Are you making time for what matters?

urgent important matrix

It’s so easy to get caught up in the demands of the moment, and before we know it, our time has been filled with tasks that are urgent but nowhere near all that important, especially to our life goals.

Think about the things that you really want to do, the things that would enrich your life exponentially, but you don’t have the time for.

Dwight D. Eisenhower invented the famous Eisenhower principle, which Steven Covey re-introduced as the Urgent/Important Matrix that most people are now familiar with.

Basically, we spend a great deal of time on urgent tasks, not leaving time for the important tasks. But it’s the important tasks that will help us develop, help us grow, and contribute to our happiness.

If you’re not familiar with this principle and exercise, or maybe you are but haven’t applied it, give it a go now and see if it helps.

Take a sheet of paper and section it into four.

Label each section with these Headings:
1. Urgent and Important
2. Important but not Urgent
3. Urgent but not Important
4. Not Urgent, not Important

Urgent and Important. These are necessary and you want to manage these.
Important but not Urgent. This is for your personal quality and growth, things you want to focus on.
Urgent but not Important. These can be deceptive so be careful here.
Not Urgent and not Important. These are time wasters and to be used only if you have time to waste.

So, let’s look at these and see how they would work in your everyday life.

Urgent and Important examples
 Paying bills
 Doing the work that pays the bills
 Home maintenance
You’re going to make time for these to make sure they get done because doing them is important, and doing them in a time-sensitive manner is vital. Make time for this and manage this time.

Important but not Urgent examples
 Going to school or taking courses
 Exercise
 Spending quality time with loved ones
These are the things that are vital to your growth, to your happiness, to you. Focus on these and make time for these. Schedule them as necessary, and make sure you make the time for these things. This quadrant is the first thing that should be scheduled in your calendar (except after your job).

Urgent but not Important examples
 Committees and extracurricular activities (maybe!)
 Friend’s crises (if a frequent occurrence)
 Family crises (if a frequent occurrence)
Basically, anything that happens a lot, or impacts someone else but you. This is a tricky area and will take some thought on your part. But if the person that it impacts is not you, then it may be urgent for someone else, and not that important to you. Should you turn your back on someone in need? No, not at all! But you will need to be careful with this time, especially if it’s something that happens frequently with a particular person. Just watch this area. And make sure you have dedicated the time for the other two areas above first, and guard that time.

Not Urgent, not Important examples
 Excessive tv watching
 Excessive gaming
 Time spent on other people’s dreams
This area is the time you spend on things that have no impact nor real contribution to your life. Watching your favourite tv shows can be considered ‘down’ time, and I don’t mean cutting it out completely. The same with time you spend playing games. But if there are things you want to do with your life and you’re not doing them, but you ARE spending huge amounts of time in front of the screen, then reconsider how you’re spending your time. You’re not going to do those things you WANT to do, if you don’t actually make the time to do them.

There’s much you work you can put into working out these quadrants and even more work into making sure you’re scheduling the right time for them, but this gives you the basic idea of how the Urgent/Important Matrix works.

Give it a try and see what it does for you.

As always, I’d love to hear how you do with this! Comment below, or send me an email if you’d like a bit of guidance with this.

Feature photo courtesy of Unsplash/Gaelle Marcel

Do your peeps rock?!?

Who do you love hanging out with the most?

I mean outside of your significant other and your kids, if this is your answer 😊 

(I LOVE hanging out with my family too, especially now that my kids have grown and moved out on their own!)

Outside of them, who do you love hanging out with?

What is it about them, that makes you love hanging out with them?

How do they make you feel?

I’m betting that if you love hanging out with them, they make you feel pretty special.  Right?  They make you feel smart, funny, entertaining, attractive, just naturally good!

Are there people in your life who drain you?  A friend you love dearly but you almost dread getting together with them? 

Continue reading “Do your peeps rock?!?”

Are you happy?

Three little words but such a big question!  And likely not one that can be easily answered with just a yes or a no.

Life is complicated, busy, messy, up and down, and anything but boring.

In one area of life we might be very happy; but in another area not so much!  Or not at all.

But overall, would you say you’re happy?

This past week I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about happiness.  What causes one to go back and forth between being happy and unhappy; can someone be happy in spite of the negative things going on in their world?  But an even bigger question than that – can we choose to be happy?

Continue reading “Are you happy?”

Fear outside of our comfort zone

I’ve been thinking a lot about being brave and stepping outside of one’s comfort zone this past week.

As I listen to others tell me what holds them back or trips them up as they’re trying to make positive changes in their lives, it’s interesting to observe how the mind can trick us.

We’re feeling fear but it’s disguised as something else.  Which means most of the time, we don’t even realize that it is fear stopping us from making any progress, or creating the changes we want in our lives.

Fear is AMAZING at hiding inside of our feelings, thoughts and behaviours.

Continue reading “Fear outside of our comfort zone”

How to know whose advice to take

I’m constantly reading a number of blog posts and print articles about how important it is to create a detailed plan of what you want to accomplish; after all, without a clearly defined plan, you won’t know what you’re striving for.

There’s a quote along this line that I love; “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there”, by Lewis Carroll.

The first time I heard that, it resonated deeply with me.  Yes, I’m a huge planner!

But I’ve also read posts about how it’s important to not have such rigid plans and go with the flow; let life take you where it’s supposed to take you, where you’re suppose to be, without interference.

So, what do you do?  Do you plan?  Do you not plan and just go with the flow?

Continue reading “How to know whose advice to take”