20% of the average workday is spent on ‘crucial’ and ‘important’ things, while 80% of the average workday is spent on things that have ‘little value’ or ‘no value’.
This is a statistic from research done by a time management expert in the United States, but it applies everywhere in the world.
What is the difference between ‘important’ and ‘urgent’? People often think that these words are synonymous but that’s not the case. ‘Important’ means ‘of great significance and value’ while ‘urgent’ means ‘requiring immediate action or attention’. Some things can be urgent and not important while some things are not urgent but are important.
Based on this matrix, you can see what should be important and urgent, not important but urgent, and so on. The quadrants are explained below:
Quadrant I: Urgent and important
This quadrant should only contain activities and responsibilities that require your immediate attention. It is reserved for extremely important deadlines and emergencies.
– Pressing problems
– Projects that are deadline-driven
– Last-minute preparations
Quadrant II: Not urgent but important
Items in this quadrant are those that do not have high urgency, but play an important role in the future. Be careful not to leave these to the last minute, otherwise they will fall in Quandrant I. These are:
– Your health
– Your relationships
Quadrant III: Urgent but not important
These items should be done right away. They are obstacles that stand between you and your goals. These are:
– Distractions (phone calls, etc.)
Quadrant IV: Neither urgent nor important
These items should be dropped. They do not contribute any value to your life. These are:
– Busy work
– Time-wasters (surfing the Internet without purpose, watching TV for hours)
The matrix can be applied as a tool that helps you to reprioritise the importance and urgency of your current and upcoming tasks. By sorting the tasks and responsibilities into the appropriate quadrant you will be able to quickly identify activities that need your immediate attention.
There are 24 hours in a day, make them count.