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Time Management: The Quadrant Method

Posted By Danielle M. Hall, Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Developing and maintaining effective time management skills is a continual process. However, if you are willing to put in the work to improve your time management skills, the pay off can be well worth it. Studies show that in addition to improving productivity, time management skills can also help reduce stress. 

In our July 17, 2018 post, we discussed using the Pomodoro technique to better help manage your time. This technique is a personal favorite; however, it might not work for everyone. If you are looking for a different option to better suit your needs, you may want to consider the quadrant method, a time management method developed by speaker and author, Stephen Covey.

This method takes your linear to-do list and asks you to split the items up into two buckets: what’s important and what is not. From there you split the tasks even further into what is due soon and what is due later.

Here is a sample:

Click image for full size


Quadrant 1 would include only those activities that need your immediate attention. This space should stay reserved for emergencies and extremely important deadlines. When you start your day, you know where to work first: the upper left corner in Quadrant 1.

Quadrant 2 should be comprised of things that are important to you and your business but need not be done until a later date. A good example for this quadrant would be something like strategic planning.

Quadrant 3 would contain items that are more than likely interruptions in your day. Items like emails, phone calls, some meetings. Setting aside a time to specifically handle these interruptions at one time should save you some time in your day and allow you to focus on Quadrant 1 tasks. Delegation may also be an option for some of your Quadrant 3 tasks.

Quadrant 4 activities are those that waste your time and offer no value. These are the tasks you want to eliminate. Think: surfing the internet or social media.

You should find that most of your time is spent in Quadrants 1 and 3; however, having a more organized and prioritized list should open time in your schedule to work on Quadrant 2 tasks, allowing time to focus on items that enhance your skills and your business.

Do you have a different time management method that you have found effective? Leave your recommendations in the comments.

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Tags:  Author: Danielle M. Hall  quadrant method  time management 

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