A Matrix for Time Management

To-do list after to-do list after to-do list.

This has been my life for the past 26 years until I was introduced to Steven Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by my teachers at Humber College.

The first week of class, almost every teacher started their first lecture with the quote on the board (or on a powerpoint slide):

"Begin with the end in mind"

After hearing this quote repeated throughout the week, I gave in and bought the book.

The book offers many nuggets of information and I would recommend it to anyone that is interested in personal improvement (no shade to those who want to stay stagnant in their life, it's cute).

How I imagine some people's lives are when they don't want to change.

How I imagine some people's lives are when they don't want to change.

During the month of May, my schedule began piling up. Filling to the brim with a lot of firefighting, crisis management, and long lists.

When dealing with a crisis and a new team member is added.

When dealing with a crisis and a new team member is added.

Looking back on last month, I noticed a few things:

  • I had a total of 4 to-do lists. If you know me, that 4 is such an insignificant number.
  • The lists were split into 3 categories: Urgent, Medium Priority, Low Priority. All I crossed off were the urgent tasks
  • Some of the tasks that were in the Medium and Low Priority sections included:
    • Learn about investing
    • Allergy test & book dentist appointment
    • Promote photography sales
    • Research and connect with more wellness events for Spirit Stock
    • Record all serial numbers for insurance
    • Update website; projects section
    • Follow-up with business mentor

I am ashamed that I didn't prioritize better. Now I have a "Master Matrix" that I refer to every time my to-do list is filled with urgent tasks. I use a technique by Dwight Eisenhower, and popularized by Steven Covey, to categorize tasks according to urgency and importance.

via http://www.positive-change-tools-for-success.com/

via http://www.positive-change-tools-for-success.com/

My Time Management Matrix incorporates tasks relating to photography, project management, wellness, and personal life. Some items include:

  • Urgent & Important
    • Paying Bills
    • Last-minute photography gig requests
    • Crisis level project meetings
  • Urgent & Not important
    • Busy work
    • Sharing articles (on Facebook)
    • Answering text messages while working
  • Not Urgent & Important
    • Doctor, dentist, and wellness (ex. ayurveda and chakra) checkups
    • Prospecting for new leads, projects, and collaborations
    • Maintain friend, family, and network relationships
  • Not Urgent & Not Important
    • Going out of my way to buy wine and stationary
    • Overanalyzing Situations
    • Gossiping

I hope this helps you in the long-run. If you need more inspiration or task ideas, get a free copy of my Time Management Matrix (AKA My Master Matrix) in the offerings section today.