You’re probably familiar with Stephen Covey’s four quadrants of time management. We tend to spend way too much time with things that are urgent and NOT important (Quadrant 3) and not enough time with things that are important but urgent (Quadrant 4). This is a real problem because this behavior becomes a drag on our productivity.
Have you ever come home from work after a day of putting out fire after fire? You’re completely exhausted but wonder what in the world you actually did all day. Days like that are draining and make you feel empty. They also never get you any closer to your actual goals.
On the other hand, when you accomplish an important goal that day and it energizes you, you feel like you’ve accomplished something. You feel more fulfilled.
Why Do We Get Sucked in by Quadrant 3?
I think there are a variety of reasons we spend most of our time doing urgent stuff that’s not really important:
- The natural response to an urgent event is to address it immediately and drop anything else we’re doing. It’s the “easiest” thing to do. Doing anything else requires thought and discipline.
- We don’t like to say “no.” It’s easier and more pleasant to just say “yes.” If we want to avoid spending time in Quadrant 3 and spend more time with what’s actually important, we have to say “no” to certain things that are frankly not that important.
- It’s easier to do an urgent item than an important item. Urgent items are usually easier to do and don’t take that much time. On the other hand, important items tend to push us outside our comfort zone and take time to complete. We want things done NOW, and we don’t want to try too hard to get them.
This is why, like bugs to a fly zapper, we’re drawn to urgent tasks. Let’s see what we can do about it.
What I’m about to present to you is a combination of things I’ve gleaned from other people and adapted. I hope they will help you become more productive and achieve your goals.
So here, without further ado, are my 7 Tips to Help You Boost Your Productivity.