Examining Time Management
By Dr. Michelle Benson, Ed.D., FPA-BM Special Advisor
As an educational leader, my primary goal is to manage time; while in balance of all tasks that surround my organizational responsibilities. Time management ties into each one of Covey’s seven habits of highly effective people. First habit- being proactive, requires a clear attention to time management due to the habitual values of the leader to complete a task on time and with full potential. Second habit- to begin with an end in mind, requires the leader to “rescript” the values from the first habit.
Within this valuable habit, the leader can make conscious decisions that reflect professional values and roles which again ties into the first habit. Third habit- putting first things first, assesses personal time management. By gaining control of time, a leader can see how the most important tasks in quadrant one relate to the vision and mission of your organization. Fourth habit- thinking win-win, points out that we cannot do everything ourselves, but must rely on team members to get the job done. The educational leader in this habit is never losing focus of the goals or strategies that are the most important, acting as the motivator to their team and most importantly, establishing meaningful and professional relationships with team members and other leaders.
Fifth habit- seeking first to understand, then to be understood, demonstrates that the leader can make a decision based on knowledge that is personally understood, so further delegation can be followed through in managing time to a tee. Sixth habit- synergizing is said by Covey (n.d.) to be when two or more people work together to understand something, they can create this phenomenon. Leadership from the heart requires the leader to allow all members of the team to benefit from managing tasks; from time management to the creative input to a business solution.
Finally, habit seven- sharpening the saw keeps the educational leader in check; such as in quadrant two, in a constant long term area to improve goals and strategies for high quality and professional leadership. Krogue (2013) emphasizes Covey’s system by stating that time management is one skill universal to all disciplines of business and life.
In my professional career, a majority of my time does not involve student interaction. Still, I must prioritize my time to make sure that when my students are present that they are influenced to succeed and achieve at high productive levels. It is said that how a manager manages their time defines them as a leader. I could not agree more because time management is the key to comfortable delegation of tasks and full thought out decisions.
This assignment asks the writer to identify and analyze the actions and results of each quadrant of Covey’s Time Management Matrix; breaking down further what is most urgent and what is not urgent. Further discussion of the elements in each section will point out how they could be managed more effectively and efficiently. In addition, personal goals will be shared from each quadrant with an analysis of how they can be moved from one quadrant to another in gaining a deeper sense of time management with the use of Covey’s Time Management Matrix.
Covey’s Time Management Matrix
Quadrant 1: Important/Urgent
This is the quadrant where immediate and important deadlines are managed as a necessity. Items such as: immediate attention to crisis and problems, last-minute meetings at work, the sometimes unavoidable cramming of projects, and rushing to meet a deadline are all solid examples of important and urgent items that would go into this quadrant. According to Dr. Covey, 90% of people’s time is spent in this category (Ulacia, 2009).
In adding a little humor, popular bloggist- Horning (2014) adds that individuals who live in Quadrant I are often consumed with problems all day every day and only find peace in escaping to Quadrant IV. These individuals can be characterized as crisis mangers, problem-minded people, and deadline-driven producers. The items that I, personally placed in my matrix in this quadrant were the paying of monthly bills/rent/mortgage, doctor appointments for family/immunizations, helping children with homework, due dates for college assignments, going to church every Sunday, weekly lesson plans/class work/grading/attendance for job, and preparing meals for family. Most of the items listed are what I felt are the most important and urgent according to my values and professionalism to take care of my family and personal needs before my professional ones.
Quadrant 2: Important/Not Urgent
This quadrant is one of quality and personal leadership styles in the development of long-term tactful strategies. Covey (n.d.) states that this quadrant should be one to expand upon and use for the planning and focus of long-term achievable goals. Items in this quadrant would include the ever important planning and prep time for quadrant one, essential break times, time to get the job done within reasonable limits, and constant time for improvement would fit nicely into this quadrant.
On the other hand, Dr. Covey says that if you live in Quadrant II, “Your effectiveness would increase dramatically. Your crises and problems would shrink to manageable proportions because you would be thinking ahead, working on the roots” (Ulacia, 2009). The items in my personal matrix of quadrant two include: focus on long-term goals, strategies, vision and mission of my career and organization, pre-work/reading and understanding of my Dissertation planning, a positive mental/spiritual/physical outlook towards my Doctorate, and a constant seeking to improve my personal time management methods.
Quadrant 3: Not Important/Urgent
This quadrant is said to be one of deception because of the time wasting items. In this quadrant, we see things like time pressured distractions, avoidable phone calls or interruptions, unnecessary reports and even unnecessary meetings. This quadrant should be avoided by all costs because most of the items in this quadrant can be managed in quadrants one and two before they become a hindrance in this quadrant. In the results portion of the prefilled quadrants, the bulleted items are demonstrating what can happen to the time manager if most attention is devoted to it. The time manager may begin to see goals as worthless, may feel victimized and begin to find themselves doubting their relationships. This is not where an educational leader needs to be, nor any of their followers.
Therefore, I stand behind my theory of this quadrant that it is a time waster and I want nothing to do with it. I will manage what is important in quads one and two before they become urgent. The items that I, personally filled into this quadrant were: time to look at junk mail, longer than expected lunch breaks, an open office/open door policy for team members to ask questions freely, or events such as a job fair, study time while at work to catch up, or a call that just cannot wait any longer to take.
Quadrant 4: Not Important/Not Urgent
This quadrant yields little value to an educational leader because here, items such as junk mail, excessive breaks, idle chit-chat, and time wasters will just delay the inevitable. This quadrant should also be avoided at all costs. According to the results page, bulleted items are showing total irresponsibility, being fired from jobs and using that for entitlement, and the not so shocking dependability on the basics; whereabouts they are personal responsibilities otherwise.
This is a dangerous quadrant even for me to consider, but here are the items that I listed in this category: time wasting activities that get no work done, playing video games while work should have been done, going to see a movie while work needs to be done, and procrastination, in general. All listed items here can be planned for other quadrants, preferably quads one and two. As an educational leader, I need to be a role model of time management and it needs to match my personal values, as I believe it does.
My Theory of Time Management as an Effective Leader
Time management applies to everything in life that is mental, spiritual and physical. Whether considering a child’s thoughts of time management, a college students, or a CEO’s proven style of management, it all comes down to the hours in a day, a sense of priority and personal time for leisure, or relaxing time. All three factors (hours, priority, and leisure) play a major part in a time management plan that will balance out everything that is important in a day. Boniwell, et al (2014) points out that current research shows that having a balanced time perspective improves well-being and productivity on many levels: work-related, social and personal. Yanping and Soman (2014) add clearly that the key step in getting things done is to get started. The use of Covey’s time management matrix is a smart start. It demonstrated what is important and to use the completion of its importance before it became an urgent undertaking. I already have a current trust in Franklin Covey products such as the Day Planner, so it was fun and easy to work with this matrix.
In wrapping up this assignment, educational leaders need to remember that the development of skills in time management are a journey and very seldom will a professional become a time management genius right out of the ring. Students and professionals need to use time management daily to become effective at it. It’s one thing to learn it and know it, but you have to use it to own it. As a professional in my field, I can say that I own time management. My priorities are straight and I generally still have time to assist a friend or a colleague in their attempts to catch up. Sometimes my friends ask me how I find enough time in the day to do everything that I do. I tell them that I plan for it.
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Covey’s Time Management Matrix. Retrieved from: http://www.brefigroup.co.uk/acrobat/quadrnts.pdf
Covey, S. R. (n.d.) 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Retrieved from:
Horning, H. (2014) Time Management Matrix: Urgent vs. Important-Living in Box Two. Retrieved from: http://www.archerpoint.com>blogs>HannahHorning’sBlog
Krogue, K. (2013) Level 5 Time Management: Beyond Steven R. Covey and Ben Franklin. Retrieved from: http://www.forbes.com/…/level-5-time-management-beyond-steven-c…
Ulacia, D. (2009) Are You Working on the Wrong Things? Franklin Covey-Franklin Planner Co. Retrieved from: http://www.getorganized.fcorgp.com/content/are-you-working-wrong-things
Yanping, T; Soman, DILIP. Journal of Consumer Research. Oct2014, Vol. 41 Issue 3, p810-822. 13p. 1 Diagram, 1 Chart, 3 Graphs. , Database: Business Source Complete
The FPA-BM has as Special Advisor Dr. Michelle C. Benson, Ed.D. Dr. Michelle is a consultant, university professor and advisor to many. Dr. Michelle graduated from Northcentral University with a Doctorate in Educational Leadership. She holds a Master in Organizational Leadership/Management from Ashford University. Dr. Michelle has taught for the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Community Health for Bachelor and Master level learners. Dr. Michelle also can motivate and lead her students to career and life changing opportunities. She is a student-centered education professional and is passionate to see success in people she encounters. Dr. Michelle has authored five journal publications and is always seeking ways to add more research to existing topics in leadership, learning and management.