There is a point in a day where we tend to do all the tasks at once and then end up working late hours, and we are not even halfway done. Due to this reason we feel exhausted, stressed, overwhelmed, and whatnot.
Do you know why this happens?
Overwhelming thoughts hit when employees are unable to identify which task is more important or urgent or which task can yield greater results. At the end of the day, they are left with several big and incomplete tasks which leave them exhausted. This is what gets them to start multi-tasking which does not help them to check off everything on their to-do lists.
Now, the question arises how do we solve this problem, identify tasks, and deal with poor time management?
In this article, we will go through Stephen Covey’s time management matrix to explain how you and your employees can effectively manage time and complete their tasks within the set time frame.
What is the Covey time management matrix?
Covey’s time management matrix emphasizes prioritizing tasks according to their importance and managing time for better performance and productivity.
The time management matrix requires four quadrants that explain the importance and urgency of each task.
Four quadrants of the Covey time management matrix
Quadrant 1: Urgent and important
The first quadrant covers the tasks that need to be dealt with immediately. These tasks require more attention as they hold bigger consequences. You need to categorize the tasks according to their urgency and take care of their proactivity.
Quadrant 2: Not urgent but important
Quadrant 2 holds the tasks which are important but not urgent, we can leave these tasks for some time, yet can not ignore these tasks as they can also impact the desired goals. These tasks can include planning, strategizing, or developing some kind of responsibility.
Do not ignore these tasks as they impact the overall goal of your task.
Quadrant 3: Urgent but not important
These are tasks that interrupt your schedule and stop you from accomplishing your goal of the day. These tasks are not important yet urgent which you have to deal with or complete and it constantly keeps you occupied.
To address these issues you can reduce the number of tasks or delegate them to another team member. You can create a time frame, particularly for the 3rd quadrant tasks.
Quadrant 4: Not urgent and not important
Many employees waste most of their time doing 4th quadrant tasks which are not important or urgent. These tasks distract employees’ focus and hamper poor time management and productivity. It is best to eliminate these tasks when you have other important tasks to do.
Benefits of using Covey time management matrix
- The method helps you prioritize your tasks and daily routine. It makes you organized and more productive and helps you do more in a day.
- This time management matrix helps you identify your behavior towards your work. It identifies in which quadrant you are wasting your time the most so you can improve it and manage your time better.
- Following the matrix helps you maintain a work-life balance as you become better at time management and you are able to take out time for yourself and your family.
- It keeps you stress-free and less exhausted. Managing your tasks effectively also reduces the chances of multitasking.
- Once you start prioritizing your tasks based on their importance, you can better plan your day and future for completing your short-term and long-term goals step by step.
How to use the Covey time management matrix
Here is the most challenging part when it comes to managing your time. It takes a lot of time and practice to master any method but sooner or later you will get a hold of time management.
Let’s look at some quick tips on how to use Covey’s time management matrix effectively
- List all the tasks that you have to complete in a week or a day
- Provide a deadline for each task in order to identify its urgency or importance
- Now identify the tasks that need your most attention
- Put all the tasks in an order which will help you identify which task is more important
- In the next step, distribute the tasks into different quadrants according to their importance and urgency
- Track your time with the help of a time tracking software like KonarkPro, which would help you evaluate your productivity and how much time you have spent on each task
- The most important part of following the time management matrix is being mindful of your work and goal
Better time management and productivity come when you learn to prioritize your tasks and not juggle a bunch of tasks together. Mastering the art of time management is an ongoing activity that you can achieve through Constant practice and dedication.
Stephen Covey’s time management matrix is one the best methods to start your journey with and plan your days precisely.