Effective and efficient time management. Eisenhower, Stephen, Covey matrix.

Date: 20/01/2024 Author: Antonio H.

Effective and efficient time management. Concepts.

Effectiveness: Achieving an objective in the time specified (or in less time), regardless of the resources used.

Achieving the goal using the least possible resources, including time.


"Lack of time" is one of the main problems we all suffer from nowadays and it is also often one of the main excuses to postpone our outings or training. Reconciling our jobs, family obligations, household chores, etc. with our sports or outdoor activities can be a complex and even overwhelming task.

We are going to try that this "guide" or list of keys, tips and advice will help us to achieve it or at least improve it.

As the task that usually occupies most of this time is work, being also one of the main sources of stress, we will focus especially to this work, although it is valid for any area of life.

A tool for time management that can be very illustrative, giving an interesting overview, is the Eisenhower or Sephen Covey matrix.

In this method, tasks will be classified in four quadrants according to their IMPORTANCE and URGENCY.

In this way we will define IMPORTANT, NOT IMPORTANT, URGENT and NOT URGENT tasks.


Eisenhower Matrix

QUADRANT 1: The crisis and stress quadrant, should only be used for unforeseen events, so we should not have planned activities in this quadrant. If they exist, it will be for exceptional crisis situations, otherwise it denotes a problem of organization and management. Therefore, we must minimize the tasks in this quadrant, which is achieved by working correctly in quadrant number 2. Tasks that are really important and urgent require immediate attention and the longer we delay in finishing them, the more stress and exhaustion they will cause.

Concentrating on quadrant 2 minimizes quadrant 1.


QUADRANT 2: The planning quadrant. This is the quadrant to which we should dedicate the most time, as it affects medium- to long-term objectives and its correct management will minimize unforeseen events.


QUADRANT 3: Non-important but urgent tasks. It is advisable to delegate them if possible or to automate them by setting up a system that allows them to be done in the most optimal way. Self-deception occurs because the tasks in this quadrant may require you to spend a lot of time on them, making you feel very busy, but they do not represent any important progress.


QUADRANT 4: Tasks that are neither important nor urgent, in which case it would be best to postpone or eliminate them, as they are a waste of time and do not allow any progress to be made.




PROCRASTINATION: Action or habit of delaying activities or situations that should be attended to, replacing them with other more irrelevant or pleasant situations. Recurrent procrastination will cause you to spend the most time in quadrant 3 and 4, none in quadrant 2 so you will often find yourself in quadrant 1, stressed by serious situations that are already out of control.

TASK LIST: List of tasks to be performed.

IMPORTANCE: Importance is associated with the consequences we will have. Something is more or less important depending on the severity of what will happen to us if we do not do it.

URGENCY: Urgency is associated with time. It is increased by the deadline and by the size of the task. If two tasks take the same amount of time to complete, the one with the earlier deadline is more urgent. If two tasks have the same deadline, the more urgent is the one that takes longer to complete.


Importance has more "force" than urgency.


PRIORITIZE: To establish the priority of each task. Give order in time.


Who determines importance and urgency? Usually, in the workplace, importance and urgency are determined by the head of the department. It is advisable not to be afraid to ask questions in order to be clear about the priorities of each task.

What benefit do I get as a worker? Again focusing on the work field, good time management will result in less stress, fewer fights, fewer problems, better results and greater professional recognition.



Step 1: List all the tasks or objectives to be accomplished regardless of their importance or urgency for the time being.

Step 2: Attribute to each task its importance, scoring from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest importance.


Step 3: Attribute to each task its urgency, scoring from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest urgency.

Step 4: Relate the tasks in the matrix.


STEP 4: Link the tasks in the matrix.


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