Striving to be in Q2
One of the few books I’ve ever re-read is The 7Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen R. Covey. Each time I read it I’m reminded of a few important principles which, if I’m smart enough to apply them faithfully, help keep me on track.
The 7 Habits is not a how-to book for wealth. Rather, it’s a guide for learning how to remain true to our highest values; things like family, service to others, integrity, and optimal health.
An extremely useful tool presented by Covey in the book is a time management matrix (see below*). While a matrix can seem terribly academic, in this case it presents us with a simple way of assessing our daily activities so that we can begin to make choices for where our time might be most wisely spent.
Here’s a simplified explanation of the matrix:
Q1 (Important/Urgent): Represents those situations which typically have deadlines. Our professional work would be a good example of time spent in this quadrant.
Q2 (Important/Not Urgent): Would be activities where we focus on personal development (our health, relationship building, planning for the future, etc.).
Q3 (Not Important/Urgent): The near constant supply of daily interruptions would fall into this category. Some of these we have control over, some we don’t.
Q4 (Not Urgent/Not Important): Busy work, checking our devices, trivial stuff mostly.
With many shiny objects competing for our attention, we can easily get sucked into activities which are neither important nor urgent.
They may help to relieve some tension, but do little to advance our progress on achieving important goals like being physically active and eating well, for example.
So how do we move from a reactive mentality to one which is truly proactive, where we choose activities which will serve us best in the long run?
By being clear on what it is we seek, i.e., “what are my highest values?”
And by pausing often to reflect on whether or not my current actions are consistent with what I cherish most (my highest values).
Hope to see you more in quadrant 2. That’s where I’m striving to be.
Have a great week!
*If you were unable to see the matrix above, you can also access one of many adaptations of Covey’s matrix at the following link: https://czartodotcom.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/time-quadrants1.png