Last week I talked a little about Quadrant IV non-urgent, and not important. Today I want to move to Quadrant III urgent, but not important. These are things like phone calls, e-mail, mail, interruptions, and other important activities that steal your productivity.
I took a training class on time management. During the course of the class the question was raised how many would like to read more books. Most everyone wants to read more.
“Then why don’t you read more?”
Someone commented, “Because books don’t ring.”
I have not talked about quadrant II yet, I am saving that for last, but reading a book is not urgent, but it is important, especially if it relates to something you want to do. A ringing phone is urgent, but it may or may not be important. A ringing phone is an interruption which can throw you off of what you are trying to accomplish. I heard somewhere, and for the life of me I don’t remember where I heard this, perhaps in the same time management training I took, if you want to feel powerful, do not answer the phone.
It is amazing how many people can’t not answer a phone. It drives them crazy to let a phone ring. Now today with cell phones and personal directories and caller ID it does make not answering easy, but before the caller ID if you wanted to know who was on the other end of the phone, you had to pick it up and say, “Hello.”
Another activity that is urgent, because you have to do it now are phone conversations. However Texting has become the new way to talk. Yes you can text later, but I’ve noticed the text has to be answered right now. I have a twitter account. Right now I don’t spend a lot of time with twitter, but I know some folks that get started on twitter and suddenly a lot of time has been spent tweeting and reading tweets. Facebook is another activity that may not be important, but it does seem to be urgent, we all want to know what is the latest in our social network.
I’m not saying these activities are bad, but if you are looking where you are spending your time, what activities are stopping you from being productive keeping you from reaching your goals, you might want to look at the activities you do and how long you do them in quadrant III.
Next week I’m going to take a good look at Quadrant I. Or what I like to call the Stress Zone.
What activities do you find yourself doing that seem urgent but really are not all that important?