Time for Time Management in Your Life

Mastering Time for Freedom is an essential component for a better business and an easier life.  In the pursuit of success, we often chase the elusive ‘Time Freedom.’ While each day gifts us with the same 24 hours, some individuals achieve far more than others. If you’ve ever felt like a hamster trapped on a wheel, the likely culprits are your time management and decision-making skills. As the acclaimed author Stephen Covey, best known for his work “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” wisely stated, “The challenge is not to manage time, but to manage ourselves.”

You need to start investing your time by design and learn to treat your time as the most valuable asset you have. The most important task you have each day is ensuring you are getting the biggest return on the time you are spending and not wasting a moment.  This is the secret to building a business that revolves around your life – and not a life that revolves around your business.

To maintain discipline and focus on your path to your goals, you must summon the willpower to do what’s necessary, even when your heart isn’t in it. It’s about acting according to your values rather than your momentary desires or impulses.  Remember that not all jobs are created equally.  You will need to learn how to sort the wheat from the chaff. In any business, there are probably some tasks that are hugely more profitable than all the others.  You need to be aware of which tasks have the most profit potential and which don’t!

If you can get those tasks done right, you can drive insane results in a small amount of time. We can categorize all activities based on four factors: Urgent and important, not urgent and important.

Running a business is exhilarating, but it can also be overwhelming. The constant juggling act of managing tasks, acquiring customers, and growing your enterprise can leave you feeling stretched thin. If you’re a UK business owner feeling bogged down by the weight of your responsibilities, fear not – there’s a solution to cure overwhelm and transform your business and life. In this article, we’ll delve into a story and a powerful tool to help you crack overwhelm once and for all.

A valuable tool in your time management arsenal is the Achiever Matrix, a practical way to organise the information that crosses your desk daily. This alone is the antidote to being “Too Busy to be Successful”.

I recommend practising the categorisation of everyday tasks using this system, with a strong focus on Quadrants 1 and 2. It may feel challenging initially, but with practice, it becomes more manageable. The benefits of this approach to managing your time are immeasurable.

Achiever Matrix

Quadrant 1: The Urgency Quadrant

This quadrant encompasses tasks that are both urgent and important. These tasks often involve handling an unhappy customer, meeting a deadline, addressing a crisis, or managing urgent revisions. While some time in Quadrant 1 is necessary, many of these activities were important long before they became urgent due to procrastination or a lack of planning.


Quadrant 2: The Quality Quadrant

Here, you find tasks that are important but not urgent. These tasks revolve around planning, anticipation, proactive issue resolution, empowering others, nurturing relationships, and honing your skills. Neglecting Quadrant 2 tasks only makes Quadrant 1 swell as these important, yet non-urgent tasks eventually turn into urgent matters. Focusing on Quadrant 2 will reduce the size of Quadrant 1. Thus, your primary workspace should be in Quadrant 2.


Quadrant 3: The Deception Quadrant

Tasks in Quadrant 3 are urgent but not important. The noise of urgency creates an illusion of importance, but these activities are typically important only to someone else. These can include phone calls, meetings, emails, and unexpected visitors. Unfortunately, many of us spend too much time in this quadrant, fulfilling others’ needs while deluding ourselves into thinking we’re working in Quadrant 1. Delegating tasks in Quadrant 3 whenever possible is essential to free up your time for Quadrant 2.


Quadrant 4: The Waste Quadrant

Quadrant 4 contains tasks that are neither urgent nor important, such as junk emails, specific phone calls, time-wasting activities, and meaningless ‘busywork.’ While we shouldn’t spend any time in this quadrant, it sometimes becomes a refuge when navigating between Quadrants 1 and 3 becomes overwhelming. Nevertheless, Quadrant 4 does not lead to survival; it leads to deterioration. Initially appealing, it eventually becomes an empty and unsatisfying time.

Prioritise Your Tasks

Sort tasks into the following categories and give them a Value:

A). Zero Worth Tasks   – anything with zero worth to the business (deception/waste)

B) £10 Tasks – anything not worth your time (deception/waste)

C) £100 Tasks – anything best delegated/done by you in low-efficiency periods

D) £1000 Task – This is where you should focus all your quality time!

These will only be tasks from the top two quadrants: Quality/Urgency and should be carried out in that 33% Window where you are at your most efficient – for most this is early in the day.

The key takeaway from this lesson is the importance of getting organised. Learn to be methodical and systematic. As you start prioritising tasks and setting deadlines and reminders, it becomes second nature over time. You can employ various software or even mobile apps, though a good old-fashioned diary can serve you just as well.

A final tip is to synchronise your time management with your body clock. Step 1 is to identify the highest-value activities to focus on, but step 2 is to determine when you are functioning at your optimum – so that you can focus on them.  It is simply not practical to assume that you will be operating at 100% all the time.  We are not machines, and our energy and performance levels fluctuate.  You need to identify the times when your motivation and focus are highest and work on the most important tasks when you are at your most productive.

Pro Tip: Tie this in with your daily routine and start doing the right things at the right time on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis – so that being “too busy to succeed” will soon be a thing of the past!

Bend Time to Your Will

Create more time by creating and preparing the perfect conditions for optimum efficiency in your magic productivity zone. Prearrange and prepare your agenda and ensure there are no distractions. Consider setting an alarm to work for 45 minutes and a 15-minute reward break.  Remember Parkinsons’ law which states that work will expand to the time allotted. Use this to your advantage and do it consistently!

Mastering Decision-Making with the Decision Matrix

Before we conclude our discussion on time management, let’s delve into the essential skill of decision-making, which can often be a stumbling block. Prolonged indecision can lead to a loss of momentum, but hasty decisions without due consideration can be equally perilous.

I recommend adopting a simple strategy, that I use all the time, to help making crucial decisions – the Decision Matrix. It’s a powerful yet simple tool, a sheet of paper divided into four quadrants. The top left quadrant covers Control Options, the top right addresses Control Decisions, the bottom left looks at No Control Uncertainty, and the bottom right considers No Control, Rules of the Game.

Videos of the Decision Matrix in Action: https://youtu.be/1nwQ5PpSvBo?si=mLy_tiS71y1f22JQ


Your everyday actions should be driven by discipline and prioritisation based on what’s most important, not just what’s urgent. You must summon the willpower to pursue your goals, even when the task is something you’d rather avoid.

So, act in accordance with your values, not momentary desires or impulses, and categorise activities on urgency and importance.  Only focus on what you can Influence or Control. Crucially, it is also important to learn to distinguish what you should devote attention to. So many people preoccupy themselves over which they have no control or influence. Put bluntly – this is a waste of time. Far better to restrict your concerns to matters which are within your sphere of influence, and control.