Juggling work, errands, family, friends and any other responsibilities, leaves approximately negative time to waste.
So it makes sense to be efficient.
You’ll be more productive by being effective.
The chart below is out of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephan Covey
Quad 1, Urgent and Important: The crises. These are the deadlines at work, a flat tire, Johnny fell down the well, Adele tickets just went on sale, etc. Matters that are important and demand our attention immediately. Some we can plan for, others we can not. Regardless, they are our top priority.
Quad 2, Non-urgent and Important: Prevention and New Opportunities. This includes time with family and friends, the gym, meal prep, etc. Things you know should get done, but can easily be pushed to the back burner.
Quad 3, Urgent and Not Important: The interruptions. The alerts on your phone, as well as most emails and meetings. These intrusions want your attention… RIGHT. NOW. Something needs to be resolved or responded instantly, whether it takes a split second or a couple hours. It might not be the most serious matter, but somehow it jumped to the top of the to-do list… generally because other people are waiting/nagging for a response.
Quad 4, Non-urgent and Not Important: The distractions and time wasters. Addicting social media sites, videos games, TV shows, and almost anything that comes in an app form.
So… if you don’t have a lot of time, what should you focus on?? Quad 1
And next? Quad 2.
But is it? You can get so lost in Quad 1 that you burn out and jump to Quad 4, just to shut your brain off for a bit. And how long can you restrain yourself from checking your phone when an alert goes off (Quad 3)? It’s feels so good to check things off your to-do list (being efficient), but you feel like you’re stuck on the hamster wheel. This is why it’s important to sit with Covey’s quote:
“Don’t prioritize your schedule, schedule your priorities”
Quad 2 is area where we can get ahead in life. You can build systems, such as making healthy meals and going to bed at a decent hour, so that you have energy throughout the day. Developing supportive relationships with help you feel less anxious and more inspired. Setting a goal and creating steps to achieve it will increase your drive. You will be more effective.
So how do you make time for Quad 2?
End the bottomless and random to-do lists. Organize your list into these quadrants. Pick 1 MUST-DO activity from Quad 2 and add it to Quad 1 everyday. Whether it’s studying for another certification to further your career, messaging an old friend, doing some push ups or creating art. Make sure to spend more of your time focused on these two quads.
Time is precious. Do more than just put out fires or collect Pokemon. Set goals, work towards your dreams and build meaningful relationships. Deal with the important matters that demand your immediate attention, and then schedule time for the other important factors in your life.