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Working In Quadrant Two—The Key To Personal Progress


Quadrant 2: Quadrant of Leadership, Prevention, Planning, and Improvement

Quadrant One

Quadrant Two

Quadrant Three

Quadrant Four


Quadrant Two of the Time Matrix gives you the best opportunity to make a strong impact. In Quadrant Two, you are working on important tasks that aren’t urgent. Working on things that are important to you but not urgent means you have time to finesse your work. You can edit your paper one last time. You can take the time you need to talk to your daughter and really listen. You can consider all of your investment options. You can take time to strengthen your skillset without falling behind in your work.

None of us is able to work solely from Quadrant Two all the time. Emergencies, interruptions, and time wasters are part of life, but there are things you can do to ground yourself in Quadrant Two for a more proactive and productive life. The secret is surprisingly simple, but it requires consistent practice.

Plan Daily. Proper planning is the key to managing your urgent and important tasks, while staying focused on your big-picture goals. Planning daily allows you to prioritize your urgent tasks and complete them before they bury you. Plus, it gives you time to schedule your important tasks before they become urgent. Daily planning only takes a few minutes, but it can save you hours of indecision and waste. When you plan each day, do the following:

  1. Select an environment free from distraction.
  2. Review your values and goals.
  3. Review your prior day’s Daily Task List for any incomplete activities.
  4. Review you prior day’s Daily Record of Events page, or Notes page.
  5. Review today’s prescheduled events and appointments.
  6. Review your Master Task List for specific activities related to your goals that you can work on today.
  7. Write appropriate activities in the Daily Task List based on the amount of time you believe you’ll have to devote to them.
  8. Update your daily schedule from your Monthly Calendar
  9. Review your schedules for the next couple of days to determine what you need to prepare.
  10. Prioritize the activities in your Daily Task List (A, B, C):

A = Vital (must be done)
B = Important (should be done)
C = Optional (could be done)

Remember that there is a difference between vital and urgent. There are a lot of things that seem urgent, but they aren’t vital. Analyze your vital tasks and number them in the order that you intend to complete them A1, A2, A3, etc. Do the same with your B and C tasks. Start working on A1.

Plan Weekly. If you only plan daily, you may risk limiting your vision to the things that are right in front of you. Daily planning focuses well on the now, but you need to maintain the larger perspective. Weekly planning is a prime opportunity to look forward and backward. This is when you assess your goals and determine your next steps. Weekly planning is the ideal time to gauge the importance of each activity you’re working on in the context of principles, your personal mission, the varied roles you play, and your long-term dreams.

This assessment can help you feel better balanced. Keeping the whole picture in mind, including each of your daily roles, can keep you from overscheduling your time and feeling frustrated by the deadlines you set for yourself. When we feel overwhelmed, we often retreat to Quadrant Four, and that’s just a waste of valuable time.

As you plan weekly and daily, with an emphasis on your roles and goals, you’ll maintain your ability to produce quality goods, services, and relationships. This is the key to functioning well and directing your life with a Quadrant Two mindset. Emergencies will still arise and challenges will test your strength, but operating from a Quadrant Two mindset, with consistent planning for today and into the future, will allow you to face your challenges without compromising what matters most.

For more information about overcoming time wasters, click here

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