Setting Priorities For Managing Your Time

Photo by Mike Petrucci on Unsplash

Setting Priorities For Managing Your Time

One of the hardest parts about looking for a job is setting priorities for managing your time.  Sometimes it can feel like every last thing you need to do is an emergency. But the truth is, there are ways to organize your time and manage the tasks that you need to do so that you get them finished right when they need to be done without feeling overwhelmed or rushed.

Thankfully Stephen Covey’s time management grid is here to save us from ourselves. Covey writes about the grid in his classic book, “The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People”.  It looks like this:

Stephen Covey Time Management Grid

The way you use the grid is to designate each item on your to-do list to a colored square. Instead of quadrants like Mr. Covey’ has assigned, they are different colors here.

Purple: Needs to be done immediately (Quadrant 1)

Green: Needs to be done but can take longer and needs more strategic planning          (Quadrant 2)

Pink: Distractions, but needed by others (Quadrant 3)

Light green: Not at all important and often used in order to procrastinate (Quadrant 4)

Use the grid to set priorities for managing your time.  It will help you create your daily to-do list by prioritizing the importance and urgency of each item you have to pick from. It can be as simple as doing the purple things first, then the green, next pink, and finally the light green items. But, if you do it this way you might miss out on something important you can learn from the time management grid.

Eliminate Urgency from Your Life

By focusing on green you can eventually lessen the purple items on your list. By learning to say no to others you can virtually eliminate the pink things, too. Finally, by getting your schedule under control the light green will eliminate itself because you won’t feel the need to procrastinate anymore.

Learn to Say No

As children we are taught to not say no. Unfortunately, this transfers over to adulthood in a bad way.  If you determine something is in the pink or light green area, you can use that to determine whether or not you should say no. By saying no and focusing on eliminating urgency, you can begin focusing on the items that are important buy not urgent.  These will be the tasks that will propel you to your long term goals.

Assess Your Time Expenditures Now

Now that you have Dr. Covey’s time management chart, you can go back and re-evaluate the things you are currently doing each day to find out what color they are. Knowing their color will help you label each thing that you do throughout the days, weeks and months ahead so that you can prioritize them.

Finally, when you are assessing any task, make sure you label it, then ask yourself if it fits in with your core values and goals. If it does, it’s going to be in either the purple square or the green square. If it doesn’t, it’s probably in one of the other squares. As you learn to use this system setting priorities for managing your time will start to become automatic.  You will be able to say yes or no faster and put your time management on auto pilot

About Noel Watts

Noel Watts is the owner of Compass Consulting, LLC which provides strategic and operational consulting as well as contract staffing throughout the United States. Noel has more than 20 year of experience with a documented history of success in leadership roles in sales, operations and strategic planning. Noel is passionate about personal development, coaching and mentoring. As an online entrepreneur, Noel started as a way to help people realize their lifestyle goals by finding their dream job. Noel is available for private and group coaching sessions and speaking engagements.
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