The Alchemist's Lair
Thoughts on writing, language, life as a freelancer,
and what comes to mind.
and what comes to mind.
Are you struggling with defining your priorities for the day, week, month?
To get back on track, you can try the Covey matrix (also known as the time management matrix).
The matrix, developed by Stephen Covey in the Eighties, is a practical tool for workflow optimisation. It’s also known as the Eisenhower matrix, because it is based on the same assessment criteria (importance and urgency) deployed in the so-called Eisenhower’s decision-making method.
Managing a solo business is hectic. And that often leads us to consider all urgent activities as important (and vice versa). However:
With the Covey matrix, the importance of urgency of each activity is assessed separately.
As a result, each individual task falls within one of four quadrants.
URGENT+IMPORTANT = QUADRANT 1
This is the quadrant of emergencies: the activities within have to be dealt with as soon as possible. This includes both business-related tasks (i.e. due or overdue projects, contacts with clients) as well as unpredictable emergencies (IT problems, illness etcetera). Your keyword for quadrant 1: manage, quickly. If you don’t, consequences could he harsh.
IMPORTANT+NOT URGENT = QUADRANT 2
This is the quadrant of quality. Here, you can find all activities that contribute to your business success, but don’t require your immediate attention – such as CPD, marketing, networking, planning, and more. Your keyword here: plan. You need to make time for these activities in order to achieve your business goals.
URGENT+NOT IMPORTANT = QUADRANT 3
The third quadrant of the Covey matrix hosts distractions. These often include external stimuli (desktop & mobile notifications, emails, phone calls, …). Interrupting work has a negative impact on your ability to focus, so you should aim at limiting these activities during business hours.
NOT URGENT+NOT IMPORTANT, QUADRANT 4
This is the quadrant of waste. Here, you can find all the activities you should avoid like the plague – random web surfing, leisure phone calls, your Instagram account … you get it.
Using the time management matrix for business-related activities helps you prioritise the tasks that matter the most. More specifically, it helps focusing on the activities of quadrant 2, which are often postponed (or forgotten) due to more pressing - but less relevant - issues.