The four quadrants of time management – important but not urgent

Time is your most valuable asset and there are four areas that you can spend your time in life.

  • The first quadrant is important and urgent. A crisis. An emergency. You must do it now.
  • The second is important but not urgent. Prevention. Planning. Forward thinking about how to improve.
  • Not important but urgent. Distractions. Interuptions. Busy work.
  • Not important and not urgent. Time wasters. Mindless entertainment. Social media scrolling.

Successful people spend the majority of your time in the second quadrant. The stuff that is important but not urgent. In life this is your health and your relationships. In business this is your forward thinking analysis. Your strategy. Your technology. Your training systems. Things that prevent problems and fires from taking over your time.

Too many business owners spend too much time in quadrant 1. They are running around putting out fires. They are working 15 hour days. They can’t come up for air. They are doing things that have to be done right now because they are emergencies or problems. The deadline is tonight. I’m working on it now because I have no choice.

This goes back to working hard but not smart. If you work smart you are taking care of the issues before they become problems. You are spotting trends. You are studying your competitors. You are analyzing your training systems. You are developing employees and their roles.

Set aside time whenever possible, maybe on the weekends at first, to do some work and thought in quadrant 2. Put systems in place to solve some problems before they become urgent and it will free up even more time to work in quadrant 2.

Stay ahead of the game by working in quadrant two and you’ll have an advantage over your competitors. You will be able to spend more time developing your competitive advantage. You will spend more time on bringing in new business. More time on training and developing members of your team that can make their own decisions and solve their own problems.

You will spend time taking care of your health and your body and you will live longer and have more energy. You don’t want your health to move to quadrant 1 and become urgent.

The main advantage to working in quadrant 2 is that you can spot issues that arise before they take down your business. Markets change. Competitors join the market. Technology changes. The market shrinks or grows. When things change and business owners are not keeping up with the overall state of the market and the company little problems can become big problems and lead to failure.

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About Me

I started the Sweaty Startup in December of 2018 because I believe the Shark Tank and Tech Crunch culture is ruining the real spirit of low-risk entrepreneurship.