Last night I shared a bottle of Chardonnay with my friend Jay, and he introduced me to a most significant concept: the third quadrant:
This little 2x2 matrix plots tasks we have to perform on two axis - importance, and urgency. In quadrant one we have important and urgent tasks, and we do these first. In quadrant two are tasks which are urgent but not important, and we do these next due to their urgency, even though they aren't important. "Busy" people tend to accumulate a lot of quadrant two tasks. That would be me. In quadrant four are tasks which are not important and not urgent, they are in fact optional, and often "fun". These are the tasks you do when you are procrastinating from doing... the tasks in quadrant three, which are important but not urgent. Because they aren't urgent we don't make time for them, and because they're important, they're "scary" and "hard" and not "fun". And the pitfall is that we often don't get to them at all. That would be me.
Realizing this doesn't necessarily help - after all, I'm blogging right now, a quadrant four task if ever there was one, despite having plenty of quadrant three tasks waiting for my attention - but it is a great concept. The main takeaway for me so far is that I must avoid quadrant two tasks to make time for quadrant three. I will of course continue to set some time aside for quadrant four tasks :)
PS amazingly and interestingly, this insight occurred at the 3rd Corner, how cool is that?