Time is probably the only resource available to everyone in equal measure. Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day. You cannot change it, no matter your status in society or location in the world. You make use of what time you have to achieve all your goals.
Some have mastered time and achieved a lot, while others are crushed by their activities. No matter which side you are on, you will agree that it is important to manage your time properly.
Time management may be defined as a method to increase the time available to pursue activities. It may also be described as groups of behavior that are deemed to aid productivity and ease stress. Again, it is a way to assess the relative importance of activities through the development of a priority plan. Finally, it is the extent to which individuals see their use of time to be structured and prudent.
Time management is important because of the perishable nature of time. You cannot recover time once lost. If you waste time, you miss the chance to make wealth and increase your worth. Robin Sharma said, “Time management is life management.”
The Time Management Matrix
Franklin Covey proposes a time management strategy to segment one’s activities by their urgency and importance. Important activities have an outcome that leads to the achievement of your goals, whether these are professional or personal. Urgent activities demand immediate attention and are often linked with the achievement of someone else’s goals.
Consequently, any activity can be classified as follows:
- Urgent and important
- Not urgent but important
- Urgent but not important
- Not urgent and not important
Urgent and important activities include emergencies, crises, deadlines, last minute preparations and so on. These activities cause stress and burnout because you try to complete a lot in little time. If you only do important things when they are urgent, then you will constantly struggle to manage your time. The constant firefighting is harmful to your health. Keep them to the minimum.
Also, not urgent but important activities involve planning, hobbies, relationship building, and many more. These activities require discipline, dedication and vision. Focus on these activities.
Again, urgent but not important activities may include interruptions, some emails, phone calls, meetings, and so on. These activities result in short-term victories and loss of control of your time. They may also leave you with a low self-esteem and feeling manipulated. Apply caution to these activities.
Lastly, not urgent and not important activities also include time wasters, social media, too much TV, chatting and many more. These activities do not add any value to you. They result in under-productivity, irresponsibility and loss of job/business opportunities. Avoid them.
The most productive use of your time requires spending most of your time on quadrant II. Quadrant I should take more of remaining time and quadrant III take the remaining time. Do not make time in for quadrant IV.
The 4 D’s of Time Management
The Pareto Principle says that 80% of outcomes come from 20% of the causes. It asserts an unequal relationship between inputs and outputs. This rule applies to time. The key is to schedule your priorities and not prioritize your schedule.
The following rules can help you.
- Dump it – It is not important; It is a time waster.
- Delegate it – It is important, but someone else can do it.
- Defer it – It is not critical; It can wait. Schedule another time to complete it.
- Do it – It is important; you need to do it now; no one else can do it.