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Living in Quad I

  Urgent Not Urgent
Important Quad I Quad II
Not Important Quad III Quad IV

An overly simplified view of Stephen R Covey’s time management system called First Things First (the 3rd habit of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) is that we want to strive to life in Quad II where things are important but not urgent. In reality most of us life in Quad I where things are urgent and important and Quad III (urgent but not important–what a terrible place) and Quad IV (not urgent and not important — television is a good example) devour our lives. How do we get to living in Quad II? Stephen says, “steal from Quad III and Quad IV” so even if its small steps the end result will be a huge improvement in your lifestyle.

For instance, last night I choose to spend some time in Quad II with my wife. We would spend quality time in bed watching television. It would be quality time because we would talk and catch up and bond. However, television sucks the quality out of quality time giving you just time which is Quad IV. As we silently watched CSI I found sleep.

A classic example would be that of the gas for the grill. I used to always have a spare tank of propane for the grill but the law prohibits the refilling of my older tank now. Refilling the gas tank should be a Quad II. It’s important that the tank be filled so we can cook dinner but not urgent since we won’t grill out for several days. However, procrastination can turn a Quad II task into a Quad I task in a heartbeat. We bought steaks. Steaks having a shelf life turned getting gas for the grill into both an urgent and important task.

Quad I…not a comfortable place to live. Quad I makes you fatigued. I live primarily in Quad I and frequently get sucked into Quad III (yesterday was totally Quad III) and often find myself wanting to retreat to Quad IV (last night). My time in Quad II is minimal yet I really enjoy Quad II.

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