This blog is part of a 2-part series on bettering productivity.
A lot of my readers and clients come to me with productivity challenges. It’s the same problem. Too much happening. Not enough time. And results are never ‘awesome.’
Recognize these feelings?
- There’s way too much work on my plate
- I feel inadequate in meetings
- I wish I had a robot to take care of all the stupid routine tasks
- Death by meetings!
- Hello! How did this job land up in MY plate?
- Email anxiety!!!
The results? Uneasiness, insomnia, frustration and poor work-life balance.
Perfect recipe for burn out.
But there’s good news.
What would you say if I told you about a highly efficient productivity police that could help you out? Cool huh?
Now what if I told you that person was none other than you.
The #ProductivityHack No.1 that I recommend is Stephen Covey’s Time Management Matrix. And yes, it empowers YOU to ruthlessly police the way you manage your work by neatly breaking up your time into four quadrants split by two factors: importance and urgency.
Urgent means it requires immediate action.
Important has to do with an activity that contributes to your long-term goals.
Here’s a reality: Human tendency favours what’s urgent over what’s important. This is because it’s easy to be reactive than proactive. But if you go down this path, here’s how the matrix looks:
Not very encouraging is it?
Notice how skewed that matrix is towards tactics and not towards vision?
Perfect recipe for getting stuck in middle management for the rest of your life!
Here’s a task for you. Plot your weekly to-do list on the matrix. Here’s how you can read your matrix:
1. If you have too many items in Quadrant 1 (important and urgent) you are either not being proactive enough or you are struggling with difficult teams/clients. Either way it’s time to be more assertive because staying too long in this quadrant leads to either burn-out or a state of permanent crisis.
2. If you have too many items in Quadrant 3 (urgent, not important) it means you are either letting other people’s agenda rule your life (you find it hard to say no) or you are selectively working on less stressful stuff (a kind of escapism). Again, need to reshuffle priorities here!
3. It goes without saying that if you are spending too much time in Quadrant 4 (not important, not urgent) you are either totally demotivated (need a shot in the arm) or you are in the wrong job. Dude, seriously?
4. Quadrant 2 is the preferred playground of the smart manager. Things that are important but not urgent – if handled proactively – do not escalate into crises and land up in Quadrant 1. If you’re working effectively, this should be your busiest quadrant. Spending time here will make you a visionary and a quality guru.
So where are you going to pitch your tent today?
About the Author:
Sandhya Reddy is a leadership & transformation coach based in Bangalore, India. She is the Founder and Principal Coach at Chapter Two Coaching, a coaching consultancy that enables everyone from CEOs to work-from-home parents to achieve their goals by replacing self-imposed limitations with enabling stories.
Many of us in our thirties experience a disquieting realization: what brought us to middle-management may not take us to senior-management. This is true. To chart a new career path, one needs to think and do things differently. This is where Sandhya can help. She is a coach. Life coaching, executive coaching, business coaching, personality development, leadership coaching… they are all part of her forte. Her Executive coaching programs helps tomorrow’s leaders set new goals, make new plans to achieve those goals, get that elusive promotion through a blend of knowledge, action and image-building, enhance influence among the leadership team, be more productive, get more out of one’s team, and be known in the company as an indispensable performer and future leader.