Is Laundry or Expense Reports a Quadrant 2???

I get asked this question many, many times by 5 Choices participants when we are having rich discussions around determining what is important and what is not, what is urgent and what is not.  Quadrant 2 is the ideal place to be and so many times people will sidle up to me on a break and say….”well…what do I consider my laundry? It seems so menial…..why would it deserve such an important place like the famous Quadrant 2″?

Think about it.  Is doing the laundry important?  Of course it is, and it needs to be planned right?  If you plan when you are going to do your laundry to avoid BAD CONSEQUENCES or enjoy GOOD consequences it is “important and not urgent”.  It is a Quadrant 2 event that you have under control.

We all know what happens when we suffer the consequences…open your bureau or closet and suddenly we are in crisis because we have NO CLEAN SOCKS!!!!!!!  Now you really have a Quadrant 1 on your hands.

Same thing with your expense reports.  I travel very heavily, sometimes 4 cities in a week, each one needing a separate expense report.  This is a big rock for me, a Q2.  I am going to get them done before the week ends no matter why.  Why?  Two reasons; I want my money soon, and second there is not a worse time waster than having a pile of expense reports from 4 weeks accumulated that I need to sort through and figure out.  It’s urgent, I’m stressed, and it is NOT WORTH IT!!!!!

So what’s my point?  Quadrant 2 is the quadrant of action.  It should contain the most important things we need to do WITHOUT LETTING THEM GET TO URGENCY.  It contains our most pro-active work and thinking…and it also contains the day to day important things that we need to have well planned to accomplish with quality and less stress.  It actually makes me feel extraordinarily productive, actually!!!

Your Brain Needs a Rest – This is a “Q2” Not a “Q4” Activity!

I find so many people in my sessions defiantly  telling me they “like” Quadrant 4″, because they like watching tv, surfing the internet…it’s just the way it is, they say….I love when I hear that because my next question is….”so is taking some time for tv or the internet important for you to do to relax? ”  And I get a resounding, “YES!!!”  If it is important I gently point out, then it is a very, very good quadrant 2 activity…where important lives.  And they go, OOOOHHHH…I SEE!!!!  And they learn it is OKAY to take a break.  We are only in Quadrant 4 when it becomes EXCESSIVE, choosing to watch tv for hours and then paying the price knowing you SHOULD have been spending that excessive time on something much more important to you and the people around you.

Be kind to yourself…I know some of us overachievers feel like we have to keep moving, get things done.  But we cannot get things done well if our brains are exhausted.  When we think or plan or do create work we are using about 20% of our entire body’s energy load.  You MUST pause and let your pre-frontal cortex regenerate.  Research shows that by just pausing for even 10 minutes, you will do much better work or even have a much healthier conversation with family members.  Watch TV if you like.  Play a round of Angry Birds.  Take a walk around the office building and just quiet your mind.    Me?  I love a good People magazine once a week on the airplane.  Just to not have to think very hard, laugh a little (very good brain food) and take my mind off of everything else.  Just for a little while.  Very, very q2!

Contribvted by Kory Kogon – Global Practice Leader – Productivity