In the very beginning we mentioned that the new perspective taken in the 4th Generation Time Management looks at life philosophy and management instead of traditional management of time. In fact, it consists of 3rd Generation Time Management (tasks, deadlines, priorities) and is extended by a part mapping user’s life and long-term goals, their mission and wishes.
4th Generation Time Management tools help their users determine what is really important in their lives, i.e. to define objectives and tasks to achieve the goals. Standard time unit used is one week. Therefore, schedules are in weekly cycles and are made before each week. Longer time enables reflection of real-life values and long-term goals prioritized.
To be able to use any time management techniques and methodologies, it is absolutely essential to make a personalized list of tasks and activities to be used later on in your scheduling activities. This is what you have made in the previous chapter.
Tasks and activities are divided based on two criteria, i.e. importance and urgency.
D.Eisenhower, former US president, used to say: “Important problems hardly tend to be urgent and urgent problems tend not to be important.“ The following chapter will look at how to schedule priorities, i.e. what key to use when setting order to perform our tasks.
To be efficient in scheduling, we can use so-called Eisenhower Principle which combines both criteria, i.e. importance and urgency.
While scheduling, we analyze our tasks (activities) and place them in quadrants using the criteria set. Set aside enough time for this exercise.
The rule for each priority setting is that if there is an A-task not fulfilled on your list, you should not start performing B-task, and if there are still some B-tasks not fulfilled, do not move to C quadrant. This will ensure you will work from high-priority tasks till low-priority ones. However, in practice you might sometimes have to break this sequence, for example when you have been waiting for information necessary to perform an A-task.
B: IMPORTANT BUT NOT URGENT
It includes e.g. relationships building, long-term scheduling and explanation of priorities. If we fail to do these tasks, they will gradually become urgent and move to A quadrant. Consequently, you will be in a vicious circle of never-ending fire extinguishing.
A: IMPORTANT AND URGENT
Such tasks require immediate attention and they are important for your goals achievement.
Usually these may be crises and things that cannot be postponed due to external impacts.
D: NOT IMPORTANT AND NOT URGENT
Disturbance, some phone-calls, emails, meetings and popular activities.
C: URGENT BUT NOT IMPORTANT
In a week you will collect a large number of such tasks; however, do not solve them as a priority just because of their urgent nature. Generally, these tend to be simple things, some emails and phone calls and quite often just a waste of time