This month, Jeff Van Fleet, Lighthouse’s President and CEO, is pondering effective ways to manage our time. Sure, it’s easy to make time for things that are important and urgent; but what about all those other things that are equally important, but not necessarily pressing?
|The activities in Quadrant 2 are not reactive. You only spend time here because you choose to.
This is where you make yourself better. It’s here where you choose to exercise, make a doctor’s appointment, take your spouse on a regular date, spend one-on-one time with each of your children, and tell your family every day that you love them.
Happy Springtime, everyone! It’s been raining a lot here in Ohio, but we have beautiful shades of green all around us. I hope you are doing well and allowing yourself the time to take a walk and enjoy the season.
This leads me into today’s topic. I want to go back to the Seven Habits of Highly Successful People and ponder Habit 3, “Put First Things First”. This is where Stephen Covey introduces us to the Time Management Matrix, which illustrates the four ways that we spend our time.
- Quadrant 1 (Urgent & Important) is pretty obvious because, frankly, most of us spend 90+% of our time here — the baby’s crying, there’s an employee relation issue, a client is upset about something, you’ve got a deadline to meet, or other pressing needs like that .
- Quadrant 3 (Urgent and Not Important) activities include things that “seem” to require immediate attention, but, in fact, really do not. Whether the phone is ringing, an email comes in, or a text pops up, we interrupt each day dozens of times to deal with these seemingly urgent matters. In reality, they really just distract us — therefore making us significantly less effective. If someone walks into my office and I am busy typing an email, I hold up a finger to let them know that I see them, but that I need to finish typing my thought. Most of the time, it only takes me an extra 30-45 seconds; but sometimes it takes several minutes, and whomever walked in realizes that I am busy and comes back later. It’s a balancing act to show them that while they are important, so is the matter at hand.
- Quadrant 4 (Not Urgent and Not Important) activities are really just time wasters. They do not offer much value to your day, and — if you allow them — they can easily consume you. It’s those Saturday mornings where you sit down in front of the TV for a second and before you know it, you realize it’s 11:30 and you’ve wasted away the entire morning.
- Quadrant 2 (Not Urgent, but Important) – I saved this one for last because this is where I see most everyone struggle. These are the activities that involve taking the time to “sharpen the saw”. It’s thinking, organizing, strategizing, and planning how to do things better. It’s envisioning the future and how you need to prepare yourself and your organization for what lies ahead. It’s here where you make a real difference as a leader.
The activities in Quadrant 2 are not reactive. You only spend time here because you choose to. This is where you make yourself better. It’s here where you choose to exercise, make a doctor’s appointment, take your spouse on a regular date, spend one-on-one time with each of your children, and tell your family every day that you love them. Here, you choose what’s important in your life. As you spend your valuable time in these activities, you will really start to move your life forward.
If this resonates with you, then I will ask you to make a commitment to me. Right now, before you do something else, pull out your calendar and allocate four consecutive hours to Quadrant 2 activities. Don’t worry about knowing what the activities are now — you will figure that out during those four hours. Once you complete that, I challenge you to do this twice per month. Schedule it and make it happen!! You’ll be amazed at the ideas that you create, and how the important aspects of your life come into perspective. You will quickly move from reactive to proactive, and life will get easier and much more fulfilling.
I’d really like to hear from you as you go through this process. As always, feel free to contact me anytime. I’m here to help.
Keep having fun,