A big part of time management is managing your priorities.  You’ve probably heard of the “jar analogy”.  If you put all of your little rocks in first, there will be no room for your big rocks.  If you put the big rocks in first, the little rocks fill in around the big rocks.  In this analogy, your rocks are the things on your do-to list.  You need to prioritize the most important things in your life, and the less important things will fall into place.

Steven Covey, the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, came up with this table to help people manage priorities.


Basically, there are four quadrants.  The idea is to try to stay in the top two quadrants.  If it’s not important, why waste your time doing it?  The best place to be is in the top right quadrant.  If you spend all of our time there, there will be less that needs to be done in the top left quadrant, and you will have a less stressful life.  Procrastinators spend all of their time on the left side, but it’s also a pretty stressful place to be.  If you accomplish tasks before they become urgent, you will be much more successful.  Time is a gift, and procrastination spits in the face of that gift.

All of this information goes in hand with my previous post Are You a Multitasker?  When you choose a task, and finish it, you no longer risk going into the “urgent” section.  Make sure you finish what you start.

Prioritizing takes a lot of practice, and for me, it requires lists.  I am a list person.  When I need to get things done, I make a list of everything I need to do, then I prioritize it.  When I am finished with my list, I start with the first thing, and do my best to put everything else out of my mind.  When I am finished, I go on to the next thing.  Do one thing at a time, before it becomes urgent.  The list itself weeds out the unimportant things, and prioritizing that list keeps those things (for the most part) in the “not urgent” sector.

I would encourage you to try out this strategy, and let me know how it goes for you.  I hope this helps your day go a little smoother.


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