We have lots of pressures on our time these days. Now more than ever it is imperative to prioritise things. You simply can’t do it all, but you can do all the things that are important to you. The only way you can make the time for the important things is to eliminate the time-wasters.
A simple model that illustrates how to do this very well is Stephen Coveys Time Management Matrix from “7 Habits of Highly Effective People:” (p.151).
If you were to draw up the grid as above and write all the things that you do within a 24 hour period, putting things in their category you would see how much time you spend in each quadrant.
Write an approximate time percentage in the corner of each quadrant. (Sleep fits in Quadrant II, Important / Not urgent)
If you are spending a lot of time in Quad I you are likely to be stressed and feel like you’re always in crisis management. Time in Quad’s III and IV results in a short term focus, feeling out of control or victimized by life and dependent on others.
Quad II is the magic quadrant, this is where you should be aiming to spend most of your time. When you do things that are importantbefore they become urgent, you are showing discipline and vision and most likely feel calm, balanced and in control.
The temptation to fall out of quadrant II comes with that internal voice that says “I’ll do it tomorrow. It will be fine” so if you catch yourself ever saying that about something that is important then change your focus and realize that it is through controlling your impulses and sticking to your strategy and vision that success is achieved.
If you leave those important things long enough then they move across into the important / urgent category and become big crises that have to be dealt with immediately. The old saying “a stitch in time saves nine”, certainly sums this up.
So think now:
Is there anything in your life that is important that you have been putting off doing?
Is there anything that you currently spend time doing that is not really important?
How much better would you feel if that important thing was already done?
How important is it to your peace of mind to get started today?
Every day, with every activity ask yourself: “Is this important? Does this further my vision?”
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