CAUSE FOR THE DAY – Monday – Mar 28, 2011
Covey’s 4 Quadrant System Of Priorities
Priority – Status established in order of importance or urgency. First issue. Primary concern. Most important matter.
In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey says that all tasks we have to do fall into one of four quadrants. They are as follows:
- Quadrant I – Important and Urgent
- Quadrant II – Important but Not Urgent
- Quadrant III – Not Important but Urgent
- Quadrant IV – Not Important and Not Urgent
Quadrant I activities have a habit of taking care of themselves. Because they are BOTH important AND urgent, we will, under normal circumstances, focus enough time and attention on them to get them done. These are the tasks that are right in front of us and tend to capture our attention.
Quadrant III activities are unimportant things (typically some phone calls, mail, etc.) that gain our attention because they are right in front of us. Because they are right in front of us, we treat them with more importance than they typically deserve.
Quadrant IV activities are the time wasters. These can be things such as watching too much TV, partying, etc.. We are in Quadrant IV when we are doing something that brings us little or no benefit.
Quadrant II Is The Important One
At first glance, you might think Quadrant I is the most important of the quadrants. After all, isn’t it used for activities that are BOTH important AND urgent?
But it’s not. Because Quadrant I is BOTH important AND urgent, we already tend to focus plenty of time and energy there.
The problem is really Quadrant II. Those are things that are important, BUT not urgent.
These may be things such as exercise, proper eating, spending time on our relationships, etc.
All too often we put these things off until it was way late and sometimes until it actually is too late.
AMERICA SPENDS TOO MUCH TIME IN QUADRANT IV
In my opinion, America has grown lazy. All too often, we only want to do things that are fun, easy and painless. In other words, we only like things that fall smack-dab in the middle of Quadrant IV.
- Why work on a project (Quadrants I or II) when we can watch TV (Quadrant IV)?
- Why listen to educational audiobooks or take classes (Quadrant II) when we can play on the computer or watch American Idol (Quadrant IV)?
- Why exercise (Quadrant II) when we can sit at home or go out to a restaurant and eat a HUGE, TASTY MEAL (Quadrant IV)?
- Why save money for the future (Quadrant II) when we can enjoy spending it now (Quadrant IV)?
- Why focus on our family, our work and our lives (Quadrant I or II) when we can focus on entertainers (Charlie Sheen, Lindsey Lohan, etc) or on sports (the football lockout, baseball, basketball) (Quadrant IV)?
- Why do our politicians focus on short-term fixes that satisfy the people (Quadrant III or IV) instead of the long-term ones that are necessary (Quadrant II)?
It’s because America has grown fat, lazy and stupid. As Tony Robbins would say, we move toward pleasure and away from pain. Not all of America and not all Americans, but certainly way too many of them.
NO PAIN, NO GAIN
WE THE PEOPLE need to remember that pain is not always a bad thing. Think of exercise. Pain in the body is usually the body’s way of reminding us that it is getting stronger.
If WE THE PEOPLE continue to move only toward pleasure and away from pain, we will continue our long, steady slide downhill.
I know I don’t want that and I don’t think WE THE PEOPLE do either.
The Warrior Walker