The place to be

By johannatime On January 31, 2013 Under Productivity vs Procrastination

‘The most important things are often not urgent, and many urgent things are not very important’ Dwight D. Eisenhower used to say. Reality to many is even more tragic: Numerous people are so busy doing the urgent, that they cannot step back and manage the important. Let’s have a look at Eisenhower’s model:

The top two quadrants represent all tasks and activities that are important to you. These are about things that matter. The left two quadrants represent everything urgent: It needs to be done now or it’ll be too late. Quadrant III represents unimportant urgent distractions and irrelevant time wasters sit in quadrant IV: When spending time on activities in the bottom two quadrants, there will probably be that little voice saying ‘you should be doing something else’.

So let’s look at quadrant I and II, the important stuff. In short: if you don’t prioritise activities in quadrant II (important, not urgent), chances are that they’ll end up in quadrant I at some stage, and become a crisis, because leaving something important to the last possible moment is quite a risk. In crisis, things cost you a lot more time and you compromise the quality of your work, so whatever happens: your focus should be on those things that are important and not (yet) urgent.

Quadrant II represents strategic stuff according to your life purpose, vision and goals, so consider this the place to be for your focused attention. You’ll probably feel most satisfied and in flow when you are working towards these goals, like drafting a plan, doing research, developing your brand, expanding your network and investing in relationships.

Let me give you a personal example: For me, moving from Rotterdam and merging into Canberra, my new home, finding my niche, making new (professional) friends and knowing what is happening, is a typical quadrant II priority. Important and not very urgent: I could always do it next week. And that is exactly what would happen if I’d just give way to less important but more urgent things: Many times I agreed on having an after work drink just because I was too overwhelmed by e-mails and commitments that I didn’t know what else to do (irrelevant time waster). And just as many other evenings I decided to stay in the office to finish some more ‘busy’ work (distraction).

Yet having a drink and a chat may very well be the place to be, and so it is to many, I discovered when I attended the January Schmooze event at the National Press Club of Australia yesterday evening.  Schmooze is a diverse mix of professionals who get together for various networking activities, like having a drink and a chat. Nothing urgent, but appearantly so important, that there are hundreds of them dedicating time and effort to being part of this tribe. This is not just a social drinking club. Members are aware it is about buisiness and therefore it is a great place to sharpen your pitch. And Schmooze’s got style: The events are held at quality venues and exciting nibbles are served. Etiquette is applied and by doing so we implicitly say: I value your presence and appreciate your company.

Quadrant II full stop. And so enjoyable when consciously considered a priority cheered by the little voice in the back of my head saying ‘this is the place to be at this moment’.

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    2 Comments Add yours

    1. Peter Blasch
      March 5, 2013
      11:29 pm #comment-1

      I enjoyed your review of the Schmooze and the importance of knowing where you need to be and enjoying your time in Quadrant 2. As you said, it is about following your Vision, Goals and Purpose. This has always been my experience with Schmooze. Thanks for sharing your insights.



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