We are too busy now. We are too busy to spend some quality time with our families, to have some time out of our busy schedule to hit the gym or to have extra time to get control over our life. We are too busy that we get jealous if someone is doing everything we wish to do if just we had little more time. How are they able to be so flexible with their time when we just have 24 hours each day?
The amount of time is fixed for everyone, the only thing makes it flexible to live is by prioritizing the tasks on our to-do list.
“The key is not to prioritize your schedule but to schedule your priorities.” ~ Stephen Covey
The author of the bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Dr. Stephen Covey made time management simple and effective than ever before by introducing the Time Matrix. Let’s take control over time by understanding the matrix:
The table is basically a 2X2 matrix of “Importance” and “Urgency”.
Quadrant 1: URGENT AND IMPORTANT
Every task which you must have to do before a certain deadline is a Q1 task.
AKA: Emergencies or Crises
- Last Minute Preparations
- Scheduled or Planned Tasks
- Medical Emergencies and Fire Fighting
- Important Interruptions like Crying Baby or Knock on the Door
What to do:
As it is important and urgent you have to act immediately. These all are necessities that must be done ASAP.
Quadrant 2: IMPORTANT BUT NOT URGENT
All the tasks that make your life easier to live are Q2 tasks.
AKA: Quality Improving Tasks
- Creative Tasks
- Relationship Building
- Self-Improvement Tasks (Exercising, Reading/Learning)
What to do:
Q2 tasks are the one that makes you what you are. Sadly many of us neglect this area, but if we can give this area our focus it would not only make sure to make us reach our goals but also will make the path easy to travel towards the goal.
The first two quadrants add value to your life. Focusing on these tasks makes you feel achieved, fulfilled and grown. These two are worthy of your time, energy and focus; they both are IMPORTANT. But the other two are the sources of temporary pleasure and entertainment and shifts you from the track of progress by wasting your precious times.
Our daily life is filled with each kind of tasks. It’s up to us which one to focus on.
Quadrant 3: URGENT BUT NOT IMPORTANT
The sudden interruptions that have nothing to do with your life values are Q3 tasks.
- Some Popular Activities
- Other People’s Minor Problems
- Meaningless Meetings/ Gossips
- Unplanned and Time Wasting Phone-calls/Mails/Text Messages.
What to do:
These kinds of tasks are the main reason that most people find it hard to succeed. They look like important but actually they aren’t and that’s the worst part of them. Avoiding a task won’t cause any damage unless it’s under Q1 or Q2. Learn to say NO and if the task still has to be done always make it the third choice.
Quadrant 4: NEITHER URGENT NOR IMPORTANT
The tasks those give us a temporary feeling of pleasure or relief are Q4 tasks.
AKA: Time Wasters
- Internet Surfing and Social Media
- TV and Other Entertainments
- Gossip and Shopping
- Escape Activities
- Video Games
What to do:
These kinds of tasks are a serious problem in our life. It keeps us busy from doing what’s important and wastes lots of time. It must be avoided ASAP. No one wants to have lifelong regrets in exchange of short-term pleasures.
“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough I what is important” ~ Dr. Covey
In the current world, it is sad to see that most of our life are filled with Q3 and Q4 tasks; we are getting driven by a false sense of being busy and by temporary pleasures. Many of us focus on Q1 when it’s too late and less than 5% of the population gives the Q2 tasks importance.
Every time you get a task in your hand chooses to filter it through the matrix first. Deciding the tasks based on their urgency and importance will surely help you to reduce the load. You’ll find yourself in surprise that there are fewer tasks you have to do, and you will be able to identify and cut off the distractions from your productive life.
To get more effective ways to decorate your life I highly recommend you to read the all-time self-help classic Dr. Stephen Covey’s THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE!!!
Now I would like to encourage you to take a look at your to-do list, prioritize them and commit to using the technique regularly to have all 86400 seconds of your day in control.