Taming Time - Time Management Skills
Taming Time  - Time Management Skills

Time Management > Time Management Matrix

Why Should You Use the Time Management Matrix?

Many time management trainers use the matrix to teach people to use their time more efficiently. It was popularized by Steven Covey, author of the book "The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People". What is the time management matrix? It's a chart to help you turbo your productivity.

A Simple Time Management Chart

time management matrix
Photo by jean-louis zimmermann. (Footer for photo credit)

To use Covey's version, draw a vertical line down the center of the page and a horizontal line across the middle. This will create four boxes. Write urgent over the top left box, not urgent over the top right. Write important down the side of the top left box and not important down the side of the bottom left box.

What you have now is a chart for prioritizing everything you have to do. Write your tasks and goals in the boxes where each one belongs. This may take time to think through. Remember to include the trivial, unexpected and stuff that could be considered goals rather than tasks.

The effort of doing this is more than just an exercise. It forces you to clarify your goals and write them down. Most success gurus say that writing down your goals is vital to achieving them. In fact, they say, people who don't write down their goals almost never achieve them.

Why The Time Management Matrix Is Better Than a Simple Task List

The standard list of tasks is in a straight line down the page. They are usually in the order that they come to mind, not in order of importance or urgency. Unexpected or trivial things are never on the to-do list, but they still use up time. Plus everyone gets bogged down, distracted or simply neglects to prioritize. It's hard to remain focused on our priorities if they aren't written down in front of us.

Sometimes we even choose to do the less important things because they are less stressful. The not important and not urgent are to be set aside initially so that the urgent and important will be attended to with the most drive and attention. Don't forget to give some time to the not important and not urgent. Those things are on your list for a reason. Important tasks will always expand to fill all of the time available.

Without the time management matrix, things will still get done. With it, what's most important gets done first, and leaves time for what you want to do but seldom find time for.

Where to Next?

  • What You Need to Know About the 80 20 Rule

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