Steven Covey suggests four quadrants in which we typically work.
- Important and urgent
- Important but not urgent
- Not Important but urgent
- Not Important and not urgent
Using this process, you might not accomplish the "not important" things... which is okay since they're not important.
It wouldn't be a bad idea to consider these quadrants not just in relation to a to-do list, but also as a way to categorize our brain time (the stuff we think about). Here's what I mean:
- thinking about life stuff that is important and urgent = pressure
- thinking about life stuff that is important and not urgent = dreaming
- thinking about life stuff that is not important but urgent = stress
- thinking about life stuff that is not important and not urgent = wasted time
But here's one other thought. Too often we spend our time in two completely different quadrants that Covey never talked about:
- thinking about life stuff that is important... and past
- thinking about life stuff that is not important... and past
It's not a bad idea to have memories. Memories are nice and fun and useful... but too much time with memories can be dangerous and unhealthy. If it is hurtful to spend all your time stressing about the urgency of the day that is not really important, it is far more harmful to spend your time thinking about the mistakes you made yesterday.
Basically, I'm saying this:
- Spend occasional time remembering past victories
- Learn from past defeats, remember the lesson and forget the defeat
- Spend a little time thinking about things that aren't important
- Spend most of your time thinking about the important things in your future