It dawned on me, when I received a call from the Vienna office that a lady from Germany is urgently trying to get a hold of me and I called her back in gear to help her with my services that she tried to sell me an ad in a journal and their deadline was approaching that neither I nor my office staff in Vienna had questioned who the urgency concerned and had simply taken it on as ours....
how often something similar had happened to me; or better, how often I had let it happen. Since then I am applying a simple but very effective tool to sort things out and return swiftly to my peace of mind:
I take a topic and ask myself in which one of the two main and resulting four categories it belongs:
These two dimensions are to be determined of any topic. They can show one of four possible assessments:
Urgent YES/Important NO (U+/I-)
Urgent No /Important NO (U-/I-)
Urgent YES/Important YES (U+/I+)
Urgent No / Important YES (U-/I+)
This is a beautiful exercise for logical minds, but also very simple for others, especially for creative thinkers as well.
Let´s go through the options:
Something is urgent, but not important to us. This is the classic sales pitch, or anyone who is trying to involve us in their own drama that they created voluntarily and often are trying to bail on their own responsibility in it.
Often the urgency can be contagious, and we don´t even question if it is necessary for us to get involved and invest our time, energy or resources. It is easy to be pulled out of our own peace of mind, and we are in the middle of something that is not even important to ourselves. It takes some practice, but this is where a good ability to say a clear "no" is invaluable. If it is not coming easy to you yet, practice, practice, practice.
Not urgent and not important. This is the easiest category to shed. We might enter this section out of boredom or if our boundaries are very unclear. Sometimes it can be for recreational purposes, which is fine when sprinkled sparingly throughout our schedule.
Something is urgent as well as important. Clearly, we need to act. The only thing is, it won´t be very pleasant because of the urgency. We are in getting it done mode, maybe feeling a little panicked.
This is where the great stuff happens. Ultimately, we want to shift as much as possible of our life from U+/I+ to this category: taking care of important things, before they are urgent, adds to our life quality and creates tremendous peace of mind. Having mainly things of this category assures that we are moving forward and are having fun.
It is a great exercise to go through a whole day, deciding in which of these categories anything coming our way falls. It is simple to nix anything of the I- category and only keep things that are important to us. That will clear out any schedule up to 80 per cent, in my experience. All the things you can do....
I wish you great fun with this and let me know how it goes.