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    If not now, then when?

    When will you ever have more time than you do right now?

    When we talk about resources for leaders in economic terms three usually come to mind:  labour, capital and land.  There is a fourth resource that may be considered for an individual to be far more important – that of  TIME.  

    urgencyimportancematrix

    Time management experts have developed a model which helps prioritise leadership activities and to make the use of time more effective.  This is broken up into the areas of Important and Non-Important, Urgent and Non-Urgent.   On the left hand side of the quadrant graph is the area that effective leaders spend their time.  The area on the right hand side of the graph is potentially the leader who is run by crisis management.  Lets take a closer look at the left hand side of the graph:

    Urgent and Important:  There activities are deadline driven, importance based on consistency, potentially demanding problems, response to a specialised area with the business.  This area of the quadrant should take up 40% of a given week.  These activities are generally prioritised first, however they can cause stress because they sit in a time sensitive zone.

    Important, but Not Urgent:  There is no doubt that the best leaders spend the most amount of time in this area of their business.  It includes preparation and planning, execution of projects, crisis prevention, long term diary management, recruitment and skill improvement.  Whenever a leader in a business is undertaking these activities they can focus on the future successfully and begin to prioritise the direction of the business. 

    On the left hand side of the graph is the area of Urgent but Not Important.  This can include phone calls, emails, generally interruptions, poorly planned meetings as well as poor delegation. 

    The final area on the graph is that of Not Important and Not Urgent.  This area of work happens when you are dealing with time wasters, shuffling paperwork and some meetings and phone calls that have no outcome.

    The best leaders and the best businesses consistently move their activities into Important but Not Urgent.  It is those business leaders with good intentions who end up being driven to the area of Urgent and Not Important because of their inability to delegate and lead the business in a focused direction.  It is a must for all business leaders to understand the quadrant and their personal time allocation. They not only owe it to themselves to work in the area of Important but Not Urgent, they also owe it to their people and to their business. 

    The only consistency in business and in life is that time is an endangered resource.  If we are to be effective as leaders we need to empower ourselves and our productivity through practices that are future proofing our businesses for the long term.  Today is about making the most of a limited resource – Time.

     

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