Everything you need to know about the Time Management Matrix

When we discuss the projects, we follow a timeline during which we have to complete a certain task or work. The project manager must know the time management matrix. By adopting a time management matrix, he can not only do his work on time but can adopt the habit of being organized.

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We all are doing some tasks in our professional and personal lives. In our personal lives, we are not answerable to anyone, but in professional life, we have to answer our organization or boss. We need to think practically and keep arranged for fulfilling our tasks.

When we discuss the projects, we follow a timeline during which we have to complete a certain task or work. The project manager must know the time management matrix. By adopting a time management matrix, he can not only do his work on time but can adopt the habit of being organized.

Time management matrix: A way to manage tasks smoothly

Many successful business companies are following the seven habits of Stephen Covey and adopting the time management matrix to bring about a success formula. Time management is not about noting the starting time and ending only. It is about deciding the time and then using it productively to complete the tasks on their time.

 The time management matrix helps you organize the tasks, categorize them, and then do them according to their importance and urgency. If you start a project, you do not split it into little chunks and start working on the raw material. You won't be able to complete it in the right way.

We observe nature, which shows everything is organized and scheduled, and nothing gets out of the way. Don't you think we also need some tricks to organize and proactively deal with any situation if we get urgent work?

We need to categorize the thing and keep working on them that demands your attention continuously and do the thing on time that is urgent only. Following four quadrants will help you to organize the tasks, especially in your professional life, and make it clear for you to pick the right one first.

Quadrant 1: Put at first

The first quadrant is about urgent and important tasks. We have different categories of tasks that we need to do on time, which are also important. These tasks need our quick attention. Otherwise, we may observe severe loss.

For example, if you were calmly conducting an important meeting in your office and suddenly you heard an alarming sound of fire. What would you prefer to do? Will you continue your meeting, or will you ask to look for the extinguishers to control the fire? It is time you need to decide what is important and urgent.

This emergency seeks more attention, and you need to work on it compared to the meeting. You can postpone your meeting for another, but you can't as the fire to for you before spreading.

Quadrant 2: Scheduling big rocks

In the second quadrant, you will put those important tasks and activities that are usually part of long-term goals. These tasks need your long-term planning so that you can reach your goal at the end of a certain period.

For example, if you are working on a project and a long project usually does not have a definite date and day, you can decide on a time like one year or six months. You will plan this project accordingly using monthly Gantt charts and another daily to-do list. You do not need to follow an exact deadline but some fixed time. I may include your health maintenance, walking, taking exercise, relationship maintenance, etc.

Quadrant 3: Attention-seeking Distractions

In the third quadrant, put tasks that are urgent but not important. We need to do things that are not important but urgent, so we put them in quadrant 3. For example, paying utility bills, we need to grab the time to attend an office call when we are with family after office. You need to define your urgent but not important tasks.

Quadrant 4: Eliminate wastage

If we talk about quadrant 4, it is all about things that are a waste of time usually, but we still do them. Such things are part of our lives, like using social media on the phone, watching TV, or playing games. We cannot subtract them totally but put them in quadrant 4 and try to spend the least time in this quadrant. So, you may call this quadrant dustbin of your tasks.

Ways to manage time management matrix

When you know a time management matrix, you must know how to use it effectively. So, here are some tips to use or manage the time management matrix given below.

·  Enlist the tasks with deadlines

Before playing with the time management matrix, you should be very clear about the deadline for the assigned tasks. First, you should develop a list of tasks you will be doing throughout the month, every day or after taking a pause. Do not forget to write the deadline in front of each task. Doing so lets you know which task has a close deadline and is also important. It will enhance your planning skill as well.

·  Identify your big rocks.

The next step in using the time management matrix is to organize the things so that you can extract important things or tasks. Suppose we randomly put stones of all sizes in the jar. Can we make maximum space for them?

Never, the place would be low for them. If we sort out the stones as big and small rocks, we put them in the jar, starting with the big rocks. You will see more space in the jar, and all rocks are properly arranged without any hassle. Similarly, if we put our tasks in the right category by sorting them as big and small rocks, we can get them done easily.

·  Be mindful

When working on a project, you should be mindful and responsible. If you observe things deeply and sort them wisely, you will get them done in perfect order without getting into flaws.

·  Learn to say no to less important things

We have many things to do around us that can be professional, personal, or related to relationships. Sometimes, we are packed with hectic routines, and we still waste our energy on the things which are less important or are not part of our job. Yes, it is a good thing to do a favor to others, but when you are not available, you should say not instead of working on things you can't do or things that are not in your control. It would not be a big deal to say no to less important things. It will save your energy and time.

·  Keep checking your score every week.

We set our targets with some deadlines. Do you think you will achieve them if you do not keep track of them? No, it is not possible as you do not know whether you are following the right direction or not. You need to keep a check and balance the score you have set for a week or a month.

Suppose you want to lose weight of about 5 kg in two months. You will develop an action plan regarding how many glasses of water you will drink daily, how much time you will spend on a walk, and avoid eating junk food.

Every day you need to track your performance by looking at your action plan, whether you followed it today or not.

·  Identify the lacking areas.

Now, look for the next productive step: identifying the lacking behind your goal. You can identify them by looking at the scoreboard of your goal and being firm. It will show you how often you have avoided your plan and how much more concentration you need.

What are the advantages of using a time management matrix?

The time management matrix is like a magic wand as it can turn your days and performance if you stay firm. You must learn and focus on the time management matrix according to your to-dos and find the best solutions. Following are some advantages of the time management matrix.

·  Helps you to be organized

When you are following this beautiful tool, you become organized. You look deeply into the things you must do and have the mind to sort them accordingly. So, you will not be confused about things' right place.

·  Let you know what is most important.

As we learn about four quadrants for categorization of the tasks so, we can better arrange them in the relevant quadrant by knowing their importance and urgency.

·  Develop planning skills

Now, you know your duties and responsibilities and how you will fulfill them. You will plan your weeks for your office work, family and friends, and yourself. You will develop planning skills soon, and it will enhance the chances of your productivity.

Final Remarks:

A time management matrix is a methodology of planning your tasks according to their importance and deadline so that you can do them at the right time. Four quadrants will help you to categorize the tasks and develop planning skills for a happy and satisfying professional and personal life.

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