Time Management Matrix – How to use it?

The time management matrix is an effective tool to balance productivity and your time. It can be utilized by coaches in the field of career, life coaching, wellness coaching and spiritual coaching.

It can help get your clients life to be more organized and focused. It is a compelling tool to use in your one to one sessions to gain more insight into patterns of your clients. It empowers your clients and make them feel in control of their life.

Time management matrix was defined by former US president Eisenhower, and later brought into use by Dr. Stephen Covey in his book.

Quadrant 1: Crises -Urgent and Important

Quadrant 2: Goals and Plans -Not Urgent and Important

Quadrant 3: Interruptions -Urgent and Non Important

Quadrant 4: Distractions -Not Urgent and Not important

What does Urgent and Important mean in this matrix?

Urgent Tasks are those that require our immediate responses , hence we generally pause what we do and attend to the urgent tasks.

Important Tasks are those that direct us towards our higher goals and outcomes , the crucial action items that need to be organized, planned and executed in the long run.

Quadrant 1 – Crises – Important and Urgent

Work that come under this quadrant encompass tight deadlines, urgent engagements, pressing challenges, etc., The reason could be as varied as a project having crossed a deadline, serious mishap, or an issue that was unforeseen.

What happens when you invest more energy in this quadrant is that you head towards burnout and are under high stress levels.

Some of the ways to reduce time in this quadrant is that you begin to prioritize , plan and clarify by realigning your priorities.

Quadrant 2 -Goals and Plans – Important and Non-urgent

This is the quadrant where you make things happen! This gives you an overview of every aspect in life. This answers the bigger questions, it is more long term focussed that include building rapport, risk assessment, disaster prevention and maintain work life balance.

When you invest time in this quadrant you feel centered and under control, you develop a sense of certainty because you are well prepared to face issues.

Some of the ways in which you can spend more time in this quadrant is by allocating specific time in a day to plan, to build relationships, be well prepared to face challenges and have a well balanced health.

Quadrant 3 -Interruptions -Urgent and Non Important

When you spend more time in this quadrant, you will miss out on crucial and important tasks. Some of the activities that fall under this quadrant are: gossiping by the water stations, constantly checking social media accounts, responding to unimportant mails.

When you begin to spend too much time in this quadrant you will get a feeling that you are not getting anywhere leading you to feel stuck , frustrated and develop anger.

Some of the things you can adopt to get out of this quadrant is by reviewing your priorities and focus on important tasks and learn the art of delegating.

Quadrant 4 -Distractions -Not Urgent and Not important

Time invested in this quadrant are diversions and digressions from the task at hand. The activities may include responding to social media constantly, irrelevant discussions either over mails or meetings. By investing too much time in these activities, you will miss deadlines and make you feel burn out. If you continue to be in this quadrant it would lead you to slip into depression due to excessive negative self talk.

Some ways you can stop spending time in this quadrant is by recognizing and building self awareness of where you are allocating your efforts. The second step is to prioritize and organize your efforts towards goal actualization.

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