“HABIT 1: BE PROACTIVE
HABIT 2: BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND
HABIT 3: PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST
Make sure to distinguish the goals that are truly important (e.g. completion of a research project) from those that may seem urgent but are really not important (e.g. arranging the weekend’s softball game for your buddies). You do not want to spend an inordinate amount of time doing busywork–work that appears productive but only keeps you occupied.
Every activity we do in a given day can be put into four quadrants:
QUADRANT 1: IMPORTANT/URGENT
DEAD-LINE DRIVEN PROJECTS
QUADRANT 2: IMPORTANT/NOT URGENT
LONG TERM PROJECTS
QUADRANT 3: URGENT/NOT IMPORTANT
PROXIMATE PRESSING MATTERS
QUADRANT 4: NOT URGENT/NOT IMPORTANT
PHONE CALLS, TIME WASTERS
Which quadrant of activities do you think people tend to do the most? The answer is quadrant 4 because these activities usually do not cause any stress. The next is quadrant 3 because the “squeaky wheel” gets the grease, so to speak.
However, doing quadrant 4 and 3 activities at the expense of quadrant 1 and 2 activities is an insidious form of procrastination. When you manage your time, make sure that you emphasize quadrant 1 and 2 activities. You may even want to list the things you have to do and then place each item in the appropriate quadrant to help you understand which activities require attention and planning.
The secret to effectively managing time lies in quadrant two. If you focus on quadrant 2 activities, you will have enhanced your vision, perspective, balance, discipline, control, and have fewer crises. Try to set aside time each day to work on something that is important but not necessarily urgent as a way of getting ahead. In doing so, you buy extra time later to handle the unexpected events that invariably happen to everyone.
HABIT 4: LOOK AHEAD…”
Read more in this UTLC article.