Time Management Matrix

Time Management Matrix

Effectively learning how to use time is critical to managing stress. Each day, we have many choices about what we can do within twenty-four hours. A popular resource to sort between what must be done and what can be forgotten is called the time management matrix.


Quadrant 1

This quadrant is both important and urgent. The tasks that fit in this category are necessities and the goal is to reduce the amount of tasks in this category. By focusing first on this quadrant, you will be able to get the most important and urgent things done before getting distracted by less important tasks. Crisis, pressing problems, and deadlines fit in this category.

Quadrant 2

Quadrant two is ideally where the majority of your day should be spent. Tasks that fit in this category are important but not urgent. Things in this quadrant are habitual, proactive actions that reduce tasks in quadrant 1. Activities such as relationship building, finding new opportunities, personal growth, and recreation fit in this category.

Quadrant 3

Things in this quadrant can be difficult to discern if they are meaningful because they are urgent tasks but not important. Focus on identifying unimportant habits in your life that are taking away your time. Unimportant meetings, some emails, and interruptions are common tasks in this quadrant.

Quadrant 4

Quadrant four contains activities that are not important and non-urgent. While many of these activities are enjoyable, they keep you from more important and satisfying ways to spend your time.  Surfing your phone, mindless texting, video games, and any time wasting activities fit into this category.


By identifying what you routinely do in your day, you can categorize each task to fit into one of the four quadrants. Focus on getting the important and urgent tasks done first, so that you can have the most time for the enjoyable and meaningful tasks in quadrant 2. With practice, minimize your time spent in quadrants 3 and 4. By using your time wisely both at work and at home, you will find that you actually have more time than you thought.