Important? Uncomfortable? Downright unnerving? Yup, must be a Quadrant II activity.
Quadrant II. Sounds like something out of science fiction. In reality, though, it’s shorthand for Stephen Covey’s masterful model for categorizing activities. Here’s a brief recap:
- an activity can be urgent, in that it has some sort of deadline or “handle me now” quality to it
- an activity can be important, in that doing it will have a significant positive impact on your business, just as not doing it will have a significant negative impact
- you can use these two criteria—urgency and importance—to create a 2X2 grid
- in this grid, Quadrant II items are those which are not urgent, i.e., they have no intrinsic deadlines associated with them, but are important, i.e., they’ll have a serious impact on your business success
You can immediately see why these activities can be so challenging, uncomfortable, and even elusive.
- Because they’re often big and sweeping (“I’m going to get that professional certification so I can work with higher-end clients and charge more”), they can be overwhelming. How and where do you even get started?
- Because they typically take you into uncharted territory, they’re cloaked in fear of the unknown.
- Because of this bigness and unfamiliarity, they’re often hard to define in actionable terms. (“I’m going to establish myself online as the go-to expert in my field.”)
- Because of this lack of clarity, they feel even bigger and scarier and more elusive and…Where’s my emergency stress-management chocolate?
So what’s an ambitious but stuck entrepreneur to do?
Fortunately, you can start to get unstuck in just five steps:
- Clear the decks. De-clutter your work space—both physically and mentally—so that you can more clearly see what’s important and not just urgent.
- Decide how to decide what those important activities are for your business at this time. Your decision-making criteria may or may not resemble anyone else’s—and that’s just fine. They just have to make sense for you.
- Separate the wheat from the chaff. In other words, ruthlessly commit to ignoring activities which are only nice ideas so that you can focus your energy and skills on mission-critical activities.
- Make sure your business wheel runs smoothly. In other words, be very strategic and intentional about allowing time for working on your business as well as in it. Another way to put this: balance delivery of your services with development of your business.
- Chunk down, down, down… The fastest way to come to a screeching halt is to try to swallow some overwhelmingly huge project in a single gulp. The fastest way to get back into gear is start figuring out how to break that huge project into bite-sized, actionable chunks.
If this sounds good but you’re still not sure how to make it happen, there is—by an amazing coincidence—a tool available to lead you through this process. It’s called the Take Action Now System™, and you can get it at no charge simply by asking for it. Just use the box to your right to share your name and tell me where to send the System, and you’ll be on your way.
And as you start picking up speed on the road to achieving your important goals, be sure to let the rest of us know what you used to get into gear!This entry was posted in implementing and tagged important, take action. Bookmark the permalink.