I have to be honest and say that this month has been a real test. A test of will power, a test of time management and a test of patience.
I have had to challenge my resolve far more this month in not allowing operational things to encroach on my Clayton’s Gift Day. And I wasn’t always successful – my will power sometimes let me down (reminds me a lot of when I try to eat healthily actually!?!). Inevitably, the result is that I haven’t gotten as much work done on asset building as I would have hoped.
The need for time management seems to be magnified this month too. All those things that I so carefully planned into future work days of course caught up with me this month and it has been an absolutely huge month. It has also been incredibly rewarding with the workshops and presentations we’ve been doing and the type of client work we’ve been able to engage in.
I have found myself drawing a lot on a really great explanation that I heard of the Eisenhower Matrix – if you aren’t familiar with it, the Eisenhower Matrix is a time management/prioritising technique that classifies tasks into 4 quadrants based on how important and urgent they are. Quadrant 1 (Q1) is urgent and important; Q2 is not urgent but important; Q3 is not important but urgent; and Q4 is neither important nor urgent (think things like facebook scrolling or candy crush).
Most of us spend the bulk of our time in Q1 because it seems logical to focus on that which is urgent and important. Then we jump to Q3 because the urgency of the task is like a flashing red light that we just can’t ignore – but actually we need to assess if we genuinely need to do it, or is it just urgent because someone else is pushing their priorities on to us. We waste a bit of time in Q4 to give our brains a break … and by then it is highly unlikely that we ever get to spend any time in Q2 because what was non-urgent has become urgent in the time that we’ve been chasing around after the other quadrants so we are back to Q1. Sound familiar?
But if you focus your energy on Q2 activities, you are spending time on the things that are important to your business and you are doing it before it becomes urgent. This means being better prepared, less stressed because you are handling less ‘urgent’ tasks, plus your team benefits because you aren’t passing them last minute urgent jobs to help you with.
When I heard it explained that way it was a slapped forehead moment for me. And now I need to keep reminding myself of it and I am gradually finding myself spending more and more time in Q2 – that doesn’t happen without applying discipline and will power though.
And I mentioned a test of patience – I say this because as the finish line comes closer and I can almost smell the reward of the actual 4 day week, I am increasingly impatient to get everything done that will enable this to happen.
When I look at the list though, there is just so much more to get in place before I am comfortable that we can deliver to client expectations and have people working 4 days without adding undue pressure to the rest of the team. October is going to be a telling month on whether we can kick our goals and actually start our gift days in November. Watch this space ….