We at Think Inc. have been creating the Management Desk Planner for the last twelve years so would love to help the users of Think Management Planner 2017, to use this product in a more optimal way so that they reach their potential in a more organised and less stressful manner. On every page of the planner we have given space for you to list your priorities for the week. The key to more effective time management is to prioritize your tasks correctly, categorize your activities to fit in one out of the following four categories:
- Urgent and Important
- Not Urgent but Important
- Urgent but not Important
- Neither Urgent nor Important
Ideally you will list down all your planned activities. After you create a list of tasks and separate them into the four categories using markers as shown below, you should be able to see clearly which tasks to do first. Focus on the first category, as this category should contain only the tasks that should be dealt with as soon as possible. It might not necessarily be the most attractive category for you, as most of your goals and plans you wish to achieve will end up in the second category.
Tasks in the fourth category that are neither important nor urgent are mostly time wasters. If you wish to effectively manage your time, you should reduce or eliminate tasks in this category. You should try to get rid of tasks in the third category as well but they’re mostly tasks you didn’t plan for so eliminating them might be tricky.
Reducing and/or eliminating activities in categories three and four will allow you to spend additional time on the activities in the first two quadrants in order to remain efficient.
Preferably, you need to learn how to manage your task so you rarely have activities under the first category. These will be the tasks to deal with as the top priority. The fewer tasks there are in the first category at a time, the easier it is to focus on them.
How can you avoid distractions and the activities in category three and four in order to remain focused? Well, the best resolution is to schedule your time. Schedule time for task with higher priority and maintain some open time daily for networking tasks such as building relationship and mentoring.
A highly effective approach for time management is to manage the peak and non-peak productivity times daily. Generally, higher productivity times will be in the morning. Early afternoons after lunch break are generally less productive. Try to especially focus on the first quadrant in the morning.
A crucial and important aspect when it comes to planning and prioritizing would be learning how and when to “Say No”.
Here is an example of how the Four Categories can look in your To-Do List. You can use four different colour markers to help you recognize the categories just by looking at them.
|Task Name||Priority||Due Date|
|Call someone to fix the pipes||IU (Important and Urgent)||(None)|
|Prepare the presentation for tomorrow||IU (Important and Urgent)||10/14|
|Ask Amit about the business proposal||INU (Important, Not Urgent)||(none)|
|Go to the gym at 16:00||INU (Important, Not Urgent)||10/14|
|Prepare the presentation for next month||INU (Important, Not Urgent)||(none)|
|Change the tyre||IU (Important and Urgent)||(none)|
|Watch a movie||NINU (Not Important, Not Urgent)||(none)|
At a glance, it may appear as if all the tasks on your list are equally urgent and important. But with only a few minutes of your time, the differences quickly become clear when you know how to identify your priorities, then organize and execute around them.Deciding what is most important is a skill you develop with mindful practice. Since each of us has our own unique set of duties, goals, and responsibilities, there is no one formula that works for everybody. To prioritize effectively, you must first understand your own roles and dreams.
- What are your job duties?
- What commitments do you have to family or community?
- What are your personal and professional long-term aspirations?
- How are you moving toward them?
Once you know these things, you will find it easier to define your priorities and schedule your time to make better use of it. Spend a few minutes contemplating these questions before you proceed.
We spend time in one of four ways, as seen in this matrix below.
90 percent of most people’s time is spent in Quadrant 1, the Urgent and Important, while the remaining 10 percent is spent “vegging out” in Not Urgent and Not Important Quadrant IV. Some people spend all their time in Quadrant III under the illusion that they are dealing with important Quadrant I matters, but they’re really just wasting time. Quadrants III and IV may contain either entertaining or seemingly important tasks.
Effective people stay out of Quadrants III and IV because, urgent or not, they aren’t important.” If you have problems prioritizing, it’s a good bet that you will find most of your daily activities can be put into these quadrants.
The secret to good time management and effective prioritization is simple: make sure you spend most of your time in Quadrant II. Quadrant II deals with things that are important but not urgent, such as relationship-building and investing time in planning the future. You not only get all your tasks completed, but you also build a strong foundation for the future by putting your time where it will reap benefits instead of going to waste.
If you live in Quadrant II, “Your effectiveness would increase dramatically. Your crises and problems would shrink to manageable proportions because you would be thinking ahead, working on the roots.”
To become more productive immediately, try spending a few moments every morning evaluating your priorities. Write each of your daily tasks in the planner using the marker. The things that count, the things that are your priorities, will show up repeatedly over the course of the planner. Try to identify which category you spend the majority of your time in (it may surprise you) and you’ll have a clear picture of what’s most important to you. Then, all you have to do is get in the habit of evaluating each task with the category in mind. Prioritizing is about choosing what to do and what not to do. No matter what your goals and pressures are, remember that your time is under your control. Once you get comfortable evaluating the usefulness of your tasks—planned or unplanned—you will see an immediate increase in your productivity, your success, and your energy in all areas of your life.
- Inspired by Steven R. Covey