Who runs your life? That is what’s on my mind right now. Is it you? Is it a spouse? Sibling? Friend? God? I feel like there are many possible answers to that question depending on who is reading this. There’s a familiar quote that I’ll probably mess up but I think it goes “Are you running your life or is your life running you?” I’m not a new age type of person – like Oprah and many people in our world I don’t really believe that “we create our own destiny”. I believe that we choose our own happiness and make our own choices but to me God controls our destiny not us, but that’s another discussion for another time.
What takes up your time? Is it your friends? Your family? Television? Books? Transportation? Volunteering? School? Sports? I think how we choose to spend our time says a lot about who we are as people. This past week I’ve felt very challenged to think about how I’m spending my time, probably because I’ve been feeling like I don’t have enough of it. I think a lot of the time, I can spend my time doing things that aren’t really necessary. Sometimes time management can be a hard thing to figure out, and lately I feel like time has been kicking my butt! I took a management class years ago on effectively prioritizing your time. It encouraged us to divide our time up into Covey’s four quadrants in order to learn how to prioritize effectively. It looks like this picture below.
- The purpose of this quadrant is to do the following. In Quadrant 1 (top left) we have important, urgent items – items that need to be dealt with immediately.
- In Quadrant 2 (top right) we have important, but not urgent items – items that are important but do not require your immediate attention, and need to be planned for. This quadrant is highlighted because Covey emphasizes this is the quadrant that we should focus on for long term achievement of goals
- In Quadrant 3 (bottom left) we have urgent, but unimportant items – items which should be minimized or eliminated. These are the time sucks, the “poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part” variety of tasks.
- In Quadrant 4 (bottom right) we have unimportant and also not urgent items – items that don’t have to be done anytime soon, perhaps add little to no value and also should be minimized or eliminated. These are often trivial time wasters.
Life has been so crazy lately that I’ve decided to bring back the time quadrant approach to see if my productivity will increase and stress will decrease. I used to use this in management a lot and it was super helpful, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed and like you don’t have enough time, try to quadrant your tasks!