In the first part of this two-part episode on time management, we talked about how time is the one thing we all have in common. We established the difference between urgency and importance and introduced the Time Management quadrant. Here are the four sections:
- Important and urgent
- Important, not urgent
- Urgent, not important
- Not urgent or important
If you remember from part 1, the quadrant you need to spend the most time in is important, not urgent. We briefly talked about creating fake urgency to get these tasks done. Let’s look at that in more detail.
Create Fake Urgency
Let me ask you a question. Say you have an automated withdrawal of $500 a month set up to put money in your investment account. This is fake urgency since you don’t really -have- to invest. Would you rather stress about coming up with this $500 every month, or would you rather have to deal with the stress years from now when you want to retire but have no money?
Fake urgency creates fake stress now so you don’t have to deal with real stress later.
Deadlines are how I create fake urgency. I follow my Google calendar religiously. Everything I need to do during a day is put in my calendar. The best way to use deadlines is to break down big tasks into six or seven smaller tasks. Doing so keeps you from getting to a point where you have to overwork on urgent tasks.
The human brain is designed for survival. It’s the strongest instinct in your body. Setting calendar reminders triggers your survival response. This is how you hack your body’s natural systems to become more productive.
Use the 2:1 Rule to Handle Urgent Tasks
Sometimes you just have to do urgent tasks. Most of the times, urgent tasks become urgent because of our procrastination. The 2:1 rule is a way to condition yourself to not procrastinate. For every hour I spend doing urgent tasks, I spend two hours doing important tasks that very same day. This is why most people give up after a few days. If you don’t have the discipline to hold yourself accountable, you’ll never conquer time management.
Now, let’s review the quadrants.
The “heart attack” quadrant is for things that are urgent and important.
The “in the zone” quadrant is for things that are an investment in yourself. They are important, but not urgent.
The “Other people’s problems” quadrant is for things that are urgent, but not important. These are usually things that are urgent and important for someone else, and you have to contribute. Usually for a boss, friend, or family member.
The “Distraction” quadrant is for tasks that are not urgent and not important. These are time-wasters like sleeping in, surfing the net, and watching tv. We do these things to escape the reality of our lives rather than working to improve them.
A Life Coach Can Help You Master Time Management
Mastering time management is easier said than done. You have to understand the neuroscience behind why we procrastinate, as well as how the mind perceives time. Some people are good with learning on their own, while others need someone in their corner to make sure they fully grasp each concept. Schedule a consultation with Titanium Success today to learn how a life coach can help you conquer time management.