First Time Manager Tips: 5 Top Time Management Techniques

In this article, you’ll find top time management skills to help first time managers to organize their work and the work of a tech team effectively, as well as advice from experienced tech leads on how they plan their time.
First Time Manager Tips: 5 Top Time Management Techniques

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What makes a good engineering manager or a tech lead? First of all, you should know what skill should a good engineering manager have.

You can find THE FULL LIST of 8 top Engineering Management skills in 2022 in Vectorly’s article or download free skill matrix.

engineering manager skills
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Secondly, one should understand that among the most important skills of a great Engineering Manager is personal skills which include the ability to learn, systematic thinking, strategic vision, decision-making, and of course time management.

In this article, you’ll find 5 top time management skills to help first time managers to organize their work and the work of a tech team effectively, as well as advice from experienced tech leads on how they plan their time.

Time management techniques for managers

The biggest challenges for a software engineering manager aren’t technical, but personal.

When taking a position as a manager, one should cover lots of business processes. And this can be very challenging for those who have difficulties planning their time. That’s why first-time managers should improve their time management skills - set correct goals, both personal and the team’s, prioritize and eliminate time wasters.

To help managers, we have gathered the most popular and effective time management techniques.

1. Pareto’s Principle

The so-called 80/20 rule is a time management method that helps to prioritize the tasks that are most effective for solving problems. It’s the idea that 20% of actions are responsible for 80% of outcomes.

For this, the following steps are suggested:

  • List the problems you are facing. For example, performance metrics are declining.
  • Determine the root cause of each problem. Perhaps your metrics are deteriorating due to the fact that you have incorrectly allocated time and human resources on a project, or something else.
  • Assign a score to each problem. Give the most important problems higher scores.
  • Group problems by cause. Problems caused by you making mistakes in resource allocation should be in the same group. for example.
  • Add up the scores for each group. The group with the highest score is the problem you should work on first.
  • Take action.
pareto principle
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2. The Eisenhower Matrix

This method is based on an urgent-important matrix. According to this method, you need to sort the list of tasks by:

  • important
  • unimportant
  • urgent
  • not urgent

Ideally, you should only work on important and urgent tasks. Delegate the rest of the tasks or even reconsider the need for their implementation.

This method is based on an urgent-important matrix. According to this method, you need to sort the list of tasks by:

  • important
  • unimportant
  • urgent
  • not urgent

Ideally, you should only work on important and urgent tasks. Delegate the rest of the tasks or even reconsider the need for their implementation.

eisenhower matrix

3. The Pomodoro Technique

This technique uses a timer to break down your work into intervals — Pomodoros. How it works:

  • Formulate a task.
  • Set a timer, for example, 25 minutes.
  • Concentrate on the task at hand.
  • When the timer rings, check the box.
  • Take a short break from work.
  • Repeat steps two through five: After you've completed this process four times, you can start taking longer breaks (20-30 minutes).

This method will help you concentrate and, at the same time, not feel overwhelmed.

pomodoro technique

4. Getting Things Done (GTD) Method

Helps you complete tasks by recording them and then breaking them down into workflows. It works like this:

  • Capture the actions that have your attention.
  • See if there are tasks among them that require action. If an item requires action, perform or delegate it.
  • Prioritize your to-do list.
  • Cross off the tasks you completed.
  • Complete tasks that you can solve right now.
getting things done

5. Eat That Frog Technique

Start the day with the most difficult task (the “frog”), gradually moving towards the easier ones:

  • Clearly define the goal.
  • Fix it.
  • Set a deadline.
  • Make a list of what you need to do to reach your goal.
  • Prioritize the tasks on this list. The first ones on the list are your "frogs".
  • Eat the nastiest frog first, so it will be easier to approach each new task that is left behind.
  • Repeat this process every day.
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