If you’re like most business owners, you probably find that there’s not enough time in your day to accomplish everything you need to. And that leaves you feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.
Dr. Stephen Covey, bestselling author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, posited that there are four basic quadrants into which all tasks fall:
The first quadrant, important and urgent, consists of things you simply must do NOW: a crying child, a fire, and so on.
The second quadrant, important and not urgent, is the “quality time” quadrant – it consists of critical tasks that can be scheduled in advance. Working on your business plan, personal recreation, and bonding with family belong here.
The third quadrant consists of not important and urgent tasks. These are distractions and interruptions, unimportant emails, tasks, and phone calls that compete for your attention in the moment.
The fourth quadrant, not important and not urgent, is the “time-wasting” quadrant: online games, trivia, unproductive meetings and so on.
There’s not much you can do about quadrant 1 (except, perhaps, for making sure that you’ve properly identified what belongs there), so your productivity relies on how well you manage the other three quadrants.
Generally speaking, to be successful, you must INCREASE the amount of time you spend in quadrant 2 by DECREASING the amount of time you spend in quadrants 3 and 4!
Your assignment is to make a list of the most common tasks you perform each week and assign them to the various quadrants. Estimate how much time you spend in each quadrant. If you’re like most people, the results will be eye-opening.