectives for each sprint
  • Maintain open lines of communication among team members,
  • Regularly review progress to ensure that the project stays on track
  • Prioritize tasks
  • Be willing to adapt the approach as needed

Combining Old and New Time Management Techniques

Now we understand how to use this technique to boost productivity. However, you should know that you can combine old and new time management techniques for better results. By capitalizing on the strengths of both approaches, you can take your time management skills to the next level and achieve success on your terms.

Why should you combine these techniques?

Benefits of Combining Old and New Techniques


By combining different techniques, you can take advantage of the strengths of each one. For example, time blocking and the Pomodoro Technique works well together, as time blocking provides a framework for organizing your day, while the Pomodoro Technique helps you stay focused and work efficiently within those blocks of time.


This also allows you to be more adaptable to different situations. For instance, the Eisenhower Matrix is a great tool for prioritizing tasks, but it doesn't take into account the urgency of each task. By combining it with a tool like time blocking, you can prioritize your tasks and still have the flexibility to adjust your schedule if urgent tasks arise.

Continuous improvement

Combining different techniques allows you to improve your productivity by testing and refining different approaches continuously.

Overall, combining old and new time management techniques can help individuals find a system that works best for their unique needs and enhance productivity by providing a more balanced, personalized approach to managing time.

How to Combine Old and New Time Management Techniques

The key to productivity is choosing the right combination of techniques that work best for you based on your personal preferences and needs.

Here are some tips to help you choose the right techniques to combine:

  1. Identify your goals and priorities: First, figure out your goals and priorities. By doing this, you can then choose the techniques that are best suited to your needs and align with your objectives.
  2. Consider your personal preferences: Another important factor is your preferences and working style. Whether you prefer using digital tools or a good old pen and paper, choosing techniques that you find comfortable and effective is essential.
  3. Experiment and adjust: Remember that finding the perfect combination of time management techniques may take some trial and error. Be open to experimentation, and don't be afraid to adjust your system until you find the right fit for you. Remember, the key is to find a system that works for you, not against you!

Here are examples combining different time management techniques to boost your productivity:

Digital Task List With Pomodoro Technique

If you prefer using digital tools, you can use a digital task list to keep track of your to-dos and combine it with the Pomodoro Technique. This technique involves setting a timer for 25 minutes to focus on a task, taking a short break, and then repeating the process. This way, you can work efficiently without burning out.

Agile Method + GTD System

If you want to manage projects and tasks more effectively, you might consider combining the Agile Method with the GTD System. Agile emphasizes collaboration and flexibility, while GTD focuses on organizing tasks.

By using Agile's sprints and backlogs to manage projects and GTD's next actions and contexts to manage tasks, you can create a robust system that enables you to get things done efficiently.

Time Blocking + Time Tracking Apps

You can combine Time Blocking and Time Tracking Apps to manage your schedule and monitor your progress. Time Blocking involves setting aside specific time slots for particular tasks or activities, while Time Tracking Apps help you track how much time you spend on each task.

By using Time Blocking to plan your day and Time Tracking Apps to monitor your progress, you can ensure that you are making the most of your time and staying on track.



With the hustle and bustle of the modern world, finding the right balance between work and personal life can be challenging. Here, we have explored various timeless time management techniques, both old and new, that can help you improve productivity.

As technology continues to evolve, new tools like are emerging to help us manage our time even more effectively.'s smart personal task management assistant is a great example of how technology can automate our daily activities and help us stay organized and on track.

Whether you're a business person or a goal-oriented individual,'s features are designed to help you make the most of your time and achieve your goals. With its amazing features like personalized schedules, tracking progress, and many more, you can become more organized in improving your time management skills.

You can use Alleo for free when you sign up here.

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