If you’re like most business owners, you probably find that there’s not enough time in your day to accomplish everything you need to. And that leaves you feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.
Here, I’m going to teach you a powerful framework for identifying which tasks you absolutely NEED to do…and which you can let slide by!
Stephen Covey, the bestselling author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, posited that there are four basic quadrants into which all tasks fall:
The first quadrant, important and urgent, consists of things you simply must do NOW: crises, pressing problems with employees, clients or orders, deadline-driven projects, putting out fires and taking care of emergencies and so on.
Most business owners spend most of their time taking care of these things that are urgent and important for the health of the business.
The second quadrant, important and not urgent, is the “quality time” quadrant — it consists of critical tasks that can be scheduled in advance. Working on your business plan, budgeting and forecasting, personal recreation, investing in important relationships, like family and educating him or herself as a business owner.
These are all the kinds of things that prevent fires down the road that become urgent. Albert Einstein was quoted as saying: “If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.”
The third quadrant consists of not important and urgent tasks. These are distractions and interruptions, unimportant emails, tasks, and phone calls that compete for your attention in the moment.
A lot of business owners will spend time doing these things that seem urgent but are really not important.
The fourth quadrant, not important and not urgent, is the “time-wasting” quadrant: online games, trivia, unproductive meetings, avoidance activities, mindless TV or social media and so on.
There’s not much you can do about Quadrant 1 (except, perhaps, to make sure that you’ve properly identified what belongs there), so your productivity relies on how well you manage the other three quadrants.
Generally speaking, to be successful, you must INCREASE the amount of time you spend in Quadrant 2 by DECREASING the amount of time you spend in Quadrants 3 and 4!
As a result, the more time you spend in Quadrant 2, the less time you will spend in Quadrant 1.
Here’s an interesting exercise for you. Make a list of the most common tasks you perform each week and assign them to the various quadrants. Estimate how much time you spend in each quadrant. If you’re like most people, the results will be eye-opening.
If you find yourself struggling to decide which tasks go where get in touch with me. I’ve helped many business owners gain control over their calendars. I invite you to book a 15-minute call to discuss business coaching. You can book a complimentary 15-minute call with me at TimeWithShane.com.