In the competitive professional world, there can often be overlapping of commitments that require your undivided attention. To prevent situations where the deadlines become haunting, the effective management of time becomes a necessity in life. Effective time management is an art that has to be mastered to manage the flood of responsibilities that prevail in your daily life. To understand time management in detail, we study the Covey time management grid which enables us to differentiate between our urgent and important tasks.
What Are Time Management Tools – Covey’s Time Management Grid
The concept of the time management matrix was given by the American businessman and educator, Stephen Covey. The popular concept of the time management grid gives the person a broader and clearer picture of their priorities by using four quadrants which help in analyzing the importance and urgency of several day-to-day activities.
Components of the Covey’s Time Management Grid
● Quadrant 1
This quadrant involves the tasks which are urgent and important. These are the items which hold great significance and need to be dealt with immediately. You would want to avoid your tasks falling into this quadrant to prevent high pressured crises.
● Quadrant 2
Quadrant 2 involves the tasks which are important but do not have to be completed urgently, that is, they do not require your immediate attention. Stephen Covey emphasizes the importance of this quadrant as according to him, the tasks and items that fall into this quadrant are for the achievement of the long run goals.
● Quadrant 3
This quadrant includes items which are urgent but not important. These tasks are the time-pressured distractions which hold little or no importance but still have to be completed. These activities should be minimized or eliminated as much as possible.
● Quadrant 4
Quadrant 4 includes items which are neither urgent nor important. These are the tasks that add little to no value and are not required to be completed in the near future. These activities and tasks are often used for taking breaks from time pressured and important tasks.
According to several reports, many people have found most of their activities and tasks falling into quadrant 1 and 3. Quadrant 2 is often considered to be underused. However, this quadrant is of paramount importance because it requires both strategic and logical working. Expanding activities in quadrant 2 is one of the major uses of the Covey’s Time Management Grid.
Using It Right
In order to review the working of the time management matrix, a one week assessment strategy can be used. This involves making six copies of the grid for each day of the week and listing all activities and time spent. At the end of the week, combine the data to obtain a summarized grid and further, calculate the percentage of time in each grid.
With an extremely simplified time management matrix like Covey’s time management grid, daily crises and problems shrink to a minimum and the situations breeding chaos and crises in the first place are eliminated by the advanced logical planning of activities.