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No time? Try this.

Feel like there’s not enough time in the day? Stephen Covey outlines four quadrants into which all activities fall.

Those quadrants are:

1.Important and urgent

2.Important and not urgent

3.Not important but urgent

4.Not important and not urgent

The first quadrant, important and urgent tasks, are pretty easy to identify. For example, if there is an ambulance involved, you know you have a quadrant one activity. Other crisis situations and projects with deadlines are also examples. Typically, if you don’t do these activities, bad things happen. The second quadrant includes actions that are important but not urgent. Networking and relationship building activities fall into this quadrant as do creative undertakings such as planning or strategizing. These activities may not be urgent now, but left undone, consequences will surface causing quadrant one events. In our personal lives for example, we know that exercising regularly is important. Unfortunately, as long as we’re in good health, it may stay in quadrant two. Chest pains however, will propel exercise out of this quadrant and into quadrant one. In a not so dramatic case, not nurturing relationships will eventually lead to no sales. No sales will quickly create some quadrant one activities. The next quadrant contains activities that are not important but feel urgent. Did you hear that “ding” indicating a new message is available on your smart phone? While there is a chance that the message is urgent, chances are it can wait. We are conditioned to accommodating interruptions and it’s a hard habit to break. Put some of the meetings we attend into this group as well. The final quandrant, quadrant four, contains all those activities that are not important and are not urgent. Can you say Xbox? Time wasters come disguised as seemingly important tasks but unless you really cannot see your desk top, it probably doesn’t need reorganized. While a daunting thought, track everything you do during the course of a day, placing the activity in the appropriate quadrant. We recommend this exercise to our High Impact2 clients. Like keeping a food diary, completing this experience will be enlightening. Once you realize where your time is going, you can take action to reclaim more of it.

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