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Three Categories of Effective Time Management

In today’s technology driven world, many of us feel as if we truly don’t have enough hours in a day. We’re constantly connected with laptops and smartphones, but sometimes technology can be too much of a good thing and we end up overwhelmed by both volume and distractions.

That’s why it’s more important than ever to learn how to prioritize your activities, especially for your business. Peter Drucker once said, “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.” That’s exactly what we’re talking about here.

We’ve broken daily business tasks down into three categories: insignificant, urgent/significant, and proactive/significant. The activities in each are necessary, but by learning how to better prioritize them, you can devote more time to activities with a bigger impact:

  • Insignificant tasks are the pings and dings of your day, things such as catching up on your emails and voicemails or unnecessary meetings and interruptions. This can be considered your $10/hour work. If you’re addressing these tasks while the market’s open, you’re leaving growth opportunities on the table.
  • Urgent/significant activities are things such as client meetings and the associated prep for them. Think of this as your $100/hour work. You’re likely already managing these tasks well because they’re on your calendar and are time sensitive—you can’t ignore them. But that time sensitivity gives these projects a sense of urgency that may exaggerate their importance.
  • Proactive/significant activities are the ones that contribute to the health and growth of your business, such as trainings, marketing, strategic planning, and building your competencies. This is your $10,000/hour work. These tasks are the high-leverage activities that move the needle, but are most often pushed aside because they don’t have the same sense of urgency as the other two categories.


How Are You Prioritizing Your Time?

We polled financial professionals about how, within these three categories, they allocated their time the previous week. Not surprisingly, 50% said they devoted most of their time to urgent/significant tasks, 42% said insignificant, and only 8% said they’d devoted most of their time to proactive/significant activities.* How are you spending the majority of your time?



Identify your pillars to increase more by doing less.


*Source: Hartford Funds advisor survey, 8/19


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