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Strategies For Time Management: Franklin Covey’s 4 Quadrants

Are looking for strategies for time management? “Franklin Covey’s 4 Quadrants” is a good place to start. Franklin breaks down time management into 4 quadrants that make managing your life easier. Once you know how to manage your time effectively, you’ll become super effective by cutting out procrastination. After you get done reading about this time management model, all you have to do is apply it.

Strategies For Time Management: Intro To Franklin Covey’s 4 Quadrants

Two factors oppose each other, time management and procrastination. By practicing Franklin’s time management model, your analytical skills will improve as well. Franklin divides the time into 4 categories: Important and Urgent, Important and not Urgent, Not Important and Urgent, Not Important and Not Urgent. The picture here shows how to draw up the Franklin’s 4 quadrants.

Franklin Covey's 4 Quadrants

In quadrant #1, you have things that are important and urgent. In quadrant #2, you have things that are important and not urgent. In quadrant #3, you have things that are urgent, but not important. Finally, in quadrant #4, you have things that are not important and not urgent.

Important things that need to get done, are things that you value, or that someone else values that affects you or your job. Urgent things are time sensitive. It’s important to distinguish between them or you will be categorizing things incorrectly.

Strategies For Time Management: Time Management Examples

Time management planning is essential, so let’s get down to what you may find in each quadrant. Quadrant #1 is the most critical of the 4 quadrants. Here you’ll have crisis that come up, deadline driven projects, meetings, and reports that need to be done. You’ll also have other pressing problems that come up unexpectedly. Quadrant #2 has things that are important, but have time to plan for. Examples of such are: preparation for events, prevention of known issues that will arise, planning for projects, building of relationships, recreational activities, and bringing about clarity of subjects. Quadrant #3 is geared toward things like interruptions that seem needless, unnecessary reports, unimportant: meetings, phone calls, mail, and emails. Then you have other people’s problems that will arise. Quadrant #4 is basically play time or things to do when you have time to waste. These things include trivia, busywork, irrelevant phone calls, junk mail, email, escape activities, excessive: TV, internet activities, relaxation and other time wasters.

Strategies For Time Management: Where People Get Stuck

Good time management planning is crucial, and often people are stuck in quadrants 1 and 4 due to procrastination. To be most effective, you should constantly seek to improve time management skills. It is often said, “Failure to plan, is planning to fail.” Architects plan out their processes to a T when designing things.

“So how do we get the ball rolling on this time management thing?”

Set aside 15 minutes a day to work on your time management process. Some people choose to do this a day ahead of time. It seems to have a greater effectiveness when you actually write, not type or think, the things that need to get done in a day. Work on important things before they become urgent. This will relieve a lot of undue stress. Sure, we all know the importance of time management, but few act on it.

Strategies For Time Management: Overcoming Quadrant 1

We must work on things categorized in quadrant 2, before it reaches quadrant 1. When we stop working on things that are not important, it is then that we free up more time to get things done ahead of schedule. This can be challenging, but it can be done.

This is not something that you’re going to master overnight. It will take weeks or months to organize and develop your days into a good structure. Challenge yourself to organize your day differently, put big time wasters at the end of the day instead of at the beginning. If possible, you should work on the most important tasks at the beginning of your day instead of at the end.

Now you know and understand Franklin’s 4 Quadrants and how to categorize things into them. Have you ever had trouble organizing your day? Do you have trouble with deciding what to do next? If you have any time management ideas that have helped you out, please list them below.

Edit: This post was published in Time Management Magazine, Volume #1, September 2012 “Four Quadrant Introduction” page 21 (see my Reviews).

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