Nearly every business, from tiny startups to multinational firms, has struggled to manage its time well as a result of IT support and maintenance issues – this applies no less to Hyperion administrators and managers. To find out why, let’s turn to businessman Stephen Covey, author of the bestselling classic The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
In another of his self-help books, First Things First, Covey popularized the idea of a “time management matrix” divided into four quadrants. Each quadrant is used to categorize activities along two axes: the urgency of the activity and its importance to your organization.
The Four Quadrants of the Time Management Matrix
The Upper-Left Quadrant: Important and Urgent
In this quadrant, you’ll find the most essential short-term priorities for you and your business. The activities located here include crises like Hyperion crashes, pressing problems, and deadline-driven projects—this is where most Hyperion administrators believe these activities land, anyways. We’ll analyze this later in the blog post.
The Upper-Right Quadrant: Important but Not Urgent
The activities in this quadrant are just as important for your business, but aren’t quite as pressing. For these reasons, many people neglect them intentionally or unintentionally, despite their strategic value. This quadrant comprises activities such as planning and prevention initiatives, building relationships, and recognizing new opportunities.
The Lower-Left Quadrant: Not Important but Urgent
Phone calls, meetings, emails and reports–the day-to-day activities of many office workers–are a large part of this quadrant. Although these often make you feel a sense of accomplishment, however, they contribute little long-term value to the organization, which can make them deceptively appealing. Most companies do not include Hyperion crashes and performance issues to be in this quadrant–but should they be? They are certainly important, but are they as important as activities that build revenue, maximize ROI, and contribute to the growth of the business?
The Lower-Right Quadrant: Not Important and Not Urgent
This quadrant is by far the worst place for your employees to spend their time. Tasks that you find here are often called “busy work”: things that in the long run have no real impact on the operations and growth of your business, but that nevertheless suck up a great deal of time and effort.
How to Use the Time Management Matrix
By sorting each of your activities into a particular quadrant, the time management matrix can help you understand how you’re spending your time–in particular, if you’re being lulled into a sense of achievement by wasting time on tasks in the lower- left quadrant.
Ideally, you should be spending more than half of your time on activities in the upper two quadrants, especially long-term activities in the upper-right. If you pay too little attention to these concerns, their urgency may grow, turning them into upper-left activities that generate a serious time crunch.
How to Tell Which Activities are Important
IT operations –particularly performance issues – take up a lot of time and effort, and require a great number of complicated, collaborative activities. However, the question remains: are IT operations ever actually mission-critical, or are they merely the foundation for the truly important activities at your company? At the end of the day, what could your finance team accomplish if these activities were moved to the lower-left quadrant and managed by somebody else?
The good news is, these “emergencies” that cost time and effort for your business are someone else’s core competencies. By partnering with companies who can handle these IT distractions and delegate tasks to the right people, you can dramatically open up your schedule so that you’re free to focus on revenue-generating activities that fall in the upper two quadrants of the matrix.
Want to learn more about how you can make the most of your time? Check out Datavail’s new white paper “Cut Costs and Improve ROI: Turn EPM Pain into Business Gain.”
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