Do you prioritize your daily tasks? With so many things going on each day it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up each morning with a daily plan focused on accomplishing your most important tasks? The Time Management Matrix is a tool designed to do just that.
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The idea of prioritizing tasks became an important part of my life after I first read Stephen Covey’s the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I often talk about the concepts discussed in Covey’s book because they transformed the way I think about the choices I make in my life.
This book came out in 1989, but it continues to significantly influence those in the personal development/time management/productivity field.
In fact, I’m pretty sure that every single book I’ve read in this genre includes at least one of the habits discussed in Covey’s book. It’s just that good when it comes to time management and productivity wisdom.
This post isn’t a review of Covey’s seminal book, but I couldn’t help myself from singing its praises before moving on to today’s topic.
The Time Management Matrix
What I want to discuss with you today is the Time Management Matrix explained in Covey’s book.
I recently learned that Dwight D. Eisenhower first introduced this matrix as the Urgent-Important principle. But Covey popularized it in his book.
If you’ve never heard of the time management matrix and you are a time management/productivity geek like me, I think you’re going to love it.
The Time Management Matrix is a tool that will help you focus on the most important things in your life.
If you wake up each morning thinking through the laundry list of stuff you have to do each day and praying that you don’t forget to do any of them, this tool is for you.
Even if that doesn’t describe you, if you desire to live a more intentional life, this book is for you.
The Four Quadrants
The Time Management Matrix is divided into four quadrants.
Quadrant I: Important/Urgent Tasks
In Quadrant I, you have your important/urgent tasks.
These are the tasks that you must do during your day. But, these are also the things that you can reduce overtime when you start planning your life with intention.
Of course, there will always be things in the important/urgent category that you cannot predict.
Like when you receive a phone call to come and pick up your sick child from school or get a call from your neighbor that water is leaking from your garage.
But other things that fall into this category, like deadlines for projects, bills to pay, or phone calls or emails you’ve been putting off, can often be mitigated with planning.
Quadrant II: Important/Not Urgent Tasks
In Quadrant II, you have your important/not urgent tasks.
The items that fall in this quadrant are your planning tasks. When you start planning your months, weeks, and days, all you are doing is planning what needs to get done in advance.
These are your most important tasks. They will move you forward in accomplishing the things that you value most in your life.
Quadrant III: Not Important/Urgent Tasks
In Quadrant III, you have your not important/urgent tasks.
The tasks that fall in this category are typically tasks that are not important to you. But they may be important to somebody else.
These are tasks that you can delegate or decline.
Quadrant IV: Not Important/Not Urgent Tasks
In Quadrant IV, you have your not important/not urgent tasks.
The tasks in this the category are your time wasters. This quadrant is where all of the daily noise lives. Things like mindlessly checking social media, email, text messages, or surfing the web.
These things distract us from completing our most important tasks. It’s easier to grab your phone and get lost in your Facebook feed rather than completing that project that’s not due until next week.
The best way to reduce these distractions is to be aware of them, and then deciding to either cut them out completely or plan for them.
Tell yourself that you’ll check Facebook, your email, or whatever else is stealing your focus at a set time or times each day. There can be a time and place for everything, even social media.
Using the Time Management Matrix To Prioritize Your Daily Tasks
An excellent way to use the Time Management Matrix is when you are completing your weekly and daily reviews.
Each week during your review, take a look at your tasks and determine the appropriate quadrant. You can do the same thing each day when filling out your planner.
Over time, you can reduce the tasks in Quadrants III and IV. You can even cut down on some tasks that fall into Quadrant II.
When you are spending most of your day completing tasks in Quadrant II, you’ll find that you are achieving your most important work.
You will be accomplishing your personal and professional goals. Plus, you’ll feel less overwhelmed and more in control because you have created a path for your life.
I created the Daily Inspiration Planner to help purpose-driven women organize and prioritize their days. If you’re not already using a planner, why not?
If you’re ready to live an intentional life, you can request a FREE copy of the planner below.
With Love and Joy,