Table 1

Covey's Time Management Matrix Technique (TMMT) for physicians

ImportantLess important*
UrgentIIII
  • ▸ Page concerning patient with chest pain

  • ▸ Grant submission due in 48 h

  • ▸ National meeting presentation due in 3 days

  • ▸ Upcoming annual meeting with chief to review goals and responsibilities

  • ▸ Routine patient phone calls

  • ▸ Immediate patient billing

  • ▸ Routine medication refills

  • ▸ Complete trainee evaluation forms

  • ▸ Interview medical school candidates

Less urgent*IIIV
  • ▸ Grant submission due in 3–6 months

  • ▸ New innovative educational curriculum

  • ▸ Write review article

  • ▸ Document patient encounters in EMR

  • ▸ Committee chairperson to prepare agenda for upcoming meeting

  • ▸ Planning new clinical quality improvement initiative

  • ▸ Review long-term career goals

  • ▸ Email

  • ▸ Non-urgent letters of recommendation

  • ▸ Routine paperwork

  • ▸ Routine committee meeting

  • *The definition of which activities are less important or less urgent varies by the physician's job description, and academic and administrative necessity, as well as local institutional forces.

  • EMR, electronic medical record.