How to Prioritize Important Work Using Time Management Matrix

Share This Post

Time management is the basis for everyone’s success. Work-life balance remains stable as long as you keep time management on track. But unfortunately, people face time management issues and need help achieving their goals. It is because they start working without purpose. Therefore, they do not prioritize the essential and urgently needed tasks. So, Stephen Covey developed the concept of time management with the help of a time management matrix. Later in this blog, you will see the introduction of time management and its usefulness. 

Depending on how well you manage your time, time may be both your best mate and your worst nemesis. The weather changes, dawn and sunset, the moment of a person’s birth, and many other natural occurrences depend on time. You may now understand the significance of time management. However, controlling it is incredibly challenging for human beings. But you can control it by following simple rules like the ones described in the time management matrix.

Introduction of Time Management Matrix 

Stephen Covey, who wrote “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” introduced another critical phenomenon in the world, “the time management matrix.” The matrix has four sections, or you can say quadrants, as Covey called them. These quadrants help you differentiate between urgent, important, non-urgent, and unimportant work. 

You will manage your time effectively by organizing your tasks according to the quadrants. Covey’s matrix is a scaffolding that can help you manage tasks according to time and importance. 

A time management matrix is your answer when you start forgetting essential deadlines. If you intend to complete anything by establishing a time restriction, you will attain your objective without working harder, as you must have heard the phrase “work smarter, not harder.” At work, time can make you a winner or a loser.

The Famous Four Quadrants of Time Management Matrix 

The time management matrix is made up of four quadrants. Is there a similarity between these quadrants and the quadrants in graphs on that x-y-axis thing? There is no similarity except for the scenario of importance (x-axis) and urgency (y-axis). So, Stephen Covey asked us to divide tasks based on importance and urgency into four quadrants.

Read below to find out which quadrant is essential to follow. 

The Quadrant of Urgency and Importance: 1st Quadrant 

The first quadrant is the quadrant of necessity because this quadrant contains urgent and vital work. It may be a problem, a crisis, or an emergency. Sometimes, all of a sudden, work appears and needs to be completed within a few hours. This task is important and urgent because it needs immediate action; otherwise, you may face serious consequences.

In the first quadrant, a timer is set, and you have to meet deadlines. Why does this happen? Sometimes urgent work falls on you from nowhere; however, most of the time, urgency is due to your negligence. Because you need to pay heed to deadlines and work on time, before time sufficient planning at the workplace can control emergencies. 

The Quadrant of Long-Term Goals: 2nd Quadrant 

The second quadrant is of prime importance in time management. You can schedule and put on the calendar your long-term goals, missions, and planning in this quadrant. However, the second quadrant is peaceful as there is no urgency for the important task. 

For instance, you have to reach 2 lac profit for your company so you should schedule it at the start of the month and reach small milestones from time to time. 

The Quadrant of Deception: 3rd Quadrant 

The third quadrant is for delegated tasks. These tasks are important but do not directly affect them. This quadrant teaches you to cooperate with others and help them complete task that is important to them. For instance, you are a manager in an office, and an employee’s computer system is not working appropriately. You will call IT people to help this person.

To clarify, the concept of this quadrant contains less critical and urgent work, but you need more urgency. You can assign duty to the responsible person who can do the job for you.

The Quadrant of Procrastination: 4th Quadrant 

People like to procrastinate, and the fourth quadrant identifies it. This quadrant is for you to sort out the unnecessary things you do in a day that wastes your time—for example, scrolling through social media and watching movies. The other three quadrants will also dishevel if you do not manage this quadrant. 

A lot of Issues One Solution; Covey’s Time Management Matrix 

  • Distraction and procrastination go hand in hand

Distraction is the most significant cause of time wasting. Mobile devices, adverts on work sites, or others around you can all be sources of distraction at work. Even when at work, some people routinely scan social media applications. However, people’s favorite hobby at home is watching movies and doing nothing. When the time management matrix is applied to work and personal life, you can avoid things from going to the fourth quadrant. 

  • Multitasking could be more friendly in many situations. 

Your mind must be making the connection between multitasking and poor time management. Multitasking is unnecessary if you have to finish a particular work by the scheduled time. You must focus on many tasks at once when juggling a job. Your performance will be negatively impacted rather than helped. When you manage time using Covey’s matrix, you know which task to prioritize and put in the particular quadrant. 

  • Giving trivial items little priority

Always adhere to the principle of “first things above all.” Most individuals start with the most straightforward and shortest tasks first, which is the wrong strategy and wastes a lot of time. Start by comparing the tasks’ due dates to determine which task has to be completed first. Sort out what is finest for you as well. The four quadrants of the time matrix will be helpful for you in this regard.

  • Unable to schedule properly 

Have you ever felt frightened when you realized your deadline was the next day and you hadn’t even begun your assignment? If so, control your tension since pressure might lead you to lose a lot of time.

When faced with a large job that you must complete quickly, people panic, negatively affecting their ability to work rather than improve it. Therefore, breaking down the project into smaller jobs is the most fantastic method to minimize stress, and a project manager can accomplish it quickly. Ask him for assistance if you need it. Moreover, a time matrix will help you if you keep their importance in mind. 

Time Management; A Key to a Successful Future 

As described earlier, the second quadrant is crucial in time management queries. Why is that? When you employ your to-do task in the second quadrant, every task will be on time. Incorporate things in quadrant number 2 and ease your work and personal life. Additionally, it minimizes the dependency on quadrant number 1; as a result, you have fewer issues and crises. Behind every successful person, there are his time management abilities. 

Steps to incorporate time management matrix into your life

  • Capture the to-do list

Pin out all the tasks, projects, work, duties, calls, texts, etc., that you must complete. The first step is constantly gathering the things you must do. 

  • Process what you have to do 

Sort out your to-do list and track the things that you can do. The approach should be realistic; if you cannot do this yourself, you can use time-tracking apps.

  • Organize things priority wise

Compile the tasks that are your highest priority and put them in quadrant one if you have a close deadline, or add them in quadrant two if you have time. 

  • Organize things urgency wise

The tasks that need immediate action should be in quadrant one, and you should start working on them to avoid losses and failures. 

  • Review the quadrants 

After gathering and arranging your tasks, review whether you added tasks in the right quadrant. 

  • Work, add a task to quadrants, repeat.

At last, you must start working according to the quadrants. Then add more tasks once you finish the old ones and repeat the process. Remember to keep tasks from gathering in quadrants 1 and 3, and avoid quadrant four, so you can prosper.

Quick Overview 

A time management matrix is a tool to organize tasks by priority and duration. The matrix is divided into four quadrants, often known as sections or, as Covey put it, quadrants. Using these quadrants, you may distinguish between critical, urgent, non-urgent, and trivial jobs. A timer is established, and you must meet deadlines in the first quadrant. The second quadrant is calm since the work is not urgent.


In the third quadrant, you learn how to work well with others and support them as they achieve tasks that are crucial to them. The fourth quadrant detects procrastination, which is a trait of people.


To conclude, the time management matrix is best for task and time management. Moreover, it will keep you on the right path and prevent you from being a slacker. Covey’s matrix is your answer if you want a single solution to manage projects and time. 


Stephen covey’s matrix depends upon four quadrants that distribute tasks according to priority and urgency:

  • Quadrant 1 (highly important and highly urgent work)
  • Quadrant 2 (highly important and less urgent work)
  • Quadrant 3(less important and highly urgent work)
  • Quadrant 4(least important and least urgent work)

It would help if you made quadrants as you do in graphs and assigned things to each quadrant so you can analyze yourself. 

The following are the prime benefits of the time matrix:

  • Task management
  • Time management
  • Self-analysis and awareness

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

More To Explore

Do You Want To Boost Your Business?

drop us a line and keep in touch