As a part of my efforts to increase productivity, I need to prioritize my tasks. A time management matrix is a great tool for this purpose. Here I want to show you how you can use a time management matrix to complete all your important things.
The question that I always try to answer about each thing that needs to be done from my side is about the importance of that thing.
The importance is always something that I use to define the priority. If it is more important then the priority will be higher.
Before 12 years, as a student for a master’s degree in the bookstore, I found a book from Stephen R. Covey titled First Things First. Among 15 other books, I purchased that day in that bookstore was this one. There, for the first time, I learn something more about prioritizing and doing the first things through a framework in a form of the 2×2 matrix (time management matrix).
Why Do You Need Prioritization?
Entrepreneurs are in a position when they always try to find better solutions for their workload. Business needs big investments of entrepreneurial efforts, knowledge, money, and time.
There are many ideas, many things, many tasks around you as an entrepreneur. You need to start doing something of that list, and also you need to say no to many things if you want to stay on the right road.
I like to have many things that I need to do, but my time and my priority are not always as I like to be. I need to decide to trash many things that I want to do, but that doesn’t mean it will be completely removed from possible work. Instead of real deleting stuff, I will put them somewhere for future review and possible decisions about them.
Here is a helpful quote about these types of problems.
The time management matrix can help you to find whether or not a task is urgent, important, or some combination of them.
The matrix gives you four quadrants, which can be used in prioritization and deciding about tasks you will need to do, tasks that can be delegated, and tasks you can drop out. In addition to this decision, you can also decide what can be a part of your delegation process.
Here is the matrix with all four quadrants that I will explain below.
Matrix Quadrant 1: Important and Urgent Tasks
Let’s think about the important and urgent tasks. These tasks are important for you and, at the same time, urgent to be done as quickly as possible. They should be your first priority before everything else on your to-do list. These types of tasks need to be done today or tomorrow, depending on the time when you prepare yourself for your daily activities.
For example, in this quadrant are tasks as already scheduled meetings with your customers, improvements that you need to implement, a project that solves big problems, etc.
Time Management Matrix Quadrant 2: Important But Not Urgent Tasks
This quadrant will have tasks that are important to you, but you can schedule them for some time in the future. You don’t need to jump directly to work on them today, but they will be something of your focus when you finish all first-priority tasks (Quadrant 1).
These tasks should be your second priority because they are important to you, and if you don’t do them, you will have problems in the future.
For example, planning a project can be part of this quadrant because you can always start planning tomorrow.
Time Management Matrix Quadrant 3: Urgent But Not Important
Can you have something urgent but not important? These tasks should be your third priority because they are not important to you, even if they are urgent. You will not lose anything if we do them later.
For example, answering an email that is not so important, even if it has an urgent label on the subject line from a sender, is not your first priority. It is the first priority for the sender.
Matrix Quadrant 4: Not Urgent and Not Important
Why will something not urgent and not important will be on your list of tasks? You need to drop them off. Don’t lose your time on such tasks.
As you can see, with the help of this matrix, you can prioritize your tasks on your to-do list. This will give you tasks marked as 1 – something you need to do immediately, tasks marked with 2 – something that can be done in the near future, and tasks marked as 3 – something that needs to be done when you have free time or to be delegated. Tasks marked with four you will need to drop from your list.
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