Have your commitments “eclipsed” your bandwidth?

As I start the day on April 8, 2024, several issues permeate the news. The first is the victory of the South Carolina Gamecocks in the Women’s Basketball National Championship over Iowa and Caitlin Clark. A second is this evening’s National Championship game for men between the Huskies of UConn and Purdue. The third item is the pending solar eclipse that will achieve 100% status across much of the United States. Living in Franklin, TN, we are poised to be in the 85% range (if the clouds allow us to confirm this) but a short drive of 2-3 hours would allow me to see this in totality if I wished.

My post for today deals with the fact that many of you reading this continue to eclipse or exceed your time available with tasks that are of little value or that are being completed at a time before or after their best value. I know that I often get caught up in “busyness” rather than business and this can take a toll in physical and mental ways.

The image just prior to this line is one I have used, or tried to use, throughout my career to spend my time in the right places. I first learned of this from reading works by Stephen Covey over 30 years ago and they are just as valuable and impactful today.

The X-axis shows urgency versus non-urgency and the Y-axis shows importance versus non-importance. If you are able to organize your possible assignments into these four quadrants it will help you understand what you need to focus on now versus what can wait. Let me share a little more details.

Quadrant I shows things that are urgent and important. These could be crises, personal problems or other emergencies that require immediate attention, especially when life is in the balance.

Quadrant II shows things that are important, but not urgent. This may involve planning or preparation for some future event that may occur at a future date. Exercise is also in this quadrant, but I would posit that exercise could just as easily go into Quadrant I.

Quadrant III shows things that are urgent but not important. This might be something that is important to someone else, but of lesser importance to you. Many times the items in this quadrant are of greater value to those outside of your immediate span or personal space and that is what may create the urgency.

Quadrant IV lists things that are neither urgent nor important. Checking email can often be in this area and watching television often also falls into this box. There are times that we need to spend time in this area just to give our minds a release from the constant drain we often incur.

Urgent-Not Urgent; Important-Not Important; if you can take time to categorize your challenges and tasks in this manner it will go a long way in helping you spend time where it can be most beneficial and waste less time in meaningless activities.

How do you manage your time? Do you find this model to be of help?

If you are a business owner, Vistage can help you manage your issues through peer group work and personal growth. Let me know how I can be of help.