Everyone seems to be busy today. Multitasking requires a lot, and technology sometimes makes it difficult for us to focus on the things that matter. Everyone is in constant communication with each other, which can be both good and bad for your productivity. Entrepreneurs and business owners, in particular, have more on their plate than most. Not only do you need to manage the responsibilities of their lives, they also need constant attention to their business.
You may often feel that there are so many notifications and distractions, how can you get anything done with so many interruptions? It’s a reason Entrepreneurs need to build productivity a top priority.
As it turns out, four little boxes can help you prioritize your tasks and make you feel more comfortable doing them. If you ever read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People By Stephen Covey, You Can Remember the Time Management Matrix. It is a box with four quadrants. Each is a category of how your time is spent. With the invention of cell phones, email, and instant messaging, this concept that was first discussed in 1989 is more relevant today than ever.
This matrix is simply four squares that divide your tasks into four categories (or quadrants):
- Important and Urgent (Q1)
- Important and not urgent (Q2)
- Important and Not Urgent (Q3)
- Not important and not urgent (Q4)
important and urgent
Things that fall in this first quadrant are urgent and important. Things like emergencies and important tasks that have a deadline
Important and not urgent
Activities that fall into the second quadrant are important, but not urgent or deadline driven. Examples include exercise, relationship building, preparation, and planning.
Important and not urgent
These are things or activities that seem urgent, yet are not important. Think about things like interruptions, phone calls, emails, etc.
Not important and not urgent
Of course, there are things that are not important or urgent. It can be busy work, certain phone calls and watching TV.
Where to focusNow that you understand the different categories, it’s time to analyze where you spend the most time (and more importantly, where you should spend more time). It may seem obvious to say that the first two quadrants are where your focus should be, after all, they are the most important activities. To be most productive, you should try to focus specifically on quadrant two.
Quadrant One is spent mostly in Crisis Mode and should be avoided if possible. In fact, you’ll find that as you begin to plan your days more intentionally with this time management matrix, you’ll begin to notice that fewer and fewer activities appear in quadrant one because you can get them done ahead of time.
- When and how to use
The great news about this time management matrix is that it works for any time frame – from an hour to a lifetime. Anytime you need to focus on your priorities, you can make a list, start categorizing and tackle each category.
One of the best ways to use this matrix is to plan it every week. At the beginning of the week, write down all the tasks you need to do. Run through the list and categorize them. Be sure to view your calendar, include any meetings, and categorize these as well. You can then determine which tasks need to be completed on which days and how many large tasks will take a certain amount of time. Breaking larger projects into daily chunks is a great way to stay out of quadrant one.
the boss every morning, and start a running list of all the tasks that need to be completed in the near future. See what you need to do that day (urgent and important), as well as what you want to spend some time doing (urgent and not important).
5. Set aside time
After making your list, start setting aside time for each category. First thing every day you may have to do one of the quadrants because they are the most important and urgent. When the time you set aside for this is up, go to quadrant two. One of the The worst confusion Setting aside specific times for your email emails greatly increases productivity because you’re not constantly starting and stopping throughout the day.
To be most productive and tackle those quadrant two activities, schedule times each day when you can do interrupted work. Put it on your calendar for others to see, close your email account and turn off your phone This should be the time for you to complete important tasks without constant distractions.
If you have more time after your Quadrant Two period, you can complete more Quadrant One activities or increase your focus time for Quadrant Two. Again, after working like this for a while, many activities will begin to shift to quadrant two and you will be able to complete tasks before the deadline approaches. Also don’t forget Schedule some breaks. Being productive and efficient is a great thing, but that doesn’t mean you have to burn yourself out. Working on all quadrants three and four does not have to be a bad thing.
6. Audit yourself
Haven’t seen one yet Increase productivity? Try to work the other way around. Go through your day as you normally would and note the things you spent time on. Then go through the list, and categorize them. Have you spent any time in quadrants three and four that could have been avoided or spent more productively? Doing this activity will make you more aware of how you spend your time and how you can improve your skills.
Having a categorization system for the tasks you need to complete is a game changer. This will make you more aware of what activities you are spending time on and where to improve. Take time to plan each week and day at the beginning, and see how much more you get done. Being able to work without distractions or constantly looming deadlines is even more relaxing.
This article was first published in June 2017 but has been updated and expanded.
Business Opportunities · Featured · Mindset · Personal Development · Your Mindset
Entrepreneurial Lifestyle · Find Your Way · Leading Your Team · Marketing · Productivity · Sales · Your Mindset