Maximize Every Minute: Prioritize, Time-Block, and See the Big Picture
Those that manage their time well, dictate to time. Those that do not manage their time well, let time dictate to them.
We've all been there, putting out fires all day long only to look over, see 5pm, and realize we didn't accomplish much of anything.
Covey's Time Management tool will change this for you.
Every business activity can be relegated to a quadrant above.
Quadrant I is made up of the fires to put out that day, crises, and pre-scheduled commitments.
Quadrant II is made up of things others see as urgent, but are not particularly important to you: Some emails, some calls, etc.
Quadrant III is made up of what is most important long-term to you and the business: Planning, Relationships, Systems, things that make the business change/grow.
Quadrant IV is things that are not urgent to you/others and are also not important to you: a sales call from a vendor who can't help, an email from a co-worker with a cat pic.
The more time you spend in Quadrant III preventing fires/crises and growing yourself and your business/department, the less time you will spend in Quadrant I every day.
For example, let's say a constant fire happens over and over again from lack of communication with a co-worker. Your boss is sick of it. You can come to work and continue to put that fire in quadrant I every day for the rest of your miserable life
You can put it in quadrant III to set up a meeting to clean up communication systems and prevent the issue from happening in the first place. What makes more sense?
So what about quadrants II and IV Michael?
Quadrant II can be delegated to others, gotten to when you have time, or eliminated altogether.
Quadrant IV, yup, eliminated immediately unless you have absolutely nothing to do (which you should never tell your boss).
This brings us to time-blocking! I use my Outlook Calendar, many swear by Trello, others use all kinds of tools: Airtable, Avaza, etc. Above is my actual Outlook Calendar for this past Friday. As you will see, my entire day was planned out down to the minute.
How did I choose how to block my time for Friday? I used my Covey Quadrant created when I got into the office at 7:30 am.
All of my Quadrant I are on there: 2 Interviews, AR (Accounts Receivable) issues, etc.
Quadrant II is on there minimally: Emails, Voicemails (VM's), checking in with the team.
Quadrant III is on there and takes up most of my day: Bottlenecks meeting where we got together as a team to identify operational inefficiencies and fix them, reading Fanatical Prospecting to boost my sales skills to grow the business, and a get-together with Andy to massage professional relationships.
Quadrant IV? Ain't nobody got time for that on a Friday.
Your greatest challenge will be developing the discipline to be loyal to your time block, down to the minute. If it's not on your time block that day, it must wait. You can also schedule a half hour of unblocked time for events that may come up, if you absolutely must in your role.
Those that manage their time well, dictate to time. Those that do not manage their time well, let time dictate to them. Follow these steps and take control of your productivity.