Author’s Time Management Matrix:
Quadrant I | Quadrant II
Urgent and Important | Not Urgent and Important
Quadrant III | Quadrant IV
Urgent and Not Important | Not Urgent and Not Important
“There are other people who spend a great deal of time in ‘urgent, but not important’, Quadrant III, thinking they’re in Quadrant I. The spend most of their time reacting to things that are urgent, assuming they are also important. But the reality is that the urgency of these matters is often based on the priorities and expectations of others.
People who spend time almost exclusively in Quadrants III (e.g., popular activities, interruptions, and IV (e.g., trivia, busy work, time wasters) basically lead irresponsible lives.
Effective people stay out of Quadrants III and IV because, urgent or not, they aren’t important. They also shrink Quadrant I down to size by spending more time in Quadrant II.
Quadrant II is the heart of effective personal management. It deals with things that are not urgent, but are important. It deals with things like building relationships, writing a personal mission statement, long-range planning, exercising, preventive maintenance, preparation—all those things we know we need to do, but somehow seldom get around to doing, because they aren’t urgent.
To paraphrase Peter Drucker, effective people are not problem-minded; they’re opportunity-minded. They feed opportunities and starve problems. They think preventively.
Whether you are a student at the university, a worker in an assembly line, a homemaker, fashion designer, or president of a company, I believe that if you were to ask what lies in Quadrant II and cultivate the proactivity to go after it, you would find the same results. Your effectiveness would increase dramatically. Your crises and problems would shrink to manageable proportions because you would be thinking ahead, working on the roots, doing the preventive things that keep situation from developing in crises in the first place. In time management jargon, this is called the Pareto Principle—80 percent of the results flow out of 20 percent of the activities.”
What I find most disturbing is the lack of action by local government agencies boards, and I would classify their behavior as residing in Quadrant’s III and IV. Busywork/talk, and the grandstanding that takes place. The local Commission On Aging has one person in particular who loves to “promote themselves” through trivia, unrelated to subjects, the Commission is supposed to be discussing.
I’ve only had one experience where the chairperson kept the group on task/focus, although some in the group are too long-winded. It does explain, to some degree, why some good people decide to sit on the sidelines, probably to focus on Quadrant II.
Next: Habit 3
Put First Things First,
Principles Of Personal Management
What It Takes To Say “NO”