If you as a manager, or team member, are asked for help, do not simply reply, “Sorry, I don’t have time.” That says that you consider your tasks to be more important than theirs. Everyone has the same number of hours in the day. Prioritizing and giving help when needed is important. You may actually feel as though you have absolutely no time to spare, but if the task would hold your team up for an hour but take only five minutes of your time, you may want to reconsider.
Stephen Covey recommends a time-management matrix, shown above, which splits tasks into “urgent” and “not urgent,” and “important” and “not important.” He says, for example, that some people “spend a great deal of time in ‘urgent, but not important’ Quadrant III, thinking they’re in Quadrant I. They spend most of their time reacting to things that are urgent, assuming they are also important. But the reality is that the urgency of these matters is often based on the priorities and expectations of others.” Use this matrix to filter your day-to-day tasks and determine what really needs to get done and what may not be as important as it first appeared.