The Achiever Matrix – The Four Quadrants of Success

We found this really helpful in understanding where my time is spent and where it needs to be, along with what we can do about it.  We would love to hear you thoughts.
The Achiever Matrix (created by Stephen Covey) is made up of four quadrants and helps you prioritise tasks based on their importance; allowing you to manage your time better and achieve more.


Quadrant 1 is The Quadrant of Urgency:

This quadrant represents tasks which are both urgent and important.

These tasks might be handling an unhappy customer, meeting a deadline, dealing with a crisis, or undertaking urgent work.  While we must all spend some time in Q1, many of these activities were important before they became urgent through procrastination or lack of planning and risk management.


Quadrant 2 is The Quadrant of Quality:

These are the tasks that are important but not urgent.

These tasks relate to planning, anticipating and minimising problems, empowering others, building relationships, and developing skills.  They are about working on the business as opposed to in the business.  Ignoring tasks in this quadrant will increase the size of Q1, as those important but not urgent tasks become urgent over time. On the other hand, investing time in Q2 will reduce the size of Q1.

We must focus on the tasks in Q2 and spend most of our time working here.


Quadrant 3 is The Quadrant of Deception:

These are the tasks that are urgent but not important.

The noise of urgency creates an illusion of importance, but the activities within this quadrant are usually only important to someone else. These can include phone calls, meetings, emails, and drop-in visitors.  We often end up spending a lot of time in this quadrant, meeting the needs of others, while fooling ourselves that we’re working in Q1. Tasks in Q3 should be delegated to others where possible to free up your time to work in Q2.


Quadrant 4 is The Quadrant of Waste:

These are the tasks which are not urgent and not important.

These can include junk emails, some phone calls, time wasters, social media mindless scrolling… and ‘busywork’.   We know we shouldn’t spend any time at all in this quadrant, but sometimes we get weary from being tossed between quadrants 1 and 3, so we escape to Q4 for time out. Q4 is not about survival, it’s deterioration. It may initially feel nice, but it’s empty time and ultimately not satisfying.

Preview – Mindset Card – The Achiever Matrix (

Which quadrant did you spend the most time in over the past week?

Most people hang out a lot in Q3 – the Quadrant of Deception.  I have spent a lot of time here, and still do get stuck here regularly.  The cost of letting urgency drive you is that you’re not spending time on the quality tasks that are going to improve your business ie Q2.

The best way to free up your time to work in Q2 is to review your Q3 activities. These tasks may appear important at first glance, but how important are they really? Can they be done by someone else?  Do they actually need to be done?

Reclaim time lost to the deception of urgency and spend that time in the Quadrant of Quality.

Either run the day or the day runs you.
– Jim Rohn

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