Farm Progress

Best ways to manage your time: Part two of two

Make the Covey Matrix work for you.

Tim Schaefer, Founder

October 5, 2016

2 Min Read

Yesterday we introduced you to the Stephen Covey Time Matrix, a way to help you prioritize tasks that are most important to you and your farm business. Today we’ll talk about how to best make this system work for you.

Best ways to manage your time: Part two of two

It is easy to procrastinate and not deal with tasks in Quadrant 2, yet they hold the key to your future success.

Each day put all of your 'to dos' in one of the quadrants. Over time you will most likely see a trend. It is very common to see a large number of items in #1 and #3. If you do, is it any wonder why you feel stressed out? Most of your tasks are considered urgent even if they are not all that important.


You need to deal with  Quadrant 1 items because they are crucial and time sensitive. Build a team with systems around you to limit the number of items in Quadrant 1, and maybe spend more time in Quadrant 2 planning a smoother execution.

Look to spend approximately 20% of your time in the Quadrant 2 area. This will allow you time to plan, analyze, and build the business structure that will elimination many of the emergencies in Quadrant 1. This area is often neglected because, while important, there is no emergency to draw your attention to it. It is easy to procrastinate and not deal with tasks in Quadrant 2, yet they hold the key to your future success.

You may find that many of the the tasks in Quadrant 3 can be delegated to another person in the company, or hired out. I often see successful entrepreneurs going to the post office, performing routine filing, and data entry. If you can't eliminate, delegate these tasks to others, or become more efficient at doing them; then look at postponing these until Quadrant 2 items are done.

Run, don't walk, away from items in Quadrant 4. These time killers are keeping you from your long term goals and success. Often eliminating these time traps can create the time for Quadrant 2.

Less stress, more success 

You, your neighbors, and your competitors have the same amount of time in a day. True, you can work more hours, but even that has a limit and isn’t a viable long term solution.

Instead, use the Covey Matrix to work on the most important items first. Spend important time analyzing, planning and developing those who can help you. Instead of writing a To Do list, maybe it is time to take action on your  Stop Doing list.

Your less stressful, successful future awaits.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Penton Agriculture.

About the Author(s)

Tim Schaefer

Founder, Encore Wealth Advisors

Tim Schaefer guides large, successful farm operations, helping them get and keep a competitive edge. His tools are peer groups via the Encore Executive Farmer Network, transition planning, business growth planning, and executive coaching. His print column, Transitions & Strategies, appears regularly in Farm Futures and online at He is a Certified Family Business Advisor, Certified Business Coach and Certified Financial Planner. Raised on a successful family farm, his first business venture was selling sweet corn door to door with an Oliver 70.

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