The 4 Quadrants of Your Time
The four time quadrants is a system that brilliant time management masters have used for years. I acknowledge Steven Covey of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and other books for being instrumental in establishing this way of looking at things. I’m here to help walk you through it and provide a Worksheet to assist you so you can get the most out of the realizations this way of looking at priorirites can bring.
We’re going to break your priorities down into four areas or quadrants. You’ll have a chance to see how your own current and desired priorities fit into the quadrants when you get to your Worksheet in Lesson 3. For now, begin to think about how your tasks fit into these quadrants.
Here’s how it breaks down. The quadrants are combinations of Urgent vs. Not Urgent and Important vs. Not Important.
Quadrant 1: Urgent & Important
In the upper left is both URGENT & IMPORTANT. These are things that need to be handled immediately. Their urgency is real but they are also frenzy producing. Part of learning to manage your time is structuring things so you don’t have as much going on in this quadrant because it’s not fun to live in here too much. It takes its toll on the quality of your life.
Quadrant 2: Not Urgent & Important
In the upper right are things that are NOT URGENT & IMPORTANT, which we’ve named Feng Shui Time. This is where you’re going to start spending significantly more time, brilliant Feng Shui time keepers. This is where you plan, put preventative measures in place and create improvements so you ultimately face fewer sudden crises.
This is where you’re productive without needing the adrenaline highs and lows of urgency, often brought on by unconscious procrastination. This is where you spend quality time with friends and family. Where you map out plans so projects run smoothly. This is part of the foundation to living in Feng Shui Time.
Quadrant 3: Urgent & Not Important
In the bottom left are things that are URGENT & NOT IMPORTANT. These are time zappers but can’t all be erased. Our goal is to limit them based on planning done in Quadrant 2, Feng Shui Time.
Quadrant 4: Not Urgent & Not Important
In the bottom right are things that are both NOT IMPORTANT & NOT URGENT. These are time wasters and you can get a lot of awesome time back by understanding what’s going on in here. We all spend time here and you don’t need to eliminate it. You just need to make conscious choices for your own productivity and happiness.
Your Quadrant Key
Download the handout below, TimeQuadrants.pdf and think about what tasks, demands and goals in your life fit in which quadrants. You’ll use this simple guide to begin to bring in more of the key things you want in your life and let go of the things that are keeping you from them.