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Tackling The Phenomenon of ‘Never Enough Time’

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Tackling The Phenomenon of ‘Never Enough Time’

March 17
09:06 2019

Whether you own a business or work for someone who does, you have probably experienced the ‘never enough time’ phenomenon.
In his book, ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,’ Stephen Covey wrote about the four time quadrants as part of his ‘put first things first’ concept. Continuing our series on the benefits of executive coaching, Daniela Grendene shines a spotlight on Quadrant II, the set of activities in business – or indeed everyday life – that, while not urgent, nevertheless remain important.

When teaching business owners how to better manage their lives, I draw the quadrants as rings, like a target, with Quadrant II in the middle, and I call this area the zone. Essentially, this is that place where you set aside all the trivia of the day and focus on the things that are truly important for the long-term success of your business and your life.

Try spending 20% of your time in ‘zone’ activities, either on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis

So how do we get into this zone? First, you have to make a decision to go there. However, because these tasks are not urgent – they are not in your face demanding to be done – it will not happen naturally. When was the last time your most important client called you up and demanded that you get to work on your budget? In truth it was probably never, but when was the last time a client complained that you didn’t have the right parts in stock, or that you delivered their order a week late?

Did you take the time to tell them that earlier this year you failed to budget for sufficient stock, or that you failed to plan the replacement of that machine that you knew was on its last legs?

Here are some tips for how to practice allocating time for Quadrant II – or ‘Zone’ activities – in order to turn them from infrequent tasks into everday habits:

  1. Schedule planning time activities in your calendar on a regular basis. It is probably the best and maybe the only way to ensure they get done. Try allocating four hours per week for planning (that is, medium- to long-term rather than short-term). An additional 8 hours per month, perhaps a couple of half-day sessions, and then an additional 16 hours per quarter, perhaps in an off-site session or two.
  2.  Establish a system for accountability to help you reinforce the need and the habit. This can take the form of a coach, an accountability partner, a mastermind group, a partner, a spouse or any other person that you will feel accountable with. Be sure they know to ask you when you are allocating your time, and how you intend to spend it. Be sure that you have deliverables for the output of your planning, and set aside the time to review and discuss it with them.
  3. Break up the work and the time into proper-sized chunks. Some people work best in 30-minute bursts, whiles others prefer two-hour chunks. Pay attention to your work style, and allocate the most efficient periods of time for you to get your work done. Break up the work into properly sized chunks so that you can accomplish something meaningful in each time period.
  4. Pick the right time of day for your zone activities. In every business there are times of day or days of the week that are better or worse than others. If you know that Monday mornings are always crazy, don’t allocate any zone time for Mondays. You know your own daily cycles, so be sure to schedule your zone time at a time of day that is best for the type of thinking you will be doing – creative, out of the box brainstorming or detailed number-crunching.

In short, if you want your business to be a long-term success, it takes this kind of intentional, disciplined planning in order to make it so. Planning for the future – not merely the coming week, but the next month, year or even decade – will underline and safeguard your efforts to ensure your organisation continues to compete effectively in future.

Click on the link to view Steven Convey’s four Quadrants.

Daniela Grendene is an executive coach with 25 years’ experience who teaches directors about business results and making money. For more information on how ActionCOACH can help you and your organisation to reach the next level, visit

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Catering Scotland

Catering Scotland

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