Your Guide to University Success | GRAD - page 13

The top two quadrants of the time management
matrix are where you have to focus. Quadrant A
is the urgent and important stuff, which needs
to be done NOW. You don’t really have a choice.
If you spend all your time in A, however, you
function in crisis mode. It could be that you are
not planning your time well, or perhaps you are
Quadrant B is what we often overlook or post-
pone, because it is not urgent – but it is impor-
tant. This is what Covey calls the “Quadrant of
Quality and Personal Leadership”. These activities
require planning and initiative. They also require
time to reflect. If you find time for Quadrant B,
you are a time manager, not a crisis manager.
Quadrant C is filled with things we get
into because we can’t say no. Learn to do so
(i.e. say no).
Quadrant D contains the things we do be-
cause they are easy, mindless, and help us avoid
the hard stuff. Social media, binge-watching
series …These are the REAL time wasters!
So, when you feel overwhelmed by everything
you have to do:
Make a list of all of those things.
Consider them according to Covey’s matrix.
Put the important, urgent ones at the top, fol-
lowed by the important, not so urgent ones.
Try to delete the ones that fall into the bottom
Now make a to-do list for today.
Make another one for this week.
Start at the top, and do the first one.
Tip: Don’t cross off what you have done on
your to-do list – rather highlight it. Instead
of being depressed by everything left to do,
you will be inspired by everything you have
managed to do already!
Time management is vitally important but must
be combined with energy management. The
volume, pace and difficulty level of the work we
need to do has increased by leaps and bounds,
yet the amount of time available every day has
remained the same – a meagre 24 hours. Proper
time management
ensures that you do not
waste this precious commodity.
Energy man-
ensures that you get more done in the
time available.
Many students stick to their old study meth-
ods and quickly run out of time. They then make
the grave error of sacrificing sleep. This is the
beginning of a vicious cycle, which can be avoided
by taking heed of the Healthy Mind Platter.
To stay happy and healthy, you need all of
the following:
Time in
– quiet time for meditation and
Focus time
– lectures, tutorials, laboratory
work, study
Physical time
– exercise for the body
Play time
– being spontaneous and creative
Connection time
– friends and family, but
also connecting to our surroundings and the
natural world
Down time
– just being by yourself, quietly
Sleep time
Adapted from D. Rock and D.J. Siegel,
The Healthy
Mind Platter
. Available at
The time you allocate to each of these will vary
from day to day and week to week, but you
have to make time for all of them. Sleep seven
to eight hours a night. Make sure that you get
some exercise. Spend time with your friends. If
you plan your schedule, it will all be possible.
2 The Healthy Mind Platter was created in collaboration by Dr David Rock, executive director of the NeuroLeadership Institute, and Dr Daniel Siegel, executive
director of the Mindsight Institute and clinical professor at the UCLA School of Medicine.
The Healthy Mind Platter
The Healthy Mind Platter for Optimal Brain Matter
Copyright © 2011 David Rock and Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. All rights reserved.
sleep time
focus time
play time
down time
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