Friday, October 19, 2007

What's Your Quadrant?

I was looking through one of my books by Stephen Covey, First Things First. It's about how we prioritize in life. I am looking at doing a better job with my time management. I have found I am not doing the ministry that I really want to do and believe am called to do. To much other stuff gets in the way.

So . . . I took a look at his book, again.

Covey lists 4 quadrants in life. In essence, everything we do will fall into one of these 4 quadrants - -

Q1 - Urgent and Important
Q2 - Important but Not Urgent
Q3 - Urgent but not Important
Q4 - Not Urgent and Not Important

Under Q1 we deal with
+ Crises
+ Pressing Problems
+ Deadline driven projects
+Immediately productive activities

This all leads to increased stress and burn out, because we are putting out fires.

Under Q3 - we deal with
* Interruptions
* Some mail, some reports
* Many popular activities

In Q3 we do things we tend to like, but don't really get us anywhere, and we never feel we really accomplish anything because we put aside what we were supposed to be doing.

Under Q4 - we deal with
- Trivia, busywork
- junk mail
- time wasting activities
- "escape" activities

Suffice it to say we don't accomplish much that is worthwhile here.

In Q2 - we deal with
= preparation
= prevention
= developing mission
= planning
= relationship building
= true re-creation
= empowerment

These sound best and this is the best place to be. It is also the place where a visionary lives. Vision takes time and a visionary recognizes the need for these activities.

I find myself doing lots of stuff in Q3, not in Q2. That is the one area which is easily neglected. Of course, we can't spend all of our time in Q2 doing the important but not urgent. But that is where I am striving to move to.

I'm trying to re prioritize my work schedule so I can do what I believe God is calling me to do. part of that is a greater commitment to prayer and Bible study which I believe are Q2 items. In fact, I would say all spiritual disciplines are Q2 items, they don't' feel urgent, but they are definitely important.

So . . . what quadrant do you live in?

And where would you really like to live in?


  1. I too spend a lot of time in Q1 and Q4. We almost never get to Q3. What propels us into Q2 is crisis. In our case currently- cancer. You realize your constraints of time and energy, and realize that you don't have unlimited amounts of either, and maximize your efforts. What was once importatnt, might not make the grade. In the book Jesus-CEO, the author talks about the fact that Jesus had a mission, and stayed on it, with all of the demands, agendas, desires, interruptions that a human faces, he stayed on his mission. How to do that of course is the challenge. Finding quiet time is the key to knowing your mission. Whatever that takes. An old saying in business is Plan your Work and Work your plan. Recognize when you are being pulled off course and if that new course is part of your mission. If not, delegate. Q2 is the key to real happiness, but is also intimidating, as I must take responsibility for my mission, and the results, good or bad. Success or Failure. Do I not really have time for Q2, or is it too intimidating sometimes? Just some thoughts from another one who struggles with the same time management that you talked about.

  2. Thanks for the comment. Will keep you and your family in prayer. I believe you hit one of the main keys about being in Q2 and Jesus --He always spent time recharging with God. Notice He often went off by Himself to pray, to get away from everyone else who was demanding His services and He reconnects with His life source, the Father.

    For many people there is the fear of failure or the fear of success, yet because we have that fear of failure, we allow it to paralyze us from taking that step forward. We find it easier, safer to do nothing and condemn ourselves than to risk and fail. BUT . . . making the attempt and not succeeding is not failing, it is just not succeeding as we hoped for, but we learn and we retry it again.

    As I seek to spend more time in Q2, doing the important, but not urgent, I am being drawn deeper into reliance on God, not Michael.


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