Improve your time management with this Time Matrix - Peter Boolkah

Are you an entrepreneur? If so, then you know that time is your most precious commodity. You can’t afford to waste a minute on things that don’t matter. So how do you make the most of your time? One way is to improve your time management matrix. By doing this, you can ensure that you are focusing on the most important tasks and goals. Here’s how to get started…

For many of us, the last couple of years have seen a massive change in how our working lives are structured. The Covid pandemic saw many people working from home, often for the first time and juggling homeschooling and family. At first, the change may have seemed blissful; you gained a couple of hours a day back due to the lack of commute, and for a while, life felt good as you relaxed into a new way of working, but as time went on, are you left feeling like you don’t have enough hours in the day?

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The lines between home and work may have blurred, and your time management skills are starting to lag. That once hated commute is now missed in some ways. Perhaps that hour on the train was an opportunity to catch up on email or read through documents. Maybe you’re not listening to as many business audiobooks as you used to because you’re not ‘stuck’ in the car.

However, life has changed for you over recent months; I imagine you can probably relate to the many business owners who always say to me, “I don’t have enough time. I don’t have enough time. I need 36 hours in a day, blah, blah,” The reality is we’ve all got 24 hours in a day. We’ve all got enough time. The challenge we have is that we do not use our time effectively. I remember seeing Stephen Covey’s Time Matrix for the first time, and I thought, “Do you know what? I know what I’m doing wrong.”

What is a Time Management Matrix?

Stephen Covey’s Time Management Matrix is a tool that can be used to help you prioritise your tasks. It classifies tasks into four quadrants:

The Time Management Matrix is a helpful tool that can be used to prioritise your tasks and ensure that you are spending your time on the most important things.

Why is Time Management so Important?

We all know that time is money. And yet, so many of us don’t bother to manage our time correctly. We waste precious minutes-sometimes hours!-on things that don’t matter, and we end up feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

Why is time management so important?

For one thing, it can help you get more done in less time. Being more efficient with your time allows you to free up extra hours to do the things you love.

It can also help reduce stress. You’ll feel less rushed and frazzled when you get a handle on your time. This can lead to improved health and overall well-being.

Finally, good time management can improve your relationships. When you’re not constantly running late or scrambling to get things done, you’ll have more time to spend with the people you care about.

How can you start managing your time better?

Here are a few tips:

1. Make a list of what needs to be done. This will help you prioritise and focus on the most critical tasks.

2. Set time limits for each task. This will prevent you from getting sidetracked or spending too much time on one thing.

3. Take breaks when needed. Don’t try to push yourself too hard, or you’ll just end up feeling burnt out.

4. Delegate or outsource when possible. If you’re trying to do everything yourself, you will have difficulty getting everything done.

5. Learn to say “no.” Don’t commit to more than you can handle, or you’ll feel overwhelmed.

Following these tips can start taking control of your time and life. Time management is an essential skill that everyone should learn. It can affect your productivity, stress levels, and relationships. So don’t wait any longer – start managing your time today!

How to Create a Time Management Matrix?

A time management matrix is a great way to help you prioritise your time and tasks. It can be used for both personal and professional purposes.

The first step is to list all the tasks you need to do in a given day, week, or month. Once you have this list, you can start to prioritise them using the following criteria:

1. Urgency: How urgently does this task need to be done?

2. Importance: How important is this task?

3. Value: What is the value of this task?

4. Time required: How much time will this task take?

Once you have considered all of these factors, you can then start to put your tasks into the following categories:

  • High priority: These are tasks that are both urgent and important. They must be done as soon as possible and should take precedence over all other tasks.
  • Medium priority: These tasks may not be as urgent as high-priority tasks, but they are still important. They should be given attention after high-priority tasks have been completed.
  • Low priority: These tasks are neither urgent nor essential. They can usually be put off until a later time or delegated to someone else.

Using a time management matrix, you can ensure that you spend your time on the most important tasks without wasting valuable time on low-priority tasks. This will help you to be more productive and efficient with your time.

time management matrix

Stephen Covey Time Management Matrix

As mentioned previously, Stephen Covey’s Time Management Matrix is a valuable tool for managing your time. It helps you to prioritize your tasks and gives you a clear understanding of what is important and what is not.

The matrix has four quadrants:

  • Q1: Urgent and Important
  • Q2: Important, but not Urgent
  • Q3: Urgent but not Important
  • Q4: Not Urgent and Not Important

Quadrant 1 tasks are those that are both urgent and important. These tasks must be done immediately and cannot be put off. Examples of Quadrant 1 tasks include meeting deadlines, responding to emergencies, and caring for sick loved ones.

Quadrant 2 tasks are important but not urgent. These tasks are important to your long-term goals and well-being but can be scheduled later. Examples of Quadrant 2 tasks include planning for the future, exercising, and spending time with loved ones.

Quadrant 3 tasks are urgent but not important. These tasks can wait but need to be done eventually. Examples of Quadrant 3 tasks include things like checking email, watching TV, and browsing the internet.

Quadrant 4 tasks are neither urgent nor important. These are the tasks that can be safely ignored without consequence. Quadrant 4 tasks include playing video games, surfing the internet, and watching TV.

Stephen Covey’s Time Management Matrix helps manage your time and priorities. By understanding which quadrant your tasks fall into, you can more effectively use your time to achieve your goals.

What Does Covey’s Time Management Matrix Help Us Do?

The Covey time management matrix is a powerful tool that can help us take control of our time.

By categorizing our activities into four quadrants, we can quickly see which areas are most important and need our attention.

Using the covey time management matrix, we can ensure we’re spending our time on the things that matter most.

Which Quadrant of Covey’s Time Management Matrix Should You Focus On?

There are four quadrants in Covey’s time matrix: urgency, importance, direction, and priority.

The urgency quadrant is all about things that are happening right now. This quadrant is full of distractions and things that can take us away from what’s important.

The importance quadrant is all about important things but not necessarily urgent. We should focus on these things because they will help us achieve our long-term goals.

The direction quadrant is about finding our purpose and determining where we want to go. This quadrant helps us identify our priorities and gives us a compass to follow.

The priority quadrant is all about taking action on our priorities. This quadrant is full of things we need to do to achieve our goals.

Covey’s time matrix helps us focus on the direction quadrant because it is important to know where we are going and our priorities. Without this knowledge, we can easily get lost in the other three quadrants. The direction quadrant helps us stay on track and achieve our goals.

Time Management Matrix Examples

The Time Management Matrix, also known as the Eisenhower Matrix, is used to help individuals and organizations prioritise their time. As we have already covered, this matrix is split into four quadrants, each quadrant represents a different type of task requiring a different approach.

The key to effective time management is to focus on Quadrant 2 tasks as much as possible. These are the things that are important but not urgent. By proactively working on these tasks, we can avoid many Quadrant 1 emergencies that tend to crop up.

One of the best ways to do this is to create a daily or weekly list of Quadrant 2 tasks. You want to focus on these things each day or week. By having a list, you can ensure that you’re spending your time on the most important things.

The Time Management Matrix is a powerful tool that can help you take control of your time. By focusing on Quadrant 2 tasks, you can minimize your time in Quadrant 1 and avoid the distractions of Quadrant 3 altogether. This will give you more time to focus on the things that truly matter in your life.

How to Do a Priority Matrix in Time Management?

It can be tough to know where to start if you find yourself with a lot on your plate. That’s where a priority matrix comes in.

A priority matrix is a tool that can help you prioritize your tasks by considering the importance and urgency of each one. By plotting your tasks on a matrix, you can quickly see which ones need to be done right away and which can wait.

Here’s how to create a priority matrix:

1. Draw a grid with four quadrants. Label the quadrants “urgent and important,” “important but not urgent,” “not important but urgent,” and “not important and not urgent.”

2. Plot each of your tasks on the grid. Tasks that are both urgent and important should go in the first quadrant. Tasks that are important but not urgent should go in the second quadrant. Tasks that are not important but urgent should go into the third quadrant. And tasks that are neither important nor urgent should go in the fourth quadrant.

3. Once you’ve plotted all of your tasks, take a look at the quadrants and see which ones have the most tasks. That’s where you should start!

4. Tackle the tasks in each quadrant in order of importance. For example, if you have three tasks in the first quadrant, do the most important one first, the second-most important one, and so on.

5. As you complete tasks, cross them off the list. This will help you keep track of your progress and feel good about what you’ve accomplished!

A priority matrix is a helpful tool for anyone who has a lot on their plate. By considering each task’s importance and urgency, you can ensure that you’re tackling the most important things first. Give it a try the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed!

Who Should Use a Time Management Matrix?

Like most people, you probably feel like there’s never enough time in the day. You’re always racing against the clock, trying to get everything done, and never feeling like you’re ahead of the game. Sound familiar?

If so, it might be time to consider using a time management matrix. This tool can help you control your time by identifying which activities are truly important and need your attention and which ones can be delegated or put on the back burner.

I believe it would be good practice if everyone was taught how to use the time matrix at school, as there is no one on the planet that would not benefit from it.

What Are the Advantages of Using a Time Management Matrix?

Here are my top 20:

1. Better prioritize your tasks.

2. Better use your time.

3. Can help you better manage your workload.

4. Better meet deadlines.

5. Stay organized better.

6. Can help you better manage stress levels.

7. Communicate better with others.

8. Better understand your time needs.

9. Can help you identify your time wasters better.

10. Develop and stick to a time budget better.

11. Learn better to say “no” to requests for your time.

12. Delegate tasks and responsibilities better.

13. Keep better track of progress on projects.

14. Can help you avoid procrastination better.

15. Set and achieve goals better.

16. Better manage change.

17. Deal better with distractions.

18. Value your time better.

19. Can help you better document and review your time use.

20. Troubleshoot problem areas in your time usage better.

How to Fill Your Day for Success

Let me try and put the matrix into context. Let’s look at time in terms of a vase. It’s a beautiful vase, and it represents 24 hours a day. First of all, I’m going to put rocks in my vase. Is my vase full? “No,” I hear you shout. Then, I’m going to put pebbles into my vase. Is my vase now full? No. I’m going to continue filling the vase by adding sand in there. Is it full? You’re a hard bunch to please. Finally, I’m going to pour some water into the vase. It’s full. That’s my 24 hours, every second filled. How does that reflect in the matrix?

First, we added rocks; rocks are the direction of your business. Pebbles represent demand. Distraction is characterised by sand, and Delusion is water. I want you to start thinking about how you spend your time in the business. If in your business, your vase is full of pebbles, sand, and water, how are you ever going to get the rocks into your business, into your vase, to take control?

Often clients say to me, “Well, I don’t have time to put the rocks.” And I agree, but you’ve got to change how you’re filling your vase and put the rocks in first if you want to grow your business sustainably.

How Are You Spending Your Time?

If you’re ready and willing to create more time for your business, I want you to go and analyse precisely what you are doing during your day. How are you spending your time? And actually, what impact is it having on you getting your business to where you want it to be?

The harsh reality is that if you’re spending time in the wrong areas, I promise you that your team will also be doing the same.

I love the saying, “Monkey see, monkey do.” Your team will represent and replicate what you’re doing. If you are dysfunctional, they’re going to be dysfunctional too. If you’ve got a very proactive-based business, it’s because you are very proactive. If you’ve got a very reactive-based company is because you are reactive. Proactiveness starts in the direction box.

If you’ve got this far and are interested in looking at time management within your business, you want to go through the Covey Matrix, and perhaps you want to do the exercises to establish where you’re spending your time, head over to and get in touch.

The reality is time is finite. See, with money, you can spend your money, and you can always turn it back. Once your time is finished, you can’t earn your time back. Time spent is time spent. Do not allow the time thief to rob you of your time.


If you spend your money, you can always earn more; once your time is spent, it’s gone. Time is finite, so the sooner you master time management, the sooner you make the best use of this precious resource, Embrace the time matrix, make sure you operate with a task list and assign the right tasks to the right people, so you are freed up to work in the direction quadrant.

Get in touch with us today for 1 on 1 coaching to get your business back on track.


What are the 4 categories of the time management matrix?

There are four categories of the time management matrix: important and urgent, important and not urgent, not important and urgent, and not important and not urgent.

What are the 3 main elements of time management?

There are three main elements of time management: planning, organizing, and prioritizing.

Planning involves setting goals and determining the steps needed to achieve them. It also includes estimating the time required for each task and scheduling when to do them.

Organizing involves creating a system for storing and accessing information. This includes keeping track of deadlines, appointments, and other important dates.

Prioritizing involves identifying the most critical tasks and ensuring they are completed first. It also includes setting aside time for leisure activities and personal care.

Time management is an important skill to have in today’s fast-paced world. By learning to plan, organize, and prioritize your time, you can make the most of each day and get more done.

Who created the time management matrix?

Dwight D. Eisenhower, the thirty-fourth president of the U.S., thought we should devote attention and time to our activities following their importance and urgency. He said that we are too inclined to focus on the things that are both important and urgent. This generates a reactive behaviour based on what has to be done right now, instead of focusing on the important and not urgent things, which would be the basis of a more strategic behaviour based on long-term goals.

Stephen R. Covey popularised Eisenhower’s Time Management Matrix in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, stating that we live in the fourth generation of time management, more effective, in which managing time itself is no longer the aim, but managing where to focus any particular time.


“Remember, failing to learn is learning to fail.”

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