Time management is an essential skill that is necessary to support your success. The key to time management is prioritization. In a world full of so many distractions and long to-do lists, one can only manage all critical tasks by applying some criterion of prioritization. So how can it be done?
Prioritizing by urgency and importance
One of the most informative concepts that I have come to know both in practice and theoretical studies towards success is the urgency/importance matrix. Until I learned about this simple approach to prioritization, it was difficult to explain the secret behind effective time management for entrepreneurs and people in the business. With this method, you will find it much easier to prioritize tasks in daily routine and in the long term.
There are many variants and interpretations of the urgency/importance matrix in time management. However, the essence of all time management tasks is that they are based on a distinction between Important and Urgent tasks, if one is to seek success.
- Important tasks are those on which the success and achievement of your goals largely depend.
- Urgent tasks require immediate action or attention, but most often are not relevant to achieving your goals.
Using these two terms, you can decide what to do first. We also define productivity: it is the fulfillment of the most important in the first place and, in particular, the realization of what will lead you to your goals most quickly. When planning activities and setting priorities, concentrate on essential tasks, that is, those classified as “important and urgent” and “important and not urgent.”
Category 1. Important and Urgent
The tasks of time management, which you attributed to this category, must be performed without fail:
- Urgent unforeseen tasks: No matter how carefully you plan your activities, unforeseen circumstances always arise. And then, you need to spend time-solving these issues, although they were not in your calendar in advance. Depending on these circumstances’ importance and urgency, you may even have to postpone any of the planned cases to cope with the unexpectedly arisen.
- Fundamentally important meetings: This is a fundamental factor in the promotion of your career or project.
- Terms of delivery: These are not terms that you set for yourself, but those stipulated as your obligations and the violation of which will lead to unfavorable consequences for you.
It is easier to include tasks from the category “Important and Urgent” in your bookkeeping and understand how to cope with them if you have a clear idea of all your affairs for a day or a week.
Category 2. Important and Not urgent
- Preparation and strategic planning: Formulate your personal and professional goals through prioritization and the purposes of the company. A long-term plan will help minimize or completely exclude the emergence of cases from the category of “important and urgent.”
- Work on projects: Plan your work so that projects do not begin to depend on deadlines and do not become a source of problems.
- Training and professional development: This is an activity that significantly impacts your professional growth and achievement of goals.
- Doing sports, rest, and taking care of yourself: Do not forget to include these essential and non-urgent cases in your calendar to become your priorities.
Often, we are wasting most of our time. It is essential to avoid what is “not important and not urgent.” Focus on the crucial tasks and projects that have the most significant impact on your career and happiness. These can empower your success through the power of prioritization.
The more you practice time management skills, the more efficiently you prioritize tasks. The better you will assess the real importance of each task and understand whether you need to undertake it. When you learn more about time management and understand the value of your own time, you will carefully guard it and stop other people’s attempts to “steal” your time.