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  • Writer's pictureKathy Miles

Time Management Series Part 2 - The Time Management Filter

Time Management Filter

Note: This post follows on from the previous post "Time Management Series Part 1 - The Time Management Grid. If you haven't done so already, you should read this post first.

To assist us with planning, we need to use tools such as the Time Management Filter. On any given day we are inundated with information, tasks, distractions, emails, phone calls, requests and more.

Learning how to process each of these appropriately goes a long way in being able to effectively manage your time. The Time Management Filter is designed to assist you to filter through each item and decide on an appropriate action to take.

The first step is to analyse the task and decide how important it is. To help you do this you can ask yourself the following questions:

  • Where does it fit within the Time Management Matrix?

  • How long will it take to complete the task?

  • What is required to complete the task?

  • What are the consequences of not completing the task?

  • Am I able to do it now or am I waiting on information or someone else?

  • Am I the best person to complete the task (is it a good use of my time)?

Depending on your analysis, you would then complete one of four actions:


Anything that is a time waster or fits under Quadrant 4 of the Time Management Grid should be discarded from your to-do list.

If you can answer no to these questions then you can safely discard the item and spend time on something more valuable:

  • Is the task significant? Will it make a difference if it is completed or not completed?

  • Is the task part of the overall goal/strategy?

  • Is the task going to be beneficial for me or the team?

  • Does the task fit into my schedule?


If the task is not something we need to deal with or one that we would normally handle, then it may be better to delegate it to someone more suitable.

Although we can muddle through with things and learn along the way, if we are short on time, then it is better to delegate to someone who is in a better position to complete the task. This also frees you up to complete more pressing and important work.


Sometimes we feel that every task we get is urgent. This makes us respond to things immediately, such as email, phone calls and requests to do something for someone else. If we stop to do these things, then we are being distracted from the critical/urgent items (Quadrant 1) on our to-do list.

It is important to not let others control our time, but often we are afraid to ask the question “when is the latest I can get this to you?” If you haven’t got room in your schedule then you need to try and negotiate more time.

If the task timing is unimportant or if the task is going to take too much of your time, then you should defer it to another time.

Make yourself notes or create a “Deferred” or “To Action” file to keep track of these items.


If you could delete, defer and delegate everything then there would be no need for you to have a job! Some things just need to be done and they need to be done by you.

Basically a task should be completed if:

  • The task is critical or important (Quadrant 1 and 2);

  • If the task is beneficial to achieving the overall goals/strategy of the team/organisation;

  • If you are the best person to complete it;

  • If it is beneficial for the team; or

  • If is an expectation/requirement of the job.

Stay tuned for the last blog in the Time Management series. In this, I will go through the ABC System for effective prioritising of your tasks.

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