4 Quadrants of Time Management


So if I were to ask you right now where you are spending the majority of your time, what would you say?

Well if you are anything like I was before I started to take this seriously, I probably would have said, I have no clue! All I know is that the day is always just flying by!

Do you feel this way yourself?

Well boy do I have something for you then! In today’s lesson I’m going to be talking about the 4 quadrants of time management.

I am ever so eager to share this with you because I know that this can totally change your world.

Learning how to effectively manage your time is such a critical skill, especially for a new manager that is now learning the ropes.

By the end of the video you will be able to confidently say using the 4 Quadrants of Time Management helped you to see exactly where your time is going.

Plus this episode comes with a free time tracker that will help you to better manage your day. You can download it here >>


Would you prefer to read rather than watch? Not to worry! You can read the blog post below.

So if you haven’t noticed already – though I’m pretty sure you have, as a new manager the demands on your time have increased.

You probably have a never ending list of tasks and you also have to ensure that your team is using their time wisely as well. This can be extremely overwhelming trying to keep up with literally everything you have to do.

But if you don’t get a grip on your time management skills or how you use your time, then you run the risk of letting it all overtake you, overwhelm you and knock you out of the game before you can really even get started.

So we are going to dive into some strategies that will help you make the most of your time starting with considering the 4 quadrants of time, because I first want you to assess where you currently are in order to help you get from point A to point B.

Now there are a lot of different renditions or versions of the 4 Quadrants of Time Management Matrix. But I’m going to focus on a combination of the Franklin Covey and Dave Ramsey version since the combination of the two make the most sense to me for what we are trying to do here today.

Quadrant 1 (Quadrant of Necessity)

This is the quadrant of important and critical. It’s very reactionary.

This is the stuff we literally have no choice but to do because if we don’t do it there are consequences. 

For example, this would be the last minute deadlines, or someone hasn’t shown up for their shift and you have to quickly fill it. 

This quadrant makes you feel as though you are constantly putting out fires because you are in reactionary mode.

Maybe as I’m describing this to you, you are thinking to yourself hells yeah, I’m always reacting to everything! 

You wouldn’t be alone if you recognize yourself in this area because according to a study done by the Franklin family 27% of people spend their time right here in this section. 

Quadrant 3 (Quadrant of Deception)

Now yes, I went from 1-3 but there’s a reason.

This quadrant is the quadrant of deception as pointed out by Dave Ramsey.

This is the stuff that’s not important yet urgent, which is why it’s deceptive.

It comes to you dressed like it’s important, but it’s not – it’s just important to someone else.

This is the quadrant where interruptions live. So for example questions from the team, meetings meant to solve other people’s problems and emails

Again, all important to someone else and urgent to them, but not really important to you.

The same study by Franklin Covey family shows that people spend about 23% of their time here.

I want to stop for a second here and point out that 51% of people’s time is being spent on urgent reactionary activities. That is a lot of time spent on something that is very draining.

A lot of managers, especially new managers find themselves in this spot because everything feels as though it’s urgent to them.

Now what this does to a lot of people is it causes so much overwhelm that they spend time in default land, otherwise known as Quadrant 4.

Quadrant 4 (Land of waste)

What tends to happen when we are constantly in crazy reactionary mode, or we are avoiding (otherwise known as procrastination) is that we start to crave things that are easy.

For example for me, I’m the type of person that still wants to be doing stuff so I don’t necessarily shut down, but I engage in stuff that really doesn’t matter. I’ll engage in things like perfecting documents, or mundane tasks that I should definitely delegate but since I’m good at it, it makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something when I’m accomplishing nothing.

For others the default or waste might be watching TV, playing video games whatever it is that keeps you from doing what you are actually supposed to be doing.

Fine point, I don’t want you to think that you shouldn’t be doing things that are for you. That’s not what I’m referring to, but I’m talking excess. Doing way too much of anything.

Quadrant 2 (Quadrant of Leadership)

Here’s your sweet spot! This is what Franklin Covey calls the quadrant of extraordinary productivity which Dave Ramsey says is the Quadrant of Leadership.

This is the area where you want to be spending your time.

This quadrant is where low urgency but high important tasks live. It requires proactive behaviour.

This is where creative thinking and planning live and flourish and most importantly it includes self care so that means reading, learning things that will help you do better and be better.

In this quadrant you want to spend time considering typical obstacles and then create the machine that works through it for the next time.

Chilling in this quadrant ensures that you are making progress, seeing traction and feeling like you are in control, rather than out of control.

It’s important that you first take the step of figuring out where you are spending your time now.

The time tracker will allow you to track your activities for the week.

Use the Time Tracker to write down everything you are doing for the work week. At the end of the week I want you to go back to the matrix and label it according to the corresponding quadrant to determine the percentage of where you are most spending your time.

And be honest. In order for you to make adjustments you need to be 100% honest about where your time is going. So aim to be as honest and as consistent with this as you can.

Next week’s episode we will take your findings and break down 4 systems to help you get over to the quadrant of leadership.