Building Your Life In The C Quadrant
Using The Eisenhower Matrix To Better Your Life
Our quality of life is largely the result of our time-bound and repeated actions — pure randomness and wishful thinking doesn’t get us very far. What we focus on in thought and primarily in action, typically navigates us toward a certain desired or undesired destination in time.
Will Durant wrote in The Story of Philosophy (1926), “ Excellence is an art won by training and habituation: we not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather have these because we have acted rightly; these virtues are formed in man by doing his actions; we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. ”
Who remembers the ‘Star Chart’ below? Jack, John and Molly like you and I chased stars daily with each completed task, partly to feel great about ourselves, partly to win the most stars in class and perhaps mostly to get the toy car or ice cream with a certain number of accumulated stars.
The Star Chart was a fantastic habit forming and productivity tool. The tasks were clear. The responsibilities fully understood. The rewards tangible and achievable. Through accomplishing our goals, we felt motivated and enjoyed our overall class experience.
But as adults we often struggle to complete tasks and achieve desired progress in life. Most of us waste time on the order of 5 to 8 hours daily or if we try to apply ourselves, we are challenged with what to prioritize and where to focus.
Prioritize Important Over Urgent
As a productivity framework and a personal development tool, the Eisenhower Matrix (EM) can come in handy in redesigning our schedules around what is most important to us. I have applied EM to my own routine and guided others toward its practical application. Given its intuitive framework, it has not only been eye opening but worked quite effectively in improving my daily output.
EM is defined by two parameters, importance and urgency. Some activities in our lives are important, some urgent, some both and some neither important nor urgent. We may bucket these activities into four main categories/quadrants (A, B, C and D) as seen below:
Source: Saud Masud, Vector Partners (Pvt.) Limited