My husband recently started a new position at work and is in the middle of his leadership training. He often comes home excited to tell me all about what he’s been learning, and how he can’t wait to begin implementing these new strategies. His most recent training was on the Covey time management matrix, a grid that helps you prioritize your tasks by Urgent / Not Urgent / Important / Not Important, which got me thinking about how I could use this strategy in my own business.
The freelancing journey often begins with a particular talent + a couple clients. If you’re lucky and work hard, this turns into a business and suddenly you are wearing all of the hats: Owner, developer (or designer or copywriter etc), accountant, bookkeeper, customer service… the list goes on. You begin by being really good at one thing and have to quickly become really good at a number of other things. So you muddle through or outsource. The to-do list goes from 10 things to 100, and it suddenly becomes very difficult to determine what is important.
This month I decided to start using the the time management matrix in addition to my time blocks. I start each week by taking my to-do list and dividing it up into those four quadrants, then take everything in the important/urgent block and begin there. Anything in the Not Urgent/Not Important box I will review to determine whether or not it even needs to be on my to-do list at all. Everything else I schedule accordingly.
Then there are boundaries. What a client may put in the important/urgent box, but I put in the important/non-urgent box needs to remain there. It can wait. This is often the hardest for me as I am the queen of the immediate response.
So far, this time management matrix strategy has been life changing, it has helped me to learn how to say “No” which has given me so much more control over my time and energy. It has also helped to clear out some of the brain fog and overwhelm I often feel on Mondays when that list is starting to get out of hand.
More on the time management matrix here.