Which Time Management Methodology is the Best?

Keith C Norris
3 min readJul 21, 2023

Which Time Management Methodology is the Best?
Compare Time Management Methodologies:
Stephen Covey, FranklinCovey, Getting Things Done, and Agile/Scrum

Effective time management is a key aspect of productivity and success in both personal and professional spheres. The term Time Management is a popular topic and often cited as a misnomer in that we don’t really manage time, we simply manage our choices within the time period we are given. There have been a few gifted gurus who have codified their specific techniques and have documented them into methodologies that have gathered significant followers. This blog will review some of the most popular methodologies and explain what makes them similar, what makes them different and will identify some of the Golden threads that weave through each of them.

We will dig into three popular time management methodologies: Stephen Covey / FranklinCovey (7 Habits of Highly Effective People) , Getting Things Done (GTD) by David Allen, and Agile/Scrum by Jeff Sutherland. We will explore their similarities, differences, and unique approaches to help you understand which methodology might align best with your needs and preferences.

FranklinCovey Methodology: The FranklinCovey time management methodology, based on Stephen R. Covey’s book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” emphasizes a holistic approach to managing time and achieving goals. Here are some key points:

Similarities:

  • Focus on goal setting and prioritization.
  • Emphasis on proactivity, taking initiative, and personal responsibility.
  • Recognition of the importance of values and aligning tasks with long-term vision.

Differences:

  • Time management matrix: FranklinCovey introduces a four-quadrant matrix to categorize tasks based on urgency and importance.
  • Importance of prioritization: The methodology emphasizes identifying and focusing on high-priority tasks that align with long-term goals.
  • Incorporation of personal values: FranklinCovey emphasizes the importance of aligning tasks with personal values to achieve a sense of fulfillment.

Getting Things Done (GTD) Methodology: Developed by David Allen, the Getting Things Done methodology provides a systematic approach to task and information management. Here are some key points:

Similarities:

  • Focus on capturing and organizing tasks and commitments.
  • Emphasis on prioritization and next-action thinking.
  • Promotes a proactive approach to managing tasks and reducing mental clutter.

Differences:

  • Inbox and processing: GTD suggests collecting all tasks and commitments into an inbox and processing them systematically to determine next actions.
  • Context-based task organization: Tasks are categorized based on the context or environment required for their completion (e.g., phone calls, computer tasks, errands).
  • Stress reduction through externalizing: GTD aims to reduce stress by capturing tasks and commitments externally, enabling mental focus on the task at hand.

Agile/Scrum Methodology: The Agile/Scrum methodology, primarily used in project management and software development, offers an iterative and collaborative approach to managing tasks and projects. Here are some key points:

Similarities:

  • Iterative approach: Both Scrum and other Agile methodologies promote breaking down tasks into smaller, manageable iterations or sprints.
  • Emphasis on collaboration and communication within a team.
  • Focus on adaptability and flexibility to respond to changing requirements or priorities.

Differences:

  • Project-centric focus: Agile/Scrum methodologies are primarily used for managing projects and development cycles.
  • Roles and ceremonies: Agile/Scrum defines specific roles (e.g., Product Owner, Scrum Master) and ceremonies (e.g., Daily Standups, Sprint Reviews) to facilitate collaboration and progress tracking.
  • User stories and backlog: Agile/Scrum employs user stories and product backlogs to manage and prioritize tasks and requirements.

Which Time Management Method is Best?

Each of these time management methodologies offers a unique approach to organizing and optimizing tasks and commitments. FranklinCovey emphasizes values-based prioritization, GTD focuses on capturing and processing tasks systematically, and Agile/Scrum enables iterative and collaborative project management. Consider your personal preferences, work context, and specific goals to determine which methodology aligns best with your needs. Ultimately, the key lies in adapting and integrating the principles and practices that resonate most with you to enhance your productivity and achieve your desired outcomes.

GTD Method

  • Best for:
  • Your first organization system. If you feel generally disorganized and need a system to start pulling it all together. David Allen offers a great system for getting organized.
  • Check out: www.PocketInformant.com

FranklinCovey

  • Best for: People with task lists that are too long to complete. The FranklinCovey system provides a good framework for making deliberate choices about which tasks to de-prioritize or even ignore completely.
  • Check out: www.PlanPlusOnline.com

Agile / Scrum

Best for: Teams who are working on ongoing projects. This is great for Software development teams, or many product teams where there is at least a mid term need for periodic prioritization and collaboration with multiple team members.

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Keith C Norris

CEO of Complete XRM, inc, Fanatic about Planning, husband, father, and road bike enthusiast.