The time management matrix is a litmus test for how time and the value of our output interconnect.
Every minute of every day we are exercising choice as to how we spend our time.
Sometimes we look back on our day with great satisfaction; sometimes with the frustration that we have been busy all day and nothing has shifted.
The temptation to get sucked down into the vortex of little low value items can destroy
Eisenhower can help – he developed a litmus test for how time and the value of our output interconnect.
The time management matrix below (popularized by Stephen Covey) differentiates between Urgency and Importance.
Looking at the matrix diagram below you will see that Urgency is the x axis value. Another way of looking at this is to measure time from Now on the left to Long Term on the right. Importance or value is measured vertically on the Y axis.
The great news is that all of our time use can be evaluated across this matrix giving us an audit as to the value of how we are spending our time.
The quadrants below depict 4 scenarios:
Quadrant 1: Urgent and Important – where crises occur – time spent here is a must. No choice!
Quadrant 2: Important and Not Urgent – where long term value is hatched and fostered
Quadrant 3: Urgent and Unimportant – where the niggly frustrating stuff happens
Quadrant 4: Neither Urgent or Important - where people are switched off or disengaged
On a good day, most of our time will be spent in the top of the grid – on the important activity either short term or long term - preferably in Quadrant 2 since this is where sustainable performance lies and too much time in crisis in Quadrant 1 can lead to burnout and exhaustion.
Frustration builds when we have committed our time but we end up on the bottom of the table in the unimportant.
Why then does so much time in the average organisation get taken up in the lower levels – particularly Quadrant 3 - the Urgent and Unimportant?
Little niggly stuff is often easier than gearing up for the important stuff - and who doesn’t want an easy life?
The biggest gains in your time management can be harnessed by getting clear on your Q2 activities and from reducing your time quadrant 3!
Use the Eisenhower Time Management Matrix template to keep yourself honest and on track with your high priorities. Here are a few tips:
It is frustrating to witter away your time on
All these crowd out important stuff that you are measured on.
If you feel that you are working hard but don't have much to show for it, then here are some tips to reduce your time in Q3:
Don't let the trivial many crowd out the vital few!
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