Time management is something most of us struggle with. The thing you need to realize is the amount of time we have in a day is something we ALL have in common. It is literally the one excuse you can’t make for achieving something. Another person may be more talented, wealthy, or educated, but they do not have more time in their days.
We all get the same amount of time. The question is what are you doing with your time?
Understanding Time Management Comes Down to Importance Vs Urgency
To understand importance and urgency, you need to understand the time management quadrant. The top row is for urgent tasks and the bottom row is for non-urgent tasks. The left is for the important tasks and the right is for tasks that are not important. So here are the combinations:
- Important and Urgent
- Important, but not urgent
- Urgent, but not important
- Not urgent or important
At my Titanium Live events and coaching seminars, I like to ask the crowd which quadrant they need to spend the most time in. Most people say the important and urgent quadrant. This seems like a good answer, but it’s the wrong answer. To explain, let’s look at some examples of what goes in each quadrant.
Important tasks are the tasks you absolutely must do to further yourself in each area of the Wheel of Life. Working out is important. So is having fun, spending time with your friends, building systems in your business, and working on your romantic systems.
Urgent tasks have to be completed as soon as possible. Say an accident happens at your workplace. Getting the worker the proper medical attention and filling out the paperwork is urgent.
Most urgent tasks actually become urgent and important because they were avoided when they were important, but not urgent. Think of a heart attack. It’s obviously important and urgent. It could have been prevented, though, by having done important, but not urgent tasks six months ago. In this case, a good diet and exercise.
Our tendency is to confuse urgency and importance. We think we’re doing tasks like putting out fires at work because they are important, but in reality, it’s because it’s urgent. When we feel like we don’t have enough time in the day, it’s because we have too many urgent things on our plate.
Do the Important Tasks to Reduce Your Urgent Tasks
I’m not going to lie to you. The first few days of transferring to my time management system is uncomfortable. You’re going to have to give up some of your favorite time-wasting activities. It’s the easiest way to make time to do more tasks that are important, but not urgent.
I want you to focus on doing one important, but not urgent, task each day that you normally don’t do. If you don’t normally go to the gym, make today the day you start going daily. Commit to this for a week, and then add another task from this quadrant. The idea is to build yourself up to a place where most of your day is filled with doing these tasks.
This strategy saves a lot of time for future you. Things tend to take longer to do when they are urgent because there are messy.
If you really want to challenge yourself, do three important things a day. One that saves you time tomorrow, one that saves you time in a week, and one that saves you time in a month. Once you get to the fifth or sixth week of this system, you’ll find yourself with a lot more time to do the things you love.
It’s Time to Invest in Your Future
Most people make the mistake of never investing in their future. They don’t think farther than the day in front of them. When I start a 21-day challenge with a client, a lot of them feel like bailing after a few days.
My strategy isn’t one of those B.S. quick-fix time management strategies. Anyone peddling those strategies doesn’t know what they are talking about. My time management strategy works, but it’s hard work. If you’re willing to put into work, you’ll reap the benefits.
Part 2 of the Time Management Revolution breaks down how to program your brain to respond to fake urgency to complete important tasks.