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An amazing Time management & Productivity tool every individual must use.

Updated: Sep 1, 2019

The heart of effective personal time management is to spend the maximum time possible doing important jobs in a non-urgent atmosphere that increases your efficiency.

One of the most Exciting tools I have found is Stephen Covey’s time management matrix. This is a great tool for helping you evaluate your investment of time from a bigger picture view.

Time management matrix an understanding of the distinction between what is important and what is urgent.

The time management matrix

There are four basic types of activities:

1. Important and Urgent Activities

These include responding to a crisis, pressing problem or tight deadline. Crisis managers and problem-minded people are consumed primarily with this area of time management.

2. Important But Not Urgent

Activities Preventative maintenance, relationship building, creative thinking, planning and recreation. This area is at the heart of effective personal management, and holds the key to business efficiency.

3. Not Important But Urgent

Activities Phone calls, mail, some meetings and other pressing matters. These tasks are often only urgent because someone else has that expectation, and some people spend time here thinking they are covering essential matters.

4. Not Important And Non-Urgent

Activities Includes trivia, some mail, time wasters and pleasant harmless activities. Spending all your time here is a sure way to be totally ineffective.

The goal is to maximize your time in quadrant 2 on important but non-urgent activities. This is the heart of effective personal management. By increasing the amount of tasks carried out in quadrant 2, the likelihood of tasks cropping up in quadrant 1 are


Effective people are not problem minded - they are opportunity minded. They think preventively. The only way to concentrate efforts on quadrant 2 activities is to cut time spent on quadrants 3 and 4 activities. To be proactive about choosing quadrant 2 activities, get into the habit of saying “No” to quadrant 3 and 4 activities. Sometimes this will take diplomacy. Centering decisions on correct principles and focusing on a mission

statement gives the guidance needed to make decisions. The way you spend your time is a direct result of the way you really see your own personal priorities, whether you like to admit it or not.

The objective of quadrant 2 management is to manage our lives effectively - from a center of sound principles, a knowledge of our personal mission (focusing on the important and the urgent) and a balance between increasing our production and increasing our production capacity.

The six criteria of quadrant 2 time management skills are:

1. Coherence - harmony between your personal mission statement and both short- and long-term activities.

2. Balance - identify your various roles and keep them focused so important areas are not inadvertently ignored.

3. Quadrant 2 focus – deal with prevention and anticipation rather than crisis control. Rather than prioritizing your schedule, you schedule time to achieve your priorities.

4. A people dimension - your planning needs to reflect thinking in terms of dealing effectively with other people, as they can influence your time schedule.

5. Flexibility - time management needs to be tailored to exactly the way you need it to work for your life.

6. Portability - time management needs to be on the go and with you at all times, not just in your office.

Time management begins with four key activities:

1. Identify the key roles of your life. Everyone wears a number of different hats in their business, personal and social lives. Write down the roles you fill in the average week.

2. Select goals – maybe two or three that you want to achieve in the coming week in each of your roles.

3. Scheduling. Look at each week with your goals in mind. When are you going to set aside time to achieve your goals?

4. Adapt on a daily basis. This may mean responding to unexpected events in meaningful ways. The more completely weekly goals are tied in to a wider framework of correct principles and a mission statement, the greater the increase in effectiveness. Long term organizing means the mission statement leads to the roles leading to goals and then to plans.

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things

which matter least.” — Goethe

“The successful person has the habit of doing the things failures don’t

like to do. They don’t like doing them either necessarily. But their

disliking is subordinated to the strength of their purpose.” — E.M. Gray

“Management is doing things right, leadership is doing the right

things.” — Peter Drucker & Warren Bennis

The most effective method to Use the Matrix

Here are the means for organizing your exercises:

  • Create a To-Do List and include all work you need and want to do within the next week.

  • Prioritize these task based on importance, NOT urgency. You can use a scale of 1 to 5 or re-order the activities based on importance.

  • Arrange all the activities into the appropriate quadrants based on the constraints above.

  • Now evaluate where you are spending most of your time and consider how you can start working toward Quadrant II.

Use following template to plan your activities based on above tool & explanation.

Activity Planner based on important vs urgent matrix

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