Taking the time to Plan

April 30, 2013


It’s been a while since I haven’t had so many urgent things to do that my to-do list that I have had to just ‘do’, and do it ‘as fast as I can’, rather than think about what to do and how to do it.

So this week feels a bit different, and it’s Tuesday and I have some time to breathe and some time to think and plan. Of course, I still have work to do, and an awful lot of it lot of it, but I do not feel like I am in crisis mode, with deadlines and meetings which puts everything into the ‘super urgent’ box.

Many people are familiar with Steve Covey’s Time Management Matrix (or in a reproduced form of some sort) and I suppose what I am realising is that for the last few months, I have been operating in Box I “Urgent and Important”.

So with a bit more time on my side this week, and a few less deadlines looming, I am reviewing the Time Management Matrix (below) and realising that finally, I am sitting in Box II, the apparent ideal box to be in. With a strong sense of tiredness from the last few months, and to be honest, a bit of relief of not being in Box I, I can truly understand that pattern that Steve Covey talks about how people who spend too much time in Box I move between Box I and Box IV. It would be so easy to enjoy the ability to muck around, spend too much time on facebook and generally ‘relax’ and deal with it all later.


But knowing I’ll be really upset at myself at some stage in the future if I do that, I have decided to today force myself to take some time out to plan and brainstorm what I need to do over the next few months and to also plan how to stay in Box II and attempt to minimise future intense periods of heavy deadlines and too many pressing issues.

A few ideas so far:

  • Plan & Block time for the whole month in advance, two if possible.
  • Encourage autonomy within the team members by allocating blocks of my time with each person in advance for the coming month (two or three if necessary), and encourage them to self-solve and raise challenges for discussions in those periods of blocked time.
  • Include time to innovate across 4 areas: a) seminars/workshops b) marketing methods c) online sales d) new business partners
  • Include time allocations for personal activities, including yoga and exercise and aim for a long weekend once a month.

A lot of people find it strange that I am at my ‘concentration best’ working from a busy coffee shop. The noisier the better, as somehow it helps me to concentrate and go inside myself to focus and produce more than when I am in the office or at home alone.

So I’m at Buzz Coffee Shop at the Emporium Centre in the Valley and off I go. Wish me luck!


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