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The organization of time requires three skills. 

  1. Arrangement- how you arrange your tasks within the time you have
  2. Awareness- a realistic view of the time you have
  3. Adaptation- your ability to adapt to changes while performing tasks 

Each of these skills impacts your ability to organize time and your relation within it. This is the major point of all time management programs so it’s important you get this now if you haven’t already. Organization of time is about changing your habits by implementing techniques that help you control your actions within time and removing behaviors that waste your time. Arrangement, Awareness, and Adaptation are the bite-sized skills that will get you to do just that. We’ll cover Arrangement here, Awareness, and Adaptation in Scheduling. 


Arranging time effectively by tasks takes a bit of thought and one dynamic tool, the Eisenhower Matrix. Also referred to as the Urgent/Important Matrix, President Eisenhower used this technique to run the US during his entire service as President. Steven Covey resurged the Eisenhower Matrix in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and now it has become a staple tool in business. We want you to use it as a tool any time you are organizing your time.

The Urgent/Important Matrix

Great time organization means being effective as well as efficient. Managing time effectively, and achieving the things that you want to achieve, means spending your time on things that are important and not just urgent. To do this, you need to distinguish clearly between what is urgent and what is important:

Important: These are activities that lead to achieving your goals and are in alignment with mission, vision, and purpose.

Urgent: These activities demand immediate attention but are often associated with someone else’s goals rather than our own.

We often focus on the urgent activities because they draw our attention due to their crisis nature. The consequences of not dealing with them trigger our stress response and fear takes over, robbing us of strategic forward movement and replacing it with busyness that keeps us stuck in chaos. 

When you create a matrix using Important and Urgent you are able to arrange tasks based on critical thinking instead of what feels like should be done.

Quadrant I- Urgent/Important: Tasks listed in this quadrant come to be in one of two ways: 1) the are unforeseen events that require your immediate attention, 2) you’ve procrastinated and would rather avoid their consequences. Tasks relate to dealing with critical issues as they arise and meeting significant commitments. These are short-term tasks that appear more as roadblocks and obstacles to achieving goals yet must be addressed. The tasks in this section are Done First. Examples: crying baby, angry client, bad review, assigned deadline, tending to a sick child.

Quadrant II- Important/Not Urgent: These strategic, success-oriented tasks are vital to achieving goals. Tasks  in this quadrant need time to plan and execute. Because they share the Important matrices, if you wait tasks can move from Q2 to Q1.  Examples: strategic planning, professional development, networking, exercise, client satisfaction, quality assurance.

Quadrant III- Urgent/Not Important: These chores do not move you forward toward your own goals and take precious time away from acting in your own interests. These tasks often require skills you don’t have so, ideally, they should be delegated, delayed, cut short, or rescheduled.  Examples: errands, paying bills, booking travel, filing taxes, meal prep.

Quadrant IV- Not Urgent/Not Important: These interruptions are distractions from reaching your desired outcomes and should be avoided or eliminated altogether, if possible. Examples: video games, social media for pleasure, gossip, mindless TV, some meetings.

CAUTION: Always make sure to label family time, recreational activities, hobbies, passions, and those things that bring you closer to balance, health, and joy as Important.

Key Takeaways

The organization of time requires three skills:
- Arrangement- how you arrange your tasks within the time you have
- Awareness- a realistic view of the time you have
- Adaptation- your ability to adapt to changes while performing tasks 
We then discuss the difference between what is urgent and what is important and how to identify what needs to be addressed first.

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