How much time is spent on the trivia? Are we deceiving ourselves?

Time Management

Working on the theory that if similar things come into your purview over a period of a few days then its something to take notice of this week’s business tips are looking at time management. As I’ve said in the past the only thing in time that can be managed is ‘me’ but some of us just aren’t very good at managing this particular aspect of ourselves and for others it’s a now and again thing but can catch us out.

And it links to last week’s tips because when we’re focused we’re very efficient and manage our time, or the ‘me’ in the time, very well. When we’re less focused or distracted we become less efficient and potentially the work done is not of the same quality, our highest standard. You may even have noticed that you spend more time reworking something when you weren’t truly focused on it in the first place.

In his book First Things First, Stephen Covey developed a quadrant that categorises activities into the important and urgent (quadrant of necessity), important and not urgent (quadrant of quality and personal leadership), not important and urgent (quadrant of deception) and not important or urgent (quadrant of waste). When we achieve little, with the same amount of time in the day, we’ve usually spent too much time in the quadrants of waste and deception. Just the same as when we are procrastinating. A harsh statement but if you’re like me you know that happens from time to time.

And what about the things which are total distractions and have no real value for example endless lists you belong to, trivia that someone else could do or really doesn’t need to be done at all?

So how can we avoid doing that?

  • Consider every task you’re about to do and ask which of the 4 quadrants it falls into…
  • How many of those emails, calls, meetings, reports are truly important and are they truly urgent? Can they be taken at another time?
  • How much focused time are you spending on important but not urgent things? This is where preparation, planning, and building relationships sits. As do all the activities around supporting you e.g. exercise, relaxation. These activities achieve growth in the business but are they being sacrificed for other things?
  • And what about the things which are total distractions and have no real value for example endless lists you belong to, trivia that someone else could do or really doesn’t need to be done at all? When we procrastinate we spend a lot of time in the quadrants of waste and deception.
  • And what of those tasks are deemed important and urgent? Some may be emergencies that can’t be truly planned for but if we take a step back have things become urgent because we were distracted from the activities that sit in the quadrant of quality?
I’m off to add the quadrants to my double priority action list…

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