The Time/Utility Matrix for Prioritizing What to Learn

Time Management
Knowledge Center

Best Practices

Sign up

Anneke Zwart
Student (University), Netherlands

The Time/Utility Matrix for Prioritizing What to Learn

Today’s world has plenty of learning opportunities available. Although learning is essential, the presence of so many learning options also makes it difficult to choose the right and most relevant material. Even more if we realize that we spend only a very small percentage of working time on knowledge development.

To help identify and select the right learning tools/materials/opportunities, Marc Zao-Sanders provides a useful tool for prioritizing the skills and knowledge to be learned and for deciding when you should do so. It is really a time management approach applied to learning and is called: Time-Utility Analysis. The model can be used on a personal basis, but also across teams, departments or entire organizations.


So, how does time-utility analysis work?
A time-utility analysis is similar to a cost-benefit analysis, where Cost vs. Benefits are replaced by Time vs. Utility. Time will be the time to learn the specific skill or information (displayed on the vertical axis); Utility represents the likelihood of using the desired skill (displayed on the horizontal axis). This results in four quadrants in a 2 x 2 matrix.
The following quadrants and learning advices are then the outcome:
  1. SCHEDULE THE TIME TO LEARN THE SKILL: Where both time and utility of learning the skill are high.
  2. DECIDE WHETHER YOU NEED TO LEARN IT: These are cases in which it costs a lot of time to learn the skill, while the utility is low. For this reason, it is important to think and probably reconsider the need to actually learn this specific skill.
  3. LEARN IT RIGHT AWAY: This represent the cases in which the utility of learning the skill is high, whereas the time to learn it is low.
  4. LEARN IT AS CHANCES ARISE: This is the outcome in case of low utility but also low time needed to learn the skill.
When Time-Utility analysis is used, you need to combine the analysis with your own opinions and experience. Imposing your own opinions and experience helps you to further narrow down the extensive list of learning opportunities.
I think in a time in which time for learning and knowledge development at work is so scarce, the tool described above is useful to prioritize learning needs.

You can use this approach just for yourself, or across a team, department, even your entire company. Since nowadays you don’t have much time to learn, you should learn to make the most of the time you have available.
Source: Zao-Sanders, M. (2017) “A 2x2 Matrix to Help You Prioritize the Skills to Learn Right Now”, HBR September 2017

  Oshun, Grace Okaima
Lecturer, Nigeria
 

On Nr. 2. Avoid Missed Opportunity

I have a problem with No. 2 which is, "Decide whet (...)

  Arunas Beksta
management consultant and trainer, Lithuania
 

Advice versus Explanation

I see this matrix as tool explaining one aspect of (...)

  Steven Cooke
 

Time Management for Planning Education

Interesting application of the Time Management mat (...)

  Alan
Student (University), China
 

What if we Consider Two Things

You use this matrix to describe the situation what (...)

  Prof Putr
Strategy Consultant, United States
 

Covey's Time Management Grid or the Eisenhower Box

While the 2x2 is sometimes called the "Harvard 2x2 (...)

  MUNI DAVE
Business Consultant, India
 

Develop an Attitude for Learning

The first question is how to develop an attitude, (...)

  Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands
 

So Much to Learn, but Limited Time Available

The "Time/Utility Matrix for Prioritizing What to (...)

  HARWINDAR SINGH
Business Consultant, Malaysia
 

Practicing Time Management

Given the 2x2 Zao Sanders Matrix (and other simila (...)

  srinivas
Lecturer, India
 

Time Management Applied to Learning

It is an interesting topic. If we consider a focus (...)

  KOEHL Maryse
Professor, France
 

Law of Illich

According to the Law of Pareto: 20% of the allocat (...)

  Steven Cooke
 

Time Management for Planning Education

The idea of a matrix for decision-making is very u (...)

  Steven Cooke
 

Time Constraints

@KOEHL Maryse: I agree that is the reason for a "t (...)

  Maurice Hogarth
Consultant, United Kingdom
 

Prioritising Learning

@HARWINDAR SINGH: I'm not sure I would consider al (...)

Participate and leave a comment
Exchanging your ideas stimulates your personal and professional development. And you can help other people! More info.

Start a new forum topic

 

More on Time Management
Summary
Forum
The Role of Subject Knowledge in Time Management
Dealing with Distractions
Why Time Management? Reasons and Benefits
How to Create Awareness for Time Management
🔥Practical Time Management for Managers (Shimkin)
Time Management Quotations / Quotes
How to Effectively Schedule Meetings with Attendants from Different Timezones?
Should Employees have more Sense of Urgency?
Success Conditions for Time Management
Best Practices
Personal Energy Management
Time Management Laws | Principles of Time Management
The Getting Things Done (GTD) Method (David Allen)
The Time/Utility Matrix for Prioritizing What to Learn
3 Steps and Tips to Say: No
Personal Time Management and the Pomodoro Technique
Basic Prioritization Skills Within the Work Environment are Lacking These Days
I Prefer Work Management: Managing to Work in the Available Time
The Ivy Lee Method: The Simplest Productivity Technique?
Time Management by Effective Delegation
Individual Differences in Applying Time Management Techniques
The 18 Minute Technique to Plan your Day
Group Time Management Excercise: Time Bandits
Consider a Virtual Management Assistant
Tips to Motivate Yourself for Boring Tasks, Untimed Tasks and Ones you don't Like
Special Interest Group

Are you interested in Time Management? Sign up for free

Notify your students

Copy this into your study materials:

and add a hyperlink to:

Link to this discussion

Copy this HTML code to your web site:

Time Management
Knowledge Center



About 12manage | Advertising | Link to us / Cite us | Privacy | Suggestions | Terms of Service
© 2021 12manage - The Executive Fast Track. V15.8 - Last updated: 17-6-2021. All names ™ of their owners.