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Quadrants

Author: Pencil Case  Date: 22 August 2019

Advanced time management techniques = Quadrants

An advanced variation of priority lists is to use a concept called quadrants. The use of quadrants breaks your activities up into four areas - things that are time critical, things that are not time critical, things that are high priority and things that are low priority. The quadrant is then formed using the example below:

Time Critical

Not Time Critical

High Priority

Study For Test Tomorrow

Finish Assignment Due Tomorrow

Finish Assignment Due In 3 Weeks

4 Exams At End Of Semester

Science Test in 2 Weeks

Low Priority

Hand In Permission Slip For Excursion Today

Think About In Class Discussion For Next Period

Sign Up For School Volleyball Team

Get New Uniform Shirt

Catch Up With John


To use quadrants you simply allocate all of the tasks that you have to the appropriate quadrant.

For example:

High priority items are ones that are very important, and you really want to get them done as soon as possible.

Low priority items are ones that you would still like to get done, but if they were not completed for a while it wouldn't matter that much. Note: low priority items can become high priority items if left too long.

Time critical items are those that have to get done straight away or something will go wrong.

Not time critical items are those that do not have to get done straight away. Note: not time critical items may eventually become time critical items if left for too long.

You will notice from the quadrant that tasks don't just fall into one of the four categories, they fall into combinations thereof.

For example:

High priority/time critical tasks are those that if aren't done right now, life as you know it will probably end e.g. breathing, handing in an overdue assignment, cramming for a test.

High priority/not time critical tasks these are the really important ones that we will talk more about below.

Low priority/time critical tasks are those that you should do now, but if you didn't, life isn't over e.g. getting a letter in the post before 6pm so you get in today's mail.

Low priority/not time critical tasks are those that you could do anytime and aren't that important e.g. your phys. ed. teacher asks you to decorate your health studies folder.

Question: We only have a certain amount of time each day, so where do you think we should spend the majority of our study time?

Answer: The reality for most people is that we spend most of our time in the high priority/time critical quadrant. To be truly effective time managers, we need to be spending as much of our time as we can in the high priority/not time critical quadrant. This means getting assignments done well before they are due, and studying for exams just because we can, not because we have to.

Question: How much time should you devote to each quadrant?

Answer: 60% to high priority/not time critical, 25% to high priority/time critical, 5% to low priority/time critical, 5% to low priority/not time critical and 5% to doing whatever you feel like!

There is nothing I can really say to get you into the high priority/not time critical quadrant. But, if you hate stress, and love to feel in control then that is the quadrant for you!

Activity

Reflect on all the things you need to get done. Make a list of all the high priority/not time critical activities you should get done.


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