Doesn’t everyone love deadlines? Particularly the whooshing noise as they fly by... Time management is the bane of many a working professional’s existence. Meetings, reminders, zooms, emails: our days are riddled with a hundred thousand fiddly tasks that sap energy and eat away at your time until suddenly it’s 5 o’clock and you’ve achieved absolutely nothing...

Managing your time effectively is one of the most vital skills you’ll need to hone if you are going to prosper as a business owner, but don’t worry, if you’re struggling  there are tried and tested methods of sorting yourself out. Time management has never been your strong suit? Take a look at the Covey Time Management Matrix.

What is the Covey Time Management Matrix?

Named after educator, author and businessman Stephen Covey, The Covey Matrix is a framework for prioritising your time and tasks for efficiency and productivity.

At heart, it is a simple, easy-to-understand box divided into four areas, or ‘quadrants’, representing how your time is divided by importance and urgency. The matrix as a whole represents the time you have and can’t be changed, but each quadrant can be edited depending on how much time you spend in it. The ultimate idea is to shift as much of your time into quadrant two, whilst reducing time spent in the others.

How do the four quadrants work?

Quadrant 1: Important and Urgent (Do it now) – You need a little flexibility here, as it can cover time-sensitive crisis events that can’t be planned for

Quadrant 2: Important and Not Urgent (Do later) – This is the quadrant you should ideally be spending most of your time. The goal is to work on important tasks before they become urgent and cause an imbalance in your overall schedule.

Quadrant 3: Not Important and Urgent (Delegate) – In a business setting, work that’s urgent but not actually important (to you) will often be brought to you from staff. Called ‘staff imposed’ time, you need to reduce it as much as possible.

Quadrant 4: Not Important and Not Urgent (Don’t do/Avoid) – Tasks in this quadrant are just plain wasteful, unnecessary meetings or phone calls for example.

Putting the model into action

Time management can be a very personal thing, but there are general principles that apply to pretty much everyone out there. The more time you spend using Covey’s Matrix, the more aware you’ll become of where your workload sits in each quadrant. The only thing you have left to do after this is to shift your time in the right direction. To illustrate, here’s one we made earlier:

Quadrant 1:

Complete project for client.

Prepare presentation for tomorrow’s meeting.

Quadrant 2:

Have a look at businesses budget for next month.

Meeting with managers to report on Q3.

Quadrant 3:

Hold weekly meetings with interns.

Set up call with old clients.

Quadrant 4:

Hold daily meetings with employees.

Check social media.

 

How virtual personal assistants can help with time management

Despite all your best intentions, you may find yourself stuck in Quadrant 1 more often than you’d like. Perhaps it’s the nature of your profession, or a particularly challenging time of the year. Either way, there are still simple solutions that can help clear the deck and give you your precious time back.

If you’re struggling with time management, Cymphony’s virtual personal assistants can help. They are exceptionally trained to ensure they will handle secondary activities for you to focus on the most important tasks. The PA’s help with everything from email to appointment booking and even customer service, freeing up your time to focus on what matters.

Want to learn more about time management and our virtual personal assistants? Get in touch here.

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