Time Management - Prioritization

  Hort Snacks - March 2017
Download 1115K pdf file ("HortSnacks-Mar2017-reduced.pdf")PDF
     Subscribe to our free E-Newsletter, "Agri-News" (formerly RTW This Week)Agri-News
This Week
     Hort Snacks HomeHort Snacks Home
 There is only so much time in any given day, week, month or year to get necessary work done. Given that we can’t realistically work every minute of every day of every week, our useable time is actually fairly small. When you start shaving off pieces of time for all of the necessary things like eating, sleeping, answering the call(s) of nature, that total time block gets a lot smaller. If you start trying to chopping off blocks of time for things like sick time, vacations or weekends, it gets even smaller. Try to add in discretionary activity time, like time with family and friends, volunteering and, heaven forbid it, fun, it becomes very difficult.

At the end of the day, if you want to “be effective” and “get everything done”, you are going to have to make sacrifices and prioritize your time. There are days when some things are going to have to be left for another day, simply because they CAN actually wait, whereas other task MUST be done. It can be challenging to cut things from the To Do List.

One of the epic leadership gurus of our day was Stephen R. Covey. While I’ve never managed to make the time to read all of his work, some of the principles that he taught have percolated down to me through people around me. One of his points relates to time management and priority-setting and has stuck with me.

IMPORTANTQ1 – Urgent & Important:
Immediate & important deadlines
Q2 – Not Urgent but Important:
Long-term strategizing & development
NOT IMPORTANTQ3 – Urgent but Not Important:
Time pressured distractions
Q4 – Not Urgent & Not Important:
Of little value – Breaks, etc.

It all comes down to determining how urgent a task is and then score how important it is to you. I believe that the idea is to focus on the truly critical tasks (those that fall within Quadrant 1) before moving on to other quadrants. Thankfully, you can apply your own set of subjective criteria to the mix. In some cases, other peoples’ needs might drive up the priority level somewhat, but you are still in control.

You should make sure to be honest with both the urgency and the importance rating that you assign each task. It is easy to superficially say that everything you have to do is super urgent and super critical. Be realistic. That is not the case.

Personally, I also think that you should sometimes slot in time blocks for important things that aren’t urgent, as this allows you to keep your overall course correct. If you spend all of your time with your head down, going full speed ahead, you will eventually crash. Slowing down the pace once in a while lets your head come up to take a long distance look ahead, make some slight shifts and then you can get back to work.

When I look at the quadrants, I think that you should spend little time on tasks that fall within the Urgent/Not Important area, as those will not likely yield a lot of value and benefits. And while 4th quadrant activities might be of little value in the overall scheme of things, they can take the edge off, and represent giving a bit back to you. So, try and balance out your To Do List plate. If we follow the alimentary suggestion of having at least half your plate as vegetables (and vegetables are important and urgent), you should also balance out the meat and potatoes and have a nice dessert. In the end, you’ll find that you might not get everything done, but you’ll feel satisfied that you got done what needed doing and didn’t go insane doing it.
Share via AddThis.com
For more information about the content of this document, contact Robert Spencer.
This information published to the web on February 27, 2017.