2.15.2013

Quadrant II Activities

I've written before about how work has complicated since I've become a principal.  But today I want to further explore one facet of this.

I'm a believer in what best-selling author and leadership guru Stephen Covey describes as "Quadrant II activities" (things that are important but not urgent).  These become particularly important when you are trying to grow a business and not just work on the business.  It's easy in professional services to just put out fires: there's always a client who needs attention or a report/proposal deadline breathing down on  you.  But what makes for a thriving venture is tending to the things that are not urgent (it always seems it can wait) but that are important (without these things your business eventually shrivels up): continuing education, professional networking, business systems, employee training.  These Quadrant II activities are easy to postpone but important to tend to.  Easier said than done.

This is just within the walls of the business.  Then there's Quadrant II activities for your whole being: getting a good night's sleep, taking up a hobby that rejuvenates you, cultivating your spiritual health, making sure the most important relationships in your life (spouse, kids) are getting the investment they deserve.  Again, it's easy to think you can cheat these things, but ultimately you can't do anything good unless you're making sure to make time for them.

As my work world has complicated, so it seems has my personal world: Amy's job is increasingly demanding and so she requires more rest and more care from me, my kids stumble through their special issues at school and in their relationships, and the roster of potential and actual civic activities seems to grow ever longer (church, community association, et al).  Of course, I haven't been given any more time than before.  And, if anything, as I get older, my body and soul need more refresh time, rather than less.  So it is easy to feel I could be doing more at work and more at home and yet also need more time for myself, and of course there's no way to do all three.

As an INTJ, my response is to plan out my Quadrant II activities, which not only makes me more likely to get to everything that is worth getting to every week but also provides me with a sense of comfort and control over an otherwise chaotic existence.  And, as a Christian, my response is to tend to my most important Quadrant II activity, which is to cultivate my personal relationship with God so that I can find peace about not being able to do everything, trusting that what I can do will be blessed, and believing that what I cannot do will turn out OK.  It is an act of true faith, which I do not often practice, if the quantity and quality of my time on this activity is any indicator.  But it is a way forward nonetheless. 


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