Tag Archives: Time Managment

24 Hour Workday

The work environment is quickly changing, driven by new technology and the need for constant communication and accessibility. As technology advances makes it simpler to check your email and talk to clients while out of the office, many people have found that a normal 9-5 workday no longer exists for them.  Also, with the convenience of technology advances, employers now have increased expectations of their employees’ availability.

So my question is when do you know to turn off? Is it acceptable to check your email and voicemails right when you roll out of bed or should you wait till you get to work to start your workday?  Many arguments concerning the benefits and costs have been presented on this idea.  I believe there are both pros and cons to this idea of being perpetually tethered to the office.  So to answer my question, I believe you must know when to turn off and to metaphorically ‘leave the office’ by looking at a 24 hour workday with an economic view.

When I say economic view, I mean by analyzing the marginal benefits and costs of checking your email one more time, taking a work call, or working on a project for another hour. In economics, marginal benefits and costs are taken in to context with how many units a firm should buy of a product by the benefit or cost of adding another unit.  However, I am using marginal benefits and costs in context of how much benefit you’ll receive from a never ending workday. If working on a project another hour will benefit you more by having more time to work on other projects tomorrow than watching an episode of Lost then an extra hour will benefit you. However, is the benefit of spending time dealing with a client for another hour at night more than the cost of losing time with your family? When deciding if working a bit longer or if checking your email at dinner is beneficial consider the costs you will face as well. If those costs outweigh the benefits then that work project will still be on your desk tomorrow and vice versa. If the benefit of dealing with a client is greater than the cost of missing one dinner with your family than the longer hours that day are worth it.

Business related matters shouldn’t overshadow more important personal ones. But, allowing yourself to be more accessible and flexible concerning working out of the office may just save you an important client and gain you more time on the weekend. By viewing a 24 hour workday by the marginal benefits and costs, you’ll be able to analyze whether each work responsibility is necessary to finish that day which can provide you more personal time as well as great work results.

First Things First- Managing Your Time

When I was younger my dad required me to read, 7 Habits of a Highly Effective Teen, by Stephen R. Covey.  He of course, read it as well, and continually lectured me on the importance of the 7 habits.

As I got older, and my dad finally assumed I encompassed those 7 habits, I became liberated of the daily references he made to Covey’s book. However, I should’ve known better, Covey reappeared when I began college.

As I faced deadlines, a constant flow of emails, and meetings as any usual employee or college student, I found the saying “Time is of the essence,” is in fact, spot on. There are only so many hours in the day I can mark tasks off my list no matter how late I try and stay up or early I drag myself out of bed.

Once again, my dad began persistently referencing Covey as a solution to my lack of time. Only this time, he referred to Covey’s adult version of the 7 habits- 7 Habits of a Highly Effective Person.  Due to I am not the only college student or employee facing the crisis of time management, I decided to for once, listen to my dad and Covey’s advice.

Therefore, today, I want to give credit to Stephen R. Covey’s time management method which all people may prosper from – Habit 3 Personal Management. Many methods of time management exist- checklists, calendars, and prioritizing our daily tasks.  One method Covey recommends which you may find more effective in the workplace and in your daily home life is a matrix of quadrants of importance.

Quadrant I- Urgent activities that cannot be ignored

Quadrant II- Important activities, but not urgent

Quadrant III-Urgent activities, but not important

Quadrant IV- Not important or urgent


In the matrix, the key to time management comes from Quadrant II.  If Quadrant II activities are done on a regular basis, you will find a tremendous improvement in your daily life. The time for Quadrant II activities comes from Quadrant III and IV. Covey believes that effective people do not spend time in Quadrant III or IV because such activities are unimportant to your goals in life.  One must find time to take on Quadrant I because procrastinating this quadrant results in the task getting bigger and bigger until you must deal with it. Relatively, Quadrant I will shrink with attention to Quadrant II as well with practice of classifying activities. Classification of quadrants requires: 1. Prioritization 2. Organization of priorities, and 3.Self- discipline. However, always be careful of confusing Quadrant I and II.

A critical skill for time management also requires delegation. Being able to effectively delegate tasks to others is highly important in the workplace when dealing with time management. Delegating allows you to devote your time to higher quadrant activities while enabling personal growth for other individuals.

I truly recommend utilizing or at least trying Covey’s personal management method to help you put your responsibilities into perspective. Performing time management and following Covey’s quadrants of importance will allow you to create a life congruent to your goals and values. For example, by following Covey’s method I managed to find time to write this blog!

 Adapted from “7 Habits of a Highly Effective Person,” by Stephen R. Covey