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The urgent / important matrix : Use your time effectively

The Urgent/Important Matrix

Using time effectively, not just efficiently

We’ve all been there: The project is due for today’s meeting and we are only three quarters done. We’re anxious, we can’t concentrate, everything is a distraction, and then, finally, we blow. Time stressors are the most pervasive source of pressure and stress in the workplace and they happen as a result of having too much to do in too little time.

With this kind of pressure all too common, effective time management is an absolute necessity. You probably use a day-planner and to-do list to manage your time. These tools are certainly helpful, but they don’t allow you to drill down to one of the most essential elements of good time management: distinguishing between what is important and what is urgent.

Great time management means being effective as well as efficient. Managing time effectively, and achieving the things that you want to achieve, means spending your time on things that are important and not just urgent. To do this, and to minimize the stress of having too many tight deadlines, you need to understand this distinction:

Important activities have an outcome that leads to the achievement of your goals.

Urgent activities demand immediate attention, and are often associated with the achievement of someone else’s goals.

Urgent activities are often the ones we concentrate on. These are the “squeaky wheels that get the grease.” They demand attention because the consequences of not dealing with them are immediate.

The Urgent/Important Matrix is a useful tool for thinking about this.

The idea of measuring and combining these two competing elements in a matrix has been attributed to both former US President Eisenhower and Dr Stephen Covey.

Eisenhower’s quote, “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important,” sums up the concept of the matrix perfectly. This so-called “Eisenhower Principle” is said to be how Eisenhower organized his tasks. As a result, the matrix is sometimes called the Eisenhower Matrix.

Covey brought the idea into the mainstream and gave it the name “The Urgent/Important Matrix” in his 1994 business classic, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”.

How to Use the Tool:

The Urgent/Important Matrix is a powerful way of thinking about priorities. Using it helps you overcome the natural tendency to focus on urgent activities, so that you can keep clear enough time to focus on what’s really important. This is the way you move from “firefighting”, into a position where you can grow your business and your career.

Here’s how it works:

The matrix can be drawn as shown in figure 1, with the dimensions of Importance and Urgency.

The steps below help you use the matrix to prioritize your activities:

The first step is to list all the activities and projects you feel you have to do. Try to include everything that takes up your time at work, however unimportant. (If you manage your time using an Action Program, you’ll have done this already.)

Next, assign importance to each of the activities – you can do this on, say, a scale of 1 to 5: remember, this is a measure of how important the activity is in helping you meet your goals and objectives. Try not to worry about urgency at this stage, as this helps get to the true importance.

Once you have assigned importance to each activity, evaluate the urgency of each activity. As you do this, you can plot the listed items on the matrix according to the assigned importance and urgency.

Now study the matrix using the strategies described below to schedule your priorities.

Strategies for Different Quadrants of the Matrix

Urgent and Important
There are two distinct types of urgent and important activities: Ones that you could not foresee, and others that you have left to the last minute.

You can avoid the latter by planning ahead and avoiding procrastination.

Issues and crises, on the other hand, cannot always be foreseen or avoided. Here, the best approach is to leave some time in your schedule to handle unexpected issues and unplanned important activities. And if a major crisis arises, some other activity may have to be rescheduled.

If this happens, identify which of you urgent-important activities could have been foreseen and think about how you could schedule similar activities ahead of time, so they do not become urgent.

Urgent and Not Important
Urgent but not important activities are things that stop you achieving your goals, and prevent you from completing your work. Ask yourself whether these tasks can be rescheduled, or whether someone else could do them.

A common source of such interruptions is from other people in your office. Sometimes it’s appropriate to say “No” to people, or encourage them to solve the problem themselves. Alternatively, try allocating time when you are available so that people only interrupt you at certain times (a good way of doing this is to schedule a regular meeting so that all issues can be dealt with at the same time.) By doing this, you’ll be able to concentrate on your important activities for longer periods of time.

Not Urgent, but Important
These are the activities that help you achieve your personal and professional goals, and complete important work. Make sure that you have plenty of time to do these things properly, so that they do not become urgent. And remember to leave enough time in your schedule to deal with unforeseen problems. This will maximize your chances of keeping on schedule, and help you avoid the stress of work becoming more urgent that necessary.

Not Urgent and Not Important
These activities are just a distraction, and should be avoided if possible. Some can simply be ignored. Others are activities that other people may want you to do, but they do not contribute to your own desired outcomes. Again, say “No” politely and firmly if you can.

If people see you are clear about your objectives and boundaries, they will often not ask you to do “not important” activities in the future.



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Tips on How to face an Interview!


Tips on How to face an Interview!


Author : Exforsys Inc.     Published on: 3rd Sep 2004    |   Last Updated on: 14th Mar 2011

Author: Kamal,BangaloreFreshers.

A JOB interview can be a nerve-wracking experience if you are not prepared and lack self-confidence. We present a few tips that will help you to brush up on your interview skills and come out as a winner from your next interview!

1. Plan to arrive 10 minutes early. This will give you ample time to catch your breath, gather your thoughts and make a quick trip to the washroom to give your appearance one final check. To avoid unnecessary stress, choose your interview attire the night before.
2. Greet the interviewer by his or her last name. If you are unsure of the pronunciation, do ask the employer to repeat it. Or better still, check it with the front desk personnel or receptionist before walking into the interview room.
3. Let the interviewer lead the conversation but try to get him/her to describe the position and duties to you early in the interview. This will allow you to apply your background, skills and achievements to the position.
4. When asked: “Tell me about yourself?”, focus your answers on your background and a few professional and personal accomplishments.
5. Stress on your achievements. For example: your sales records, the processes you have developed or systems installed, projects that you initiated, etc.
6. Show enthusiasm. This can be demonstrated through verbal and non-verbal cues (for example, appropriate body language like nodding can be used to support your interest). Enthusiastic feedback can enhance your chances of being further considered.
7. Answer questions by speaking in terms of the position. Emphasise what you can do for the company. Mention specific accomplishments that show your abilities and determination to succeed in this job. Your answers describe the position and duties to you early in the interview. This will allow you to apply your background, skills and achievements to the position. should tell the employer why you would be an asset to the company and not why you need a job.
8. Bring an extra copy of your resume.
9. Explain whenever possible; don’t answer with a simple “yes” or “no.”

Be prepared to answer questions such as:

* Tell me about yourself.
* Tell me about your background and accomplishments.
* What are your strengths? Weaknesses?
* How would you describe your most recent job performance?
* What interests you about our company?

Also, be prepared to ask questions such as:

* What would I be expected to accomplish in this position?
* What are the greatest challenges in this position?
* How do you think I fit the position?

Remember, your lack of questions may be mistaken as lack of interest in the job.


If you are interested in the position, stress this to the interviewer. If you get the impression that the interview is not going well and that you have already been rejected, do not let your discouragement show. Once in a while an interviewer who is genuinely interested in you may seem to discourage you as a way of testing your reaction. Remember to thank the interviewer for his/her time and end the session with a confident and firm handshake.

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Posting of Staff at ZIETs

Positng of PGTs, HM and Librarian in ZIETs of KVS

Announcement and Application form

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How to be polite?

Article of the Week

How to be polite?

Be gentle, not forceful or insistent. This doesn’t mean you need to act like a meek, quiet pushover. It means that when you do something, offer something, or make a request, you do it without pressuring the people around you and making them feel like they’re being pushed into a corner. If you’re having a conversation, it’s one thing to ask a question or offer your opinion, but it’s rude to push the matter when someone has expressed discomfort (verbally or non-verbally) about the subject. Even if you’re trying to help, like offering to pay for lunch or wash the dishes, don’t be too insistent. If the person says “No, thank you, I’ve got it” then say “Please, I’d really love to help.” If they still say no, then let it go. They obviously want to treat you, so let them, and return the favor some other time.

When in doubt, observe others. How are they greeting and addressing each other? What are they doing with their coats? What kinds of topics are they discussing? Different settings require different standards of formality, and those standards often define what is polite and what is not. A work-related dinner, and holiday gathering, a wedding, and a funeral will all demand a different tone.

Be nice. Treat everyone the same way, even if you are not fond of them. Never make any enemies. Always be courteous, you might meet this person again in another setting and wouldn’t want to have caused negative memories that would give you a bad standing. If someone annoys or even insults you, don’t get into an argument. Say “Let’s agree to disagree” and change the subject, or simply excuse yourself from the conversation.

Start a conversation by asking questions about the other person. Try not to talk about yourself too much. Be confident and charming. Do not hog the conversation, that is arrogant. Look interested and listen to the answers. Don’t look over the person’s shoulder or around the room when he/she is talking. That implies you are distracted or not interested, i.e. he/she is not important to you.

Be honest. It is always much worse to be caught in a lie than to tell the truth.

Shake hands firmly and look your acquaintance in the eye. You might want to practice this a bit so you don’t squish people’s hands, depending on how strong you are. That would make them feel uncomfortable. Beware especially when shaking hands of women who are wearing rings. Too much pressure can be very painful.
Remember too that many people with an “old-school” etiquette background (especially if you are inEurope) find it inappropriate to offer your hand for a handshake to a lady or an older gentleman if you are a gentleman, or to an older lady, if you are a lady. Always greet the other person first, but wait for them to extend their hand. On the other hand, if you are the older person/lady, keep in mind that if you do not extend your hand, the other person may feel rejected, as he/she is not permitted to shake your hand. Usually this situation only takes half a second in checking whether the other person is moving towards you for a handshake. Be alert.Do not approach someone with an already outstretched hand. That is pushy. If you want someone to know you are moving towards them, establish a firm eye contact and smile, maybe opening your arms a little (bent at the elbow) to make a welcoming gesture.

Know the proper dinner etiquette. For silverware, go from the outside, in. And put your napkin on your lap, and do not add anything to the table that was not there when you got there (cell phone, glasses, jewelry). Put your purse between your feet, under your chair. Women should not apply makeup at the table. It is rude and demonstrates a lack of refinement. If you want to fix your makeup or check if something is in your teeth, go to the restroom.

Have a laugh which shows you are having fun, without being loud. Loudness either indicates arrogance or insecurity. A charming polite person makes another person feel good. Keep this goal in mind, be considerate of other people’s needs and opinions. Don’t make derogatory remarks towards any kind of ethnic, political or religious groups under any circumstances.9

Be graceful and show elegance. Carry yourself smoothly, with a sense of calm, yet involved in the moment. People will notice this subtle charm and this will help you greatly.

Be aware that etiquette and manners vary depending on the cultural region you are in…be sure to study the local customs before you travel!

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How To Become Smarter

We all are inherited with a smart mind. But improving it a step forward towards a smarter mind is what we have to work on. For a mind not kept active will become less alert and lose its brilliance and intelligence in due course of time. Just like a broken arm, when freed from the sling after a couple of weeks, takes time to get back to its original functionality, the same is the case with your brain. The kind of exercise you provide to your physical body, your mind demands the same implementation and training. When left aside and idle for a while, your brain tends to become inactive and less energetic. Thus, to become smarter than the smart and the smartest, you have to pep up your mind in the right route. After all, it’s not the same as wearing the best clothes or portraying a know-it-all kind of image. Find tips on how to become a smarter person by glancing through the tips listed herein.


How To Get Smarter


Exercise Your Brain

Just like you workout to build and strengthen your muscles, your brain, too, requires proper exercises to sharpen itself. Often, it is assumed to be a useless body part, but this is not true. As such, whenever you are engaging yourself in some activities, you are exercising your brain. Consider practicing activities, such as puzzles, crafts, reading, painting, gardening, and other recreational activities that will refresh and rejuvenate you and your mind, in particular.


Read Quality Books

Most of us love reading. But we often end up reading fiction, suspense, or romantic books. However, these books do not mentally stimulate us. So, if you really want to improve your thinking and writing skills, pick up books that force you to really focus. Read a classic novel that changes your perspective towards this world and exposes you to precise, elegant English. Do not feel shy to pick up new words and find their meanings. This, in turn, will make you smarter with a more comprehensive vocabulary. Make reading fun as well as useful.


Avoid The Idiot Box

What do we do after a long tiring working day? Pick up a bag of chips and a can of cola only to land up in front of the television. Though there is no problem with refreshing yourself while watching a reality or a talk show, it doesn’t really put your mental capacity into use. Further, watching television continuously does not relax you, instead, it exhausts you. Hence, pick up a book or magazine when you want to relax. Or, switch off the idiot box when you have friends or acquaintances around and indulge in a conversation instead.


Learn A Foreign Language

Researches indicate that learning an unknown foreign language boosts brain power. Quite smart, indeed, right! Learning and understanding the foreign culture through the language induces your brain to implement its muscles.


Identify Your Qualities

All of us have had our share of several idols and dream jobs during childhood. A scientist, a social worker, an airhostess, a 40-wheel lorry driver, an astronaut, or even a rock star! But, in reality, how many of us are really able to convert our childhood dreams into a reality? Probably, just one out of hundred. That’s because to move onto their paths, we need to understand the values, commitment, and endless efforts to meet the requirements and achieve our goals. However, this should not be mixed with our idols. For if we try to imitate our idols, we will only land up making a fool out of ourselves and not creating a niche amongst the rest. Hence, it is important to identify your qualities and be yourself rather than being others.


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Creative New Year 2014

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Happy New Year 2014

National Book Week, 14-20, Nov.2013

Happy Book Week , My dear Readers !!! Expand your horizon of knoweledge via books........all through.......always....all ways

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World Book DayNovember 20th, 2013
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