Regardless of where you are in business (startup, early growth, or you’ve been in it for awhile), time management is one of those things you always need a refresher on. Sometimes, you can have seasons where you feel like you’re “crushin it” with your schedule. Then, you have seasons where your productivity just seems like it’s not what it was.
Personally, since I had a baby (in October 2016), I’m in one of those seasons where my productivity doesn’t feel like before, but using a time management chart has definitely helped me to make the best of this season and get things done. This article will show you how to use a time management chart to beat procrastination and increase productivity.
- 1 What does a time management chart have to do with Productivity or Business Success?
- 2 What are Quadrant One Activities?
- 3 The Contrast of Living too Much in Quadrant 1, 3, or 4
- 4 How A Time Management Chart Can Help You (Even if You Know You’re a Procrastinator or Underachiever)
- 5 Where To Find a Time Management Chart
- 6 How To Implement the Time Management Chart Into Your Day-To-Day Life
- 7 A Video Playlist on Time Management and Strategy
- 8 Final Words on Keeping a Time Management Chart
- 9 Now, it’s Your Turn…
What does a time management chart have to do with Productivity or Business Success?
In his book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey talked about the difference in how overachievers prioritize their time and how underachievers prioritize their time. He showed a simple chart that looked something like this:
- You see quadrant one is important and urgent.
- Quadrant two is important but not urgent.
- Quadrant three is urgent, but not important.
- Quadrant four is not important or urgent.
Unfortunately, what he mentioned in his book was that most people (the unfortunate statistic of underachievers) are stuck in quadrants three and four more than one or two. Quadrant three activities are like:
- Answering phone calls. Often times, phone calls are not urgent, but because of the ringing or buzzing, it takes out attentions. We just answer the phone instead of letting the quadrant one or two things keep our focus.
- Paying attention to random notifications on the computer (examples: ads, social media, or other random pop ups). It’s helpful to find ways to secure a time frame for productivity by turning off notifications or downloading apps that prevent those types of distractions during your work time. While many people want to be their own bosses, it can be difficult to place these rules on ourselves, but we have to if we want to STAY as our own bosses.
Quadrant four activities are the downright time wasters. Every now and again, we all fall into time wasting activities. Excessive leisure or unproductive entertainment falls into quadrant four activities. Video gaming just for the heck of it, watching movies, sleeping, etc.
Quadrant four activities don’t have to be completely cut out to be productive and successful, but they should be kept into perspective, and balanced. We need to make sure our quadrant one and quadrant two activities are the focus of our time management chart.
What are Quadrant One Activities?
There are some people who live their whole lives “putting out fires”. They go from one urgent situation to another. Have you heard the person who woke up this morning and their baby was having an emergency, then they took a shower and got another urgent phone call, then on their way to work, something else urgent happened, and when you hear the story, you’re thinking, “WOMP WOMP WOMP”! Some people live completely in quadrant one: from urgent issue to urgent issue.
For a business owner, living in quadrant one can look like jumping from one project to another: both close to the deadlines. Maybe you procrastinated on doing your taxes, so you’re rushing from working on a client’s job (who may be close to the deadline) into doing your taxes, then you’re running late for something related to your family, and the list can go on. Do you kinda understand? It’s easy to slip into the “Quadrant One, Three, or Four” lives if you’re not careful.
The Contrast of Living too Much in Quadrant 1, 3, or 4
Instead of living in quadrant 1, 3, or 4, Covey says successful people monopolize their time with Quadrant two activities. Instead of waiting until tax time to run around like a chicken with your head cut off, a person who offset their schedule with quadrant two activities would have made time throughout the year to organize their records, so tax time would be simpler.
Quadrant two activities are preventative. They’re the immunizations before the flu or the budget before exhausting the funds. Quadrant two activities don’t scream out at you. You can skip them easily, and most people will think you’re normal because YOU WOULD BE!
Starting quadrant two habits isn’t easy because you have to mentally reprogram and change your habits. When your phone is ringing and you’re gritting your teeth because it’s erking you not to answer, you have to tell yourself, “It has to wait”.
When your vendors or employees are waiting for you in the morning, and you haven’t done your budget, you may have to tell them, “I’ll not be in at my normal time because I have to do some admin tasks”. Instead of letting people stroll into work when they want, you may need to begin speaking up, recording work performance, or making employee schedules. Quadrant two activities are self-disciplines.
How A Time Management Chart Can Help You (Even if You Know You’re a Procrastinator or Underachiever)
It doesn’t matter where you are on the productivity diagram: from the most productive person to the least productive person if you choose to transform your habits and stick to a plan (ie. Time Management Chart), you’ll see drastic changes in your productivity. The hard part is breaking the willpower to procrastinate, to be too busy on the wrong quadrants, or chill out when you should be “grindin”.
Especially, when you’re starting your business, you think there are so many things you NEED to be doing, and majority of them don’t really matter. It’s important to have a time management chart to prioritize the laundry list of things you think you should be doing.
Often times, we don’t achieve our goals because we’ve not prioritized well. From time to time, prioritization in time management can creep up on us again and again as we do our best to balance work, life, scaling, and other milestones. It can be a lot sometimes, so I’m writing this to give you some ideas about how you can use a time management chart to get important things done.
Where To Find a Time Management Chart
There are options all over the place to find time management charts. Nowadays, many people (me included) are loving the bullet journals for use as a time management chart. You can create your own bullet journal spreads where you can list your goals like how much time you want to spend with your family, how much time you want to spend on learning new skills, and whatever other line items are priorities for you. Then, you can take the goals you made and put time slots on them in your Google Calendar or other scheduling device.
I personally use Google Calendar and Appointy for time management. Google Calendar is like my second brain. It reminds me what time I’m supposed to cook, wake up, and go to sleep. I’ve got the Google Calendar notification thing really bad. LOLOLOL. We’re best friends!
For Appointy, I use that for business related scheduling. I like it because you can link it to your payment processor, and charge for appointments if you need to. It also lets clients schedule appointments on your website or otherwise, and you can approve or disapprove the appointment. I like the ease of clients to self-schedule on places like my Consulting page. It’s also free for basic features which are usually suitable for startups.
Aside from the three options I use, these are some other places you can find printables or a time management chart you may like:
- Love To Know has a few downloadable Time Management Printables
- When you use Trello with its integrations, it makes for a great time management chart. I integrate Trello with my Google Calendar.
- Microsoft office has templates
- The Google Suite has templates
Of course, Amazon has some great planners that can be used amazingly well for time management as well. This is just a few:
And, the “Old school watch” has gotten quite an upgrade, so now, people are using Apple Watches, Smart Watches, and things to manage time. I haven’t gotten there yet, but they’re tempting with all of their notification features, and so on…Look at them:
How To Implement the Time Management Chart Into Your Day-To-Day Life
In his book The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg says it takes 30 days to embed a new habit. When you’re starting habit formation, it’s hard. I don’t want to surgarcoat that and make it sound easy. You’ll have to tell yourself “no” when you want to tell yourself “yes”.
Habit change is like getting a whipping at first, then as you keep pushing thru, you’ll start to see good results from your decision to push past your personal desires. Stepping up your game on time management will have good rewards, and you have to make that your mantra.
Keep saying to yourself, “I’m making a new cycle. I’m breaking bad habits and replacing them with good ones.” Keep reminding yourself when it gets tough, or when you want to play a video game, but you need to do your business plan or fill your sales funnel.
A Video Playlist on Time Management and Strategy
Final Words on Keeping a Time Management Chart
Using a time management chart is a great decision to increase your productivity. Hopefully, this article was helpful to show you how dynamic a time management chart can be for you. If you have questions or concerns about anything I said, please leave your comments below.
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Now, it’s Your Turn…
What do you do for time management? Do you use a time management chart? Do you find it difficult to stay in quadrant two or have you mastered it? What advice do you have for others on time management and prioritization? Leave your advice and comments below.