The challenge when it comes to running a successful business is how to manage your time effectively. I hear CEO’s and entrepreneurs constantly bemoaning the lack of hours in the day. However I will strike out and say there are enough hours in the day to get what you want done. It is about managing your time. Steven Covey’s time management matrix is an excellent tool for helping you to shape your time and add value to your business.


Time Management Quadrant:

Steven Covey’s time management quadrant first asks us to set out clearly how we are spending our time. List all the tasks you have for that day and list them as urgent, not urgent, important and not important. We then need to consider which tasks are urgent and important. Those need to be dealt with immediately. The time management quadrant is then likely to show you that many of your tasks require immediate action by you. There is the issue. Immediate action by you. 


Urgent and Important Tasks:

You are leading a company by dealing with all the important issues yourself and being reactive. It is very difficult to grow a business in this way. You need to ascertain which tasks are important and urgent to you rather than urgent and important to the business. Those tasks need to be dealt with by other people that you employ. Not by you. That frees you up to deal with the task that directly relate to you. If you don’t have the employees to deal with the workload – hire some. Steven Covey’s time management matrix teaches you to have control over your time and find ways of doing that. Be careful with your staff. We often find that sometimes as leaders we lack the ability to delegate. We hire staff but end up dealing with more problems that are brought to our door by our staff. The lesson here is to recruit well and ensure the people you hire can do the job. Don’t get distracted. By ensuring that you have delegated some of the important and urgent jobs to members of your team means that you can deal with the important and urgent tasks that are specific to you.


Non Important Tasks:

The not important tasks on your list should be renamed as delusions and distractions. For example a business owner might have ‘tidy up the factory’ on his list. This is not his job and doesn’t benefit him in any way. Doing these tasks will take him away from the important money making tasks within his business. The time management quadrant helps you to clearly set out what tasks you need to be concentrating on immediately, what tasks need to be delegated and what tasks need to dropped or certainly delegated like the non important tasks


Non urgent tasks:

The not urgent are often tasks that need consideration and time given consistently going forward. For example spending time with a loved one is not urgent but it is important to the health and longevity of your relationship. The same goes for business. Be careful how you deal with non urgent tasks that are still deemed important. They take a lot of consistent work and may be tasks that are easy to put off but have a detrimental effect on the business if they aren’t dealt with. The tasks could well become less of a choice in dealing with them and more of an immediate and urgent problem. Often they indirectly relate to the growth and health of your business. 


Demand, direction, delusion and distraction:

Steven Covey and his Time Management quadrant allow us to clearly list our tasks. Further to that we can look again at our list and apply the four D’s above. Each task we have will fall into a category. The urgent tasks become demanding and the important jobs become directional for your business. The non important and no urgent jobs fall into the delusion and distraction categories. What this does is create a strong business with clear aims and goals for each day or quarter. Your team will then replicate this in a ‘Monkey see, Monkey do’ kind of way. Be proactive. Follow the time management quadrant and your business will grow.


If you are struggling to use your time effectively and you want to go through Steven Covey and his time management quadrant with me get in touch.


The reality is, time is finite. Time spent is time spent. Do not allow the time thief to rob you of your time. And remember, failing to learn is learning to fail.

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