How to Better Prioritize Your Time

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How to Better Prioritize Your Time

Encourager-In-Chief: December 28th, 2016

Only work on urgent and important matters.

One of the main reasons so many new business owners fail in the first two years is because they don’t learn how to discipline and manage their time. Even though I have been coaching business owners for the more than 19 years, it wasn’t until a few years ago when I became totally self-employed that I realized how many different tasks are constantly fighting for your attention as a business owner.

Years ago, I learned this from my mentor, Brian Tracy, who explained Stephen Covey's time management matrix where all tasks fall into one of four different quadrants. In the first quadrant you have tasks that are both important and urgent. For example, if you have to complete a proposal for a huge contract that’s due in two days, that would fall into this category.

The second quadrant is for items that are important but not urgent. If your rent for next month is due by November 1 and today is October 12, this is an important task, but not an urgent one. It can wait.

The third quadrant contains items that are not important but are urgent. For example, if your telephone is ringing and you answer it to find it’s a pre-recorded political advertisement, it is urgent that you answer the phone, even though the message was unimportant.

The fourth quadrant refers to items that are both unimportant and not urgent. This might include looking at junk mail or unsolicited email advertisements. There are no consequences if you never get to these items.

If you want to make better use of your time, I encourage you to focus your energies on items that are only in the first quadrant and are both important and urgent. Learning this discipline will greatly improve your odds of becoming a successful business owner.

Look at what you’re working on right now. Ask yourself if it will matter to anyone in five years.
- Source unknown

This excerpt is taken from my Time Mastery seminar.

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