Learn the Four Quadrants for Best Time Management


Stephen Covey, author of "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" describes 4 quadrants for time management to help you prioritize the tasks to increase productivity and efficiency. The time management matrix given by Covey is to improve both personal and professional life and promote growth and accomplishments.

Quadrant I: Urgent Plus Important Tasks

This first matrix involves tasks or responsibilities that require your urgent attention and can give you critical results. Sometimes, your tasks in this matrix cause stress because of their urgency, so prioritize tasks in this quadrant according to your deadlines and importance to get effective results.

Quadrant II: Important but Not Urgent

This matrix sets some tasks to develop a sense of commitment and discipline and to make you successful and valued. However, these are not urgent but are more important than quadrant 1. This quadrant lets you identify and prioritize the things that are important and in your circle of influence.

Quadrant III: Urgent but Not Important Tasks

The tasks, responsibilities, and activities that come under this matrix are urgent but involve less or no importance. For instance, you can remove or eliminate these activities from your daily life. However, these tasks can be the result of your poor planning and organizing of the above two quadrants. Additionally, interruptions from external sources and many little distractions sometimes cause the urgency of these tasks.

Quadrant IV: Not Urgent and Not Important

The tasks and responsibilities under this quadrant are not important and urgent, and you can eliminate and remove these tasks. Think of all tasks that come under this matrix and make them the lowest priority by thinking of all tasks and their consequences. The items under this quadrant don't cause stress and are not related to current time goals.


This article is part of our Business Coaching blog series. At Dataczar we talk to a lot of small businesses. We’ve found a few books that we keep recommending time and again. To better help our customers, we’ve added a Reading List for Small Businesses to our website. We encourage every small business owner to read and keep these timeless business books on their office shelf.