The 4 quadrants of Stephen Covey to manage time

The 4 quadrants of Stephen Covey to manage time

Good time management is notnot draw up a list of activities and mark as we go. It means knowing how to plan, prioritize, take advantage and, of course, put it aside. There is a method that helps that time really suffices for everything. This method also teaches us to identify what we should spend time with or not. These are the 4 quadrants of Stephen Covey.

Covey himself points out that time management is not just about organizing tasks. He assures that it is a true philosophy of life. Indeed,our well-being also depends on how we manage time.

” There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing. “

-Brian Tracy-

Stephen Covey's quadrants are simply a matrix, a model composed of four sections. Each of them represents a certain category of priority in the tasks. In addition, each quadrant includes a set of activities that must be managed differently. Let's see that in more detail.

The first of Stephen Covey's quadrants

Imagine a cross. Four empty spaces appear when we draw it. Each of them is one of Stephen Covey's quadrants. Above, to the left, is the first of these quadrants.It corresponds to everything that meets two characteristics: urgent and important.

In this space are located all tasks that can not, and should not, be deferred, regardless of the circumstances. This is what is truly a priority. Of what is most relevant to other tasks.This requires that we deal with it immediately and that any other activity be abandoned until it has been resolved.

This quadrant groups situations such as, for example, a blackout of the house. Many things depend on it, so we can not postpone it.It also includes situations such as illness, a domestic accident, etc.

The second of the quadrantsStephen Covey: which is not urgent, but important

The second of Stephen Covey's quadrants is what should not be done immediately but is of great importance. In other words, what is important but not urgent. These are activities that are not decisive in the short term, but in the medium and long term.

In this quadrant are all tasks that are not vital but are critical to quality of life or well-being. The first is health. It all depends on health. It is therefore important to take care of it. The effects of not doing so are only visible in the long term and can be devastating.

In this space are also tasks such as preparing the final exams, or maintain a good relationship with the couple. This includes aspects such as training or updating knowledge, etc.

The third quadrant: what is urgent but not important

This is one of Stephen Covey's most misleading quadrants. It is sometimes not easy to determine what activities and / or tasks are involved. This is because the urgency character captures the attention. Despite the urgency, the task is not relevant.

In this quadrant could be found all the superfluous activities that are performed by habit or by chance. For example, meeting someone and chatting for a moment, without knowing exactly why. Or immerse yourself in a discussion through social networks about an unimportant aspect.

The fourth quadrant: which is neither urgent nor important

The fourth of Stephen Covey's quadrants is the one that locates anything that is useless. What is there is not urgent or relevant. Even so, these are activities that take up some of our time.

In this quadrant are completely irrelevant actions, such as watching our email every five minutes. Or follow a conversation on social networks while the subject does not involve great comments. Watch TV, chat, and all things of that style.

Good time management

Most of those who draw Stephen Covey's quadrant matrix, and try to apply it, find thatthe first quadrants that fill up are 1 and 3. These are quadrants of urgency and importance, and of non-significant urgency.

Covey says this is because thePeople tend to think that everything is urgent. This sense of urgency is precisely what is at the root of the stress. Therefore, learning how to manage these two spaces is what can help us improve the management of our time.


Do not tell me you do not have time, tell me instead that you have other priorities

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