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Time Management Quadrants

By Jason Barnes

Running your own business gives you a lot of freedom. You are your own boss, you make the rules. If you want to work today, great! If you don’t want to make dials tonight, no one is telling you that you have to. But that is why a lot of small businesses fail. You tend to focus your time doing ridiculous things that are a complete waste of time simply to avoid going out of your comfort zone. No one has ever said success was comfortable. Just as our “Friend” John Maxwell said last weekend, “Everything worthwhile is uphill.”


Dr. Stephen Covey wrote in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People that all of your time is spent in one of four quadrants, things that are:


I. Important and urgent

II. Important but not urgent

III. Not important but urgent

IV. Not important and not urgent


Quadrant IV: items are easy to recognize. These things are not important and not urgent. We all can be guilty of this. Watching TV falls into this category, especially when done in excess. Checking your Facebook and social media. These are all activities, that unintentionally, we set out to waste our time.


Quadrant III: is “Not important but urgent.” This quadrant can be deceptive because our idea of urgency can be skewed. You may be sitting there reading a personal development book but you hear a Ding Ding from your phone and you lose your train of thought and check the text message you just got from your best friend. Rather than ignoring it, now you find yourself in a texting conversation and you don’t finish that chapter. That is just one example of something we perceive to be urgent when really, it is not!


Quadrant II: is the most important use of your time as a business owner and leader. The things that fall into this category truly impact the quality of your life and business possibly more than any other area. The things that fall into this category are; goal-setting, strategic planning or protecting your schedule, exercise, personal development, prayer, date night with your spouse, journaling, saving money, and changing the oil in your car. We can all agree that these are important things but because they aren’t urgent, they tend to be put on the back burner and eventually can be put into quadrant I if left unattended for too long. Quadrant II activities are the building blocks of a high-quality life and business.


Quadrant I: items are easy to recognize. Buying leads, calling those leads, researching the best product for your client, setting appointments, submitting business, and checking your pending business. These are all things you must do in order to make money in our business. But don’t get confused. These things should be blocked off in your schedule as Important and Urgent. Don’t replace one of these tasks with a quadrant II item. For example, you shouldn’t be reading and focusing on personal development at 9am on Saturday mornings because that’s when you should be on the phone scheduling appointments. Date night needs to be pushed back to Saturday night because you should be making dials Friday evenings. Journaling should be done first thing in the morning and/or right before bed. If you’re not making quadrant I tasks a priority then you simply won’t make it here.


To sum up, focus on the bold and spend most of your time doing quadrant I and II activities, avoid quadrant IV as much as possible and either delegate or avoid quadrant III things. This will help your business THRIVE! See what I did there?



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