Prioritising as an Effective Time Management Principle

By John Dudovskiy
February 18, 2013

PrioritisingThe principle of prioritising involves categorising tasks and goals according to the level of their importance and urgency, and giving priority to the most important and urgent tasks amongst the others (Hansen, 2011). This principle has been addressed by Covey (1990) in a comprehensive manner. Specifically, Covey (1990) introduces the time management matrix in the following manner:

Square 1

Urgent and Important

Square 2

Important, but Not Urgent

Square 3

Urgent, but Not Important

Square 4

Not Important and Not Urgent

Time management matrix

Covey (1990) recommends that people should primarily concentrate on important tasks in order to reduce the numbers of urgent tasks. In other words, within the Time Management Matrix illustrated above, Covey (1990) argues that concentrating on activities within the Square 2, reduces the numbers of activities within the Square 1. Moreover, according to the author, activities within the Square 3 need to be delegated, whereas activities within the Square 4 need to be avoided altogether.

It has been stated that “priority setting is perhaps the most critical skills in good time management, because all actions we take have some type of relative importance” (Marquis and Huston, 2009, p.189).

Kennedy (2004) urges to comprehend the differences between efficiency and effectiveness in managing time and states that efficiency relates to deal with assigned tasks in an appropriate way, whereas effectiveness involves choosing appropriate tasks to deal with.



Covey, S. (1990) “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” Fireside

Hansen, C.K. (2011) “Time Management for Department Chairs” John Wiley & Sons

Kennedy, D.S. (2004) “Time Management for Entrepreneurs” Entrepreneur Press

Category: Management