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Managing time is all about making choices and assigning priorities. As I often say, time does not need our help to go by. It just moves on. It’s up to us to manage ourselves in a manner that makes the best use of time. Frequently you hear people complain about their inability to complete a task, take up a hobby or start a new interest. ” I don’t have the time” they complain. No one has the time. Successful people make time for the tasks they consider important.

In “First Things First” by Stephen Covey with Roger Merrill and Rebecca Merrill- there is an interesting statistic worth mentioning. Everyone knows that there are 4 quadrants:

  1. Urgent & Important
  2. Not Urgent & Important
  3. Urgent & Not Important
  4. Not Urgent & Not Important.

Where does most of your time go? High performing organisations, they say, spend 65-80 % in Quadrant 2 activities as against a mere 15 % by typical organisations. Likewise, high performing organisations spend only 15 % in Quadrant 3 activities as against a much higher 50-60 % by typical organisations.

Many of us fall into the “urgency” trap and lose sight of the tasks which are more important to us. Former US President Eisenhower is supposed to have said: “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important”.

” First Things First” is highly recommended, detailing many techniques that can help you grapple with the ever increasing demands of the contemporary workplace.

For a quick appreciation of the Urgent-Important Matrix see the material at ModernManagers.com.

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This is Post No: 245 of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success.