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Time Management – How Small Business Coaching Can Help You Regain Control

TIME MANAGEMENT TOOL – How a small business coach maximises their time.

Business Time Management

How is it that some people seem to always have the time to do all the things that most people never find the time to do?  Have a look at this simple but effective tool for better time management and let us know if it is beneficial. It is an essential tool for a business coach to use to maximise their time. The Urgent Important Matrix “ What is it and How To Use it! The Urgent Important Matrix is a very effective productivity and time management tool to assist people maximize their time more effectively. It’s limitless for a wide spectrum of coaching from career, executive and business coaching to life and even spiritual coaching. It’s a great model to share with young people and anyone who is disorganized to assist them being more focused  It’s an engaging experiential tool to utilize in a workshop or seminar and the number one time management tool practice by a business coach at the top of their game.

So why does a Small Business Coach advisor think that The Urgent Important Matrix is an invaluable tool?

Former US President Eisenhower used this so-called “Eisenhower Principle” to organize his tasks. He is quoted as saying, “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” It was Dr Stephen Covey (of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” who took these concepts mainstream, calling it The Urgent Important Matrix in his famous book. Having a simple grid, this identifies tasks according to their particular significance as well as urgency:

  • Quadrant 1  “Crises“ URGENT and IMPORTANT
  • Quadrant 2 “ Goals and Planning“ NON-URGENT and IMPORTANT
  • Quadrant 3 “ Interruptions “ URGENT and NOT IMPORTANT
  • Quadrant 4 “ Distractions“ NOT URGENT and NOT IMPORTANT

Exactly what do most of us suggest by Important and Urgent?

  • Urgent Tasks: cause us to react; most of us cease what we’re currently doing to work on the urgent task instead.
  • Important Tasks: lead us towards our overall mission or goals and these key actions often require planning, organization and initiative.

So, let’s take a more in depth look at the individual Urgent Important Matrix quadrants and how a business coach maximises their time:

Quadrant 1 “ Crises” or Important AND Urgent Tasks

What: Tasks that fall into this quadrant include deadlines, urgent meetings, pressing problems, crises as well as fire-fighting. This can be anything from an overdue project or a report to customer complaints, a severe bottleneck or even a fragmented business process right through to a burst pipe or an ailment such as a toothache that hasn’t been dealt with!

How we feel: When we spend a lot of time in this quadrant most of us come to be harassed and burned out.

Action: Minimise the time you spend in this quadrant by prioritizing, delegating and planning i.e. spending more time in Quadrant 2. You may need assistance identifying and clarifying priorities and to brainstorm ways to timetable chunks of time pertaining to these important tasks. A business coach would suggest that you may also find it valuable to identify and focus on completing the big rocks first before working on the pebbles and sand which otherwise can consume your lives.

Quadrant 2 “ Goals and Planning” or Important and Non-Urgent Tasks

What: This is the big picture quadrant. These actions direct us towards our big goals and projects and can include team building, relationship and planning, issue prevention and risk assessment as well as health and recreational activities that help us maintain equilibrium in our day to day lives such as a doctor’s appointment or booking an electrician.

How we feel: After we commit a lot of time in this quadrant we feel calmer and more at bay, we deal with most issues before they arise and are likely to have strong assistance from others. All of this signifies a lot fewer crises to contend with later which is good for our clients, their careers AND the organisations who employ them.

Action: You should maximise the time spent in this quadrant. Set defined time aside to plan, develop relationships, prepare for problems and maintain your health.

Quadrant 3 “ Interruptions” or Urgent and Not Important Tasks

What: Tasks or activities in this quadrant disrupt or distract us from our important tasks. It could be anything from co-workers stopping by for a conversation, unnecessarily checking emails, answering the phone to other people’s interruptions and irrelevant meetings.

How we feel: When we spend a lot of time in this quadrant most of us sense we’re not accomplishing much or getting anywhere. Often, as a result, we react to others unkindly and feel caught, frustrated and stressed out.

Action: Lessen the amount of time spent in this quadrant by researching as well as prioritizing the task list and focusing on the high importance tasks first. You may also require assistance to say and question or delegate other people’s interruptions.

Quadrant 4 “ Distractions” or Not Urgent AND Not Important Tasks

What: Time spent in this quadrant are distractions from the tasks at hand. They can vary from excessive or unnecessary email or phone calls from friends, social media usage to any activity we involve ourselves in that wastes time and detract from necessary work.

How we feel: These distractions can cause us to be late, not completing assignments or tasks on time and can cause tiredness, stress and the inability to be effective. In our personal lives areas like excessive TV or internet surfing at home can also fall into this category. At an extreme, too much time spent in this quadrant can result in unfavourable self-talk, depressive symptoms and people being sacked! Some of these distractions can leave us feeling empowered in measured doses, so we’re definitely not saying people need to be focused all of the time, just to maximise the best use of time we need to be mindful of when, where and how often we side track ourselves.

Action: Eradicate time spent unconsciously in distractions. Use the time reclaimed from this quadrant to improve other areas.

TOOLS TO ASSIST YOUR TIME MANAGEMENT: You can simply sketch the grid on a sheet of paper and complete the tasks that fall into each specific area.

Reviewing The Urgent Important Matrix

The essence of the simple but powerful Urgent Important Matrix is:

  1. To consciously give priority to our most important tasks and to plan as well as delegate so that we tackle problems BEFORE they become urgent crises and
  2. To become conscious of our interruptions and distractions so that we can decrease or eliminate them. This empowers people to manage their limited time resources to get their priority tasks done in a more enjoyable and less stressful way.
Final Word

Please contact us with your feedback or comments regarding time management Contact Us How much time you spend in each quadrant will be determined by several things including your personality, how excited you are about your work and life and the type of work (and even the employer), that you have. Everyone needs to discover a unique way of working that works for them and that is our job as your business coach to assist you to do that.

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