This activity and discussion gives students a visual perspective of where and how well they are managing their time.
- Have students list twenty tasks they need to complete in the next two weeks. They should number the tasks 1-20 in no particular order.
- Then provide a short introduction to the author Stephen Covey and his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In his book, he talks about how the activities we do can be categorized into one of four quadrants: I. Urgent and Important; II. Not Urgent and Important; III. Urgent and Not Important; and IV. Not Urgent and Not Important. Covey's theory is that we should be spending our time where it counts (QII) and where there is limited stress (not in QI and QII) and avoid where time is wasted (QIII and QIV). Although sometimes these other quadrants can't be avoided, you can use your time more efficiently if you reduce the number of activities that fall under these categories.
- After explaining Covey's time management matrix, pass out handouts of the grid or simply have students draw it themselves. Have your students place the numbers 1-20 (representing each of the tasks they wrote on their numbered list) in the appropriate quadrant based on urgency and importance.
Urgent Not Urgent Important I II Not Important III
4. Facilitate a brainstorming session on ways to readjust how they manage their time.
- What are ways to reduce time spent in QI (urgent/important)?
- What are ways to stay in QII (not urgent/important) most of the time?
- What are ways to reduce time spent in QIII (urgent/not important)?
- What are ways to stay out of QIV (not urgent/not important)?