Busy, busy, busy! You get to the end of your day, worn out, exhausted and dissatisfied because you do not feel that anything of significance has been achieved despite all your hard work!
A simple matrix, often referred to as the time management tool, could transform your life! The deep feeling of dissatisfaction you experience at the end of a busy day stems from the fact that your life has become mindlessly task driven rather than one that is guided by the priorities that are aligned with your core sense of personal or professional purpose. I have shared it so often with my coaching clients to dramatic results.
Overwhelmed by a daily to-do list that gets you no closer to your goals?
Try categorising the things on your list into the four quadrants of the grid below:
If Quadrant 1 or Quadrant 3 are full to bursting, then you are in serious trouble! You are likely to be leaving too many important but not urgent things to the last moment. They then become crises. Once this happens they can no longer be ignored but tend to be done badly.
So, the big lesson is to give priority to the strategic.
Doing so will help you to clarify what is important and urgent and needs doing now, making way for what is important but non-urgent.
The rest can be delegated or dumped!
Created by Stephen Covey this grid is about so much more than just organising your time better. Covey, was a master coach and educator, made famous by his book, 'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People'. His influence has become ubiquitous through quotes that have become part of popular culture:
“Begin with the end in mind.”
“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
“If we keep doing what we are doing we will keep getting what we’re getting.”
He was passionate about leadership, personal leadership in everyday life and leadership in organisations. Being able to lead well starts with how effectively you lead and manage yourself.
His basic message was, know what you value, decide what you want in relation to what you value, plan to achieve what you want, follow your plan, adapting it to changing circumstances without becoming distracted or losing sight of what is important!
Both experience and research tells us that we find it very hard to motivate ourselves or others if we become trapped in a cycle of 'doing' that is not connected to what we value. We can do this for so long that we lose sight who we are and what we value losing credibility with ourselves first and then with those we hope to influence.
So managing your time better and getting better results is first about knowing what you want and having the courage to say NO to the things that distract you or drain your energy. I have shared this so often with my coaching clients with dramatic results.
Old habits are mapped into our brain’s neural networks, and it can take time to build new ones. Having a tried and tested tool to support you can help create new ways of being that lead to better results.
The biggest danger is to fall into and remain in The Quadrant of Deception. You may look busy you may even be rewarded for this behaviour but you know deep down that there is a yawning gulf between your actions and the quality of the results!
Covey’s diagram below says it all nicely without further comment.
Let me know if you use this tool and it helps!