We all envision a future, some better life for ourselves. We strategize the moves needed to get there. The only problem is most people suck at it, using systems that are either way too basic or way too rigid.
To achieve literally anything, we will use a commonly talked about framework called the Eisenhower Matrix. Anything you do in life falls into one of these four Quadrants.
Quadrant #1 is filled with stuff that’s both important and urgent. Sounds great, right? This is not where you want to be.
Most people start in Quadrant #1 until tired, inevitably falling into Quadrant #4, mindlessly attending to the non-urgent and non-important stuff like cleaning out your e-mail inbox or binge-watching YouTube (even if it’s educational videos). You goof around here until you’re ready to go back to Quadrant #1.
“Is that a new e-mail in your inbox? Hooray, you’re saved.” Can’t help but look, right? In your moment of weakness, you make a detour into Quadrant #3, focusing on the not important but apparently urgent things. And just like this from Quadrant #1 to #4 to #3 back to #1. Around and around, you go like a hamster in a wheel of life, devoid of growth.
The reality is this Quadrant #1 is just the bare minimum. Quadrant #1 is where you go put out fires, but if you’re constantly holding the fire extinguisher, when do you hold the hammer? Guess where the fires of Quadrant #1 come from? They come from the ignored dreams of Quadrant #2.
You see examples of this all the time.
- Ignore that big project and reap the consequences when it’s due.
- Ignore quality time with friends and family and they soon become decent strangers.
- Ignore the gym long enough and you’ll wake up one day and suffer a heart attack.
Quadrant #2 is where dreams are built. It’s the stuff that’s good for you, but because it’s not urgent, you never make time for it.
Imagine yourself as a box factory worker. A day’s worth of work is 50 boxes. Little did you know that tomorrow the boss says he needs 100 boxes. Uh, sounds important and urgent, right? You don’t want to get fired. Will you grit your teeth and force it to happen.
From simple to-dos, phone reminder systems to micromanaged hour by hour planners your mindset is always the same; Learn another productivity hack to squeeze more juice from each day.
What if instead of being a better worker, you became a better factory? Instead of just putting out fires every day you spend one day making everything fireproof and thus freeing up the rest of your life.