Strategy for becoming Time Rich
Hi, my name is Timon Vinke and welcome to this video about taking control over your time. Over the years, even when I started out as an employee, I was always obsessed about using my time as effectively as possible. When I started out as an employee and later when I became a manager of a multimillion branch office, I always wanted to limit my working time to a maximum 40 hours a week. That meant that when I started getting more responsibility and more things to do, I knew that needed to start working more effectively and I needed to spend my time more wisely.
Over the years I spent quite a lot of time actually researching and reading about strategies and ways that I can do that. How can I use my time as effectively as possible? But first, what does it mean using your time effectively? It means that the time that you spend has the biggest impact towards the goal that you want to achieve. It depends on each person what is using your time effectively. Now, one of the strategies I came across was from Stephen Covey, and I read it in his book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
Time Management Matrix
He called it the time management matrix. I wanted to share that with you because that matrix really helped me to frame my thinking about how I was spending my time and on which activities I was spending my time. I have the matrix here behind me on the flip board. Let’s go through it and I’ll explain it to you. We have two scales, the first is importance. We have low important activities and very important activities. And the second scale is urgency. We have activities that are very urgent and we have activities that are not that urgent.
Those are the two scales. And then within the matrix Covey has defined four types of activities, type one to four. What are those? Type one activities are the crisis situations or any activities with a hard deadline. They are urgent and they’re all important. For example, a medical emergency. That’s very clearly an emergency that is both very important because it could be life or death and it is very urgent, right? That’s like extreme case that would be all the way here in the top left, very high importance, very high urgency.
Now, other activities could be meetings that you have, meetings with clients. They are not necessarily urgent in the sense that there are happening now, but there are still deadlines. When the time approaches for the meeting automatically it becomes urgent because in the end the meeting will be happening right now, right? Those are important. And it can be projects that have a hard deadline, proposals you need to make, some emails are there, some phone calls, some important phone calls, important emails, they go in that type of activity as well.
Type two activities are activities that are very important and I would argue maybe even more important than type one activities in most cases. However, they’re not very urgent. And as a result, as we will see later on, we don’t spend as much time as we would like there. These are activities like caring for your own health, both physically and mentally, building relationship with your clients, with your suppliers, with your family. Other type two activities are projects that would really help your business, like developing a new product, right? Those are all kinds of projects that don’t have a hard deadline.
And as a result, often we tend to spend less time on them and basically move the projects back and back. Type three activities are activities that are very urgent, but they’re not important. A lot of emails go in here, a lot of phone calls go in there. Do you really need to? If you don’t answer that email, this is really going to hurt you or your business? If your answer is no, then actually it’s not important, but it feels urgent because the phone is ringing or if you hear the ding, ding, ding of the emails that are coming in, right?
Those are the type three activities, not important stuff, but they feel urgent. And then onto type four activities and those are low important activities that all are not urgent. For example, binge watching Netflix for a whole day is a typical type four activity. Basically it’s the escapism type of activity where you want to escape your current life and you want to basically block off and spend a lot of time. While you don’t want to spend a lot of the time you feel like you need to on these activities that don’t bring any value, right?
Where most people are
Where are most of the people, and I would argue that most business owners are especially are in this situation. That’s on the next slide. A lot of people, working people, business people, they are in this situation where they spend the majority of time in type one activities. They go from crisis to crisis. They’re running from meeting to meeting. It can even be meetings with clients because their days are important and are urgent. However, if you go running from meeting to meeting, it feels like you have no control over your time, which in fact you don’t because you’re living by their agenda.
Those people are completely focused on type one activities. As a result, they feel stressed and they don’t feel comfortable. Again, they escape to type four activities. They feel that they need to spend a whole day binge watching Netflix because they need to relax their mind, they spend quite a deal of time in type four activities, which are both non-important and not urgent. And because they spend much time there, actually what they do is they increase this area as well because there are more crises developing that they are not attending to.
Another thing they spend quite a deal of time is type three activities, which are the non-important, urgent matters. Because if you’re constantly solving crisis and reacting to emails and reacting to phone calls, then automatically you also start reacting to the non-important emails and phone calls because it’s becoming harder and harder to distinguish between what is important and what is not important. Now, as a result of spending all the time in these activities there is hardly any time spent in the type two activities, right?
There are hardly any times spent on building relationships with people, working on projects and all that stuff, right? This is really important because in the end, these type of activities are going to prevent the crises from developing.
What would be the ideal situation where you want to end up? It’s this one where you spent almost all of your time on type two activities. All of your time is going towards long-term development projects that bring big results, building relationship with people. Again, implementing automation systems that sell products for you.
To make it more specific for your business, developing an online course that you can sell automatically. Those are all type two activities, but you can keep putting them off. But we all know that if we actually do them, they will have a big result on our business and on our lives. And as a result, the quadrant one activities become less and less that the type of activities becomes smaller and smaller, right? You can never completely eliminate all the type one activities. There will always be crises arriving.
You always need to solve something, always need to react to somethings, but you can work to prevent as much as possible. I remember from my career, I’ve had colleagues that were actually, how do you call it, proud of being firefighters that they really loved solving crises. They were completely focused on type one activities. But what they forgot is to take the next step, which is making sure and preventing that same crisis from happening again in the future. As a result, preventing crisis, that’s a type two activity. And as a result, guess what?
The same crisis happened again a few months later or even a few weeks later, right? They didn’t solve the problem that was causing the crisis, they only solved the crisis itself. That’s the difference between type one and type two activities.
How to get there
How do you move from the previous slide where we spend most of the time on type one activities and how do you move towards this ideal scenario? Well, you need to start taking away the time from type three and type four activities because those are the non-important stuff.
When you take this time away from those activities and you dedicate it all to type two activities, then you can start working on preventing crisis and basically making this quadrant smaller and smaller, right? How do you take away time from type three and type four activities? That’s basically by learning to say no. Saying no to those activities that are not important to you or not important to the goals that you want to achieve. It can be difficult because people will be disappointed because you used to say yes all the time, right?
But it is important that you realize what are your goals. Now remember, this is not only about your business. again, taking away time here, if you’re not feeling healthy, then may be the very best thing you can do is you start taking away time here and spending time on increasing your health both physically and mentally, right? Because that will give you much more strength and much more power to keep going and actually keep solving the crises over here, right? Again, it does not mean that you start spending all your time on your business. Far from it, you need to start thinking about your whole life, where your business is part of your life.
And you need to start thinking about what are the activities I want to spend time in my life? And part of that is business, yes. It yes, you could start spending time on building business systems, and I highly recommend that if you want to grow your business. However, it can also be like you want to say, “I want to dedicate this time, spending quality time with my family I have a stronger family, I have better relationship with my spouse or with my partner.” And when you do that, you feel more relaxed, you feel more powerful.
And when you have a strong family that is backing you, guess what? You will have much better ability to solve the crisis and actually start reducing the number of crisis as well, right? This is how you start moving from this situation to the ideal situation where almost all of our life is about purposeful long-term projects that keep strengthening and improving our lives and our business.
This is the time management matrix from Stephen Covey. And like I said, this really helped me a lot about framing my thinking about where to spend my time and how to go through my life actually. I really hope it helped you as well. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below and I’ll read them and I’ll respond to you. If you have any difficulty with moving towards this ideal scenario, let me know and perhaps I can help you there as well. Thank you very much for watching. See you around. Bye-bye.