Stephen Covey unleashes the secret about TIME MANAGEMENT

Time Management is the biggest discussion point in the world these days. Most of the people in the world have issues related to this and often seek guidance from experts. People work 12-14 hours a day but still, they complain that they are never able to complete their tasks on time and as their to-do list keeps on growing. But it is not about hours but how you manage your hours and time which will help you achieve your goals, long term as well as short term.

Stephen Covey provides a time management matrix that has been very successful and is used all around the world with remarkable effect. There are two types of tasks in our life. One of them is urgent and another is important. 

Definitions:

Urgent: Tasks that have to be addressed immediately and cannot be left.

Important: Tasks that will have maximum impact in life and require careful attention on a regular basis. 

Time isn’t the main thing. It is the only thing. – Miles Davis Covey divides our tasks in 4 quadrants. 

  • Important and Urgent – Crises and Emergencies
  • Important but Not Urgent – Prevention, Planning, and Improvement
  • Not Important but Urgent – Interruptions and Busy Work
  • Not Important and Not Urgent – Time Wasters

Quadrant 1 – It consists of tasks that are very urgent and important.

It consists of items that have to be addressed immediately. It could be deadlines related to work or paying taxes because we have not planned before or paying fees of children. These are tasks that have become very urgent because we were not proactive and did not plan them properly and now these tasks have become urgent. We become so stressed up working on these activities that we need breaks and relaxation from these at regular intervals which results in wasting more time.

Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days. –  Zig Ziglar

Quadrant 2. Tasks which are important but not urgent.

These are tasks that will have maximum impact on your career. For example, your career goal is to become a writer, so you have to read regularly to hone your skills in writing. It may not be an urgent task but it will have maximum impact on your career. Taking care of our health, building relationships with family and friends, spiritual development; these things will have maximum impact on our lives and we need to focus on these. However because we spend most of the time doing unimportant and urgent things, we do not get enough time to focus on the quadrant 2 activities Time is the school in which we learn, time is the fire in which we burn. – Delmore Schwartz

Quadrant 3. These are tasks which are not important but urgent.

These tasks are not important but they seem as important. Regularly checking your emails or answering to calls that may not be required are some of the examples. Going to a supermarket to buy things without any prior planning. These tasks waste our precious time and result in not allowing us to focus on the most important Quadrant 2 activities. These activities have resulted because we lack in planning and do not have the proper vision of our life.

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail – Benjamin Franklyn

Quadrant 4. These are tasks that are neither important nor urgent.These are the tasks which are time wasters. It may be spending too much time on television, surfing the internet or playing video games. These tasks also result in wastage of time preventing us in doing meaningful and important work which will have maximum impact on our life. 

How you are going to manage your life:Focus on doing things that will have maximum impact on your life. These will be the activities of quadrant 2 which will have maximum impact on your life. We need to give our maximum time to these activities and for that, we need vision and proper focus in our lives. We have to say NO to activities which are urgent but not important. By focusing on doing important activities things we will gradually gain control over our lives and things will be taken care of without them becoming urgent. 

If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I would spend the first four hours sharpening the ax – Abraham Lincoln 

This will require proper prioritization of tasks and make sure we plan our week properly and do things that are absolutely important rather than aimlessly doing things that hold little significance in our lives.

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