Time Management In a Box

I have a total obsession with time management. 

I consider myself to be uber-productive, but I also study the heck out of time management. 

Removing emotions, I try to study why some people don't have time for things and some people seem to fit it in. 

Let me start with two of my favorite quotes on time management before we get to the good stuff. 

Instead of Saying "I Don't Have Time," Say "It's Not a Priority"

"Being busy is not the same as being productive. In fact, being busy is a form of laziness-lazy thinking and indiscriminate action."

I've talked about both of these before but just a point on each one...

We are all saying yes to something and no to something else. 

Right now you are saying yes to reading this which means that you are saying no to something else.

Being great with time management isn't necessarily doing more, it's saying no to what's not a priority. 

The priority quote applies a lot to fitness because if you say...

"I don't have time to exercise."


"It's not a priority to exercise."

It just sounds different, right?

Because let's face it, we do have time, it just may mean waking up earlier, staying up later, saying no to friends, or whatever, it's just not a priority. 

And don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that's a bad thing all the time, but we just have to be aware of it. 

I wrote a piece awhile back about busyness that got some good feedback and it stemmed from reading the second quote above from Tim Ferriss. 

Most people think it's a badge of honor to be busy. 

"How are you today?"

"Oh, good, really busy...but good."

He believes (and I try really hard to agree) that being busy is a form of laziness. 

You're busy because you said yes to too many things, you're not taking enough action, and you're just spinning your wheels. 

Ok, we get it. 

But how do you fix this?

The best exercise I have for time management is following Steven Covey's time management grid.

It's broken into four boxes.

The goal is to fill in your tasks into each box to help you be more aware of what to focus on what to say no to. 

1. Urgent Important: These are things that are both important and urgent. Things with deadlines, appointments, and emergencies.  Items in the box are necessary, there's no avoiding them. 

2. Not Urgent Important: These are things that are important but no urgent. This is where exercise would fall. Along with that, you would have things like planning, relationship building, other tasks that you feel are important, but don't have a deadline. The key with this box is FOCUS. The things are important, but they don't have a deadline so it's easy to get distracted.  

3. Urgent Not Important: These are things that pop up that need to be taken care of but are not important. These include things like unplanned interruptions, drop in visitors, some meetings, and e-mails. 

4. Not Urgent Not Important: This box is the key. These are things that are not important and not urgent, yet it's the things we waste our time doing the most. This includes things like checking e-mail multiple times per day, checking social media, surfing TV, gossiping, etc. 

Go ahead and fill in the boxes for your life. 

The goal is just to be a little more self-aware. 

Say yes to things that are important and urgent, but try to avoid distractions that are no urgent and not important. 

It seems basic to some, but if you documented your time I would all but guarantee most of us to spend too much time on not urgent not important things. 

I hope that helped. 

I'll be back tomorrow to wrap up the week. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling