How to Allocate Time Efficiently – a Step-by-step Guide

How to Allocate Time Efficiently – a Step-by-step Guide

Jelena Lukic
Written by Jelena Lukic
August 4, 2023

Do you want to learn the best technique and allocate time like a pro?

We are here to give you a hand.

Time is a precious commodity that frequently seems strained.

This becomes particularly problematic when you are juggling various duties and tasks.

Nonetheless, with adept time allocation, you can efficiently handle your workload, alleviate stress, and attain heightened productivity.

Firstly, we advocate for the recognition of the finite nature of time. Then, you will be able to allocate it in accordance with your unique vision of success.

This approach entails several practical implications:

Allocate Time Selectively

Once we acknowledge the constraints of time, it’s essential to make conscious decisions about where not to invest our time.

This acceptance relieves stress and feelings of inadequacy. In other words, we come to terms with the reality that we can’t do everything we desire, no matter how efficient we are.

For instance, this could mean reducing involvement in certain activities professionally. On the other hand, it can also be solved by delegating tasks like lawn maintenance or house projects on the personal front.

Allocate Time Selectively

Strategic Time Management

Creating boundaries for time allocation in both work and personal life ensures that we strike a proper balance in each area. Avoiding excessively long work hours is crucial, as it leaves us with less than enough resources for vital activities such as exercise, sleep, and nurturing relationships.

Automated Time Investment

Similar to setting up automatic financial investments, establishing daily and weekly routines can make time allocation more automatic. For instance, you can designate specific afternoons at work to focus on key projects or committing to regular fitness classes. This way, you can make time investment more consistent and effortless.

Consistent Time Budget

While life may have its ups and downs, striving for a consistently balanced time budget is still possible. Over a span of one to two weeks, our time investment should reflect our priorities and values. This way, we are ensuring that we maintain a sense of equilibrium in our lives.

By adopting these practical strategies, we can optimize our use of time, alleviate stress, and lead more fulfilling lives in line with our unique definition of success.

Approaching Different Tasks

Once you’ve appropriately allocated your time, it’s equally crucial to approach the tasks within each time category differently. Striving for perfection in every aspect of life can hinder you from investing the most valuable time in activities with the highest returns.

To address this, we recommend the INO Technique, a method that combats perfectionism and optimizes your 24/7 allocation. Here’s how it operates:

Identify Investment, Neutral, and Optimize Activities – When tackling a to-do item, assess whether it falls into the category of Investment, Neutral, or Optimize.

  • Investment Activities – These are areas where dedicating more time and delivering higher-quality work can lead to exponential payoffs. Examples include strategic planning and spending device-free time with loved ones. Aim for A-level work in these areas.
  • Neutral Activities – These tasks simply need to be done adequately, and additional time invested may not yield significantly larger benefits. Examples include attending project meetings or going to the gym. Aim for B-level work in these cases.
  • Optimize Activities – These are tasks where spending extra time adds no extra value and may prevent you from focusing on more valuable activities. Examples include basic administrative paperwork and errands. Aim for C-level work in these situations, completing them as efficiently as possible.

The ultimate objective is to minimize the time spent on Optimize activities to free up more time for Investment activities. By identifying and reducing the low-value, time-consuming tasks, you can maximize your focus on activities that truly matter, personally and professionally.

By implementing the INO Technique, you can break free from perfectionist tendencies. This way, you are able to channel your efforts into meaningful pursuits. Likewise, you can enhance your effectiveness in all aspects of life.

The key lies in strategically investing your time in activities with the most significant rewards, while efficiently managing tasks that offer limited returns.

allcate time

Allocate Time with the INO Technique in Practice

Implementing the INO Technique on a tactical level involves practical steps to optimize your time investment and achieve higher returns. Here are some tips to put the technique into action.

  • Weekly Priority Setting – Begin each week by clearly defining the most crucial Investment activities. Block out dedicated time on your calendar early in the week and at the beginning of your days to focus on these high-value tasks. By prioritizing them first, you naturally create space for other activities later on.
  • Label and Allocate – When reviewing your daily to-do list, label each item with an “I” for Investment, “N” for Neutral, or “O” for Optimize. Allocate time budget accordingly, setting aside more time for Investment activities, followed by Neutral and then Optimize tasks. For instance, you might allocate four hours for “I” activities, three hours for “N” activities, and one hour for “O” activities.
  • Assess and Adjust – If you find that a task is taking longer than expected, pause and assess its value and opportunity cost. For Investment activities with high value, it may be worthwhile to invest more time in them, even if it means reallocating time from Neutral and Optimize tasks. However, if a task falls into the Neutral category with little added value or the Optimize category, where additional time won’t yield much benefit, consider completing it to a minimum level, delegating it, or rescheduling it for a time when you have more flexibility.
  • Time Diary Evaluation – Keeping a time diary or marking the time you spend on your calendar allows you to review and analyze how well you allocated your time each week. Look back and assess whether you effectively maximized the payoff on your time investment. Identify areas for improvement and adjustments to fine-tune your approach.


There is no single perfect way to allocate time. This can be an issue. As it is one of our most important resources. However, you can turn this issue into a strength. Firstly, you should find a good basic approach. then, you can make changes to fit your personal and business needs.

Remember – we don’t always have an accurate sense of the time we invest in different activities. Time tracking software like Time Analytics can help us understand it as objectively as possible. Time Analytics offers a simple, user-friendly, and accurate way to track our daily tasks. Additionally, you can give the platform a spin in a 14-day free trial to make sure it fits your needs well.

Jelena Lukic

Jelena has a Master’s Degree in teaching Serbian literature and language. Creative writing is her biggest passion.

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