Go for the Extraordinary in Your Life!

Last Update: Jun 15, 2021

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The prior blog talked about being proactive in life - about trying to plan for the future and not just react to the events around us.

This means we have an active role in trying to make the future for ourselves, those we love, and for society in general as positive as possible.

We do this through planning and trying to be intentional throughout the day.

About Being Intentional

We all have the same amount of time in a day - 1440 minutes. How we spend or invest that time will to a large extent determine whether we have an extraordinary, fulfilling life, or one that is just ordinary with us struggling to get through another unfulfilling day.

We need to spend our time on activities that are most likely to increase our productivity and our happiness.

Stephen Covey came up with a Quadrant system that helps us determine the value of any activity,

Quadrant 1 - Urgent and Important (the project due tomorrow you have not started yet, the test in calculus you have not studied for yet, etc.)
Quadrant 2
- Not urgent but Important (The test in organic chemistry in a week - time to get studying)
Quadrant 3
- Not important but Urgent (Most meetings at work, Many phone calls)
Quadrant 4 - Not important and not urgent (most email, texting / messaging to friends)

Research into these four quadrants shows most unintentional people spend roughly the same amount of time in each quadrant. That means they spend as much wasted time in Quadrant 4 as they do in the most productive quadrant in Quadrant 2.

Urgency Addiction - Quadrant 1

Some folks swear by living in Quadrant 1 - Urgent and Important. These are the ones who will wait until the night before to study for a test, or prepare a proposal, or do anything important.

Some people live for the rush this provides. Neuroscience does show it produces a rush through a chemical in the brain called Dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that is increased by Cocaine. Urgency can become an addiction.

But like most addictions, it does not payout. Seldom will the student who studies the night before do as well as the one who prepares over time, for example.

Constant Business Addiction - Quadrant 3

Some just work to be busy. They are always doing things - but most of the time they have minimal importance. This will give us out Dopamine high but without the urgency of quadrant 1 activity.

Once you run out of the Quadrant 1 activities, many will migrate to Quadrant 3 activities just for being busy.

These are low-yield activities that give only a little bang for your time buck.

Wasted Activity - Quadrant 4

These are the kids who spend their day playing video games, on their smartphones texting, doing meaningless activities that have no value.

These activities are a waste of time and provide no yield.

Valuable Activity - Quadrant 2

This is where we need to spend most of our time - in Quadrant 2.

Not only that, but we need to be intentional and developing activities in this high-yield area. When something is important but not urgent, it means you can have time to think about what you are doing and to be intentional.

This is where you can put real value and purpose into your life. This needs planning - most people will not fall into this quadrant naturally.

Pulling it Together - Go for the Gold

This is where we need to figure out what we really want in life - what are our core values, where do we want to be in a few years.

We all lead multiple lives at once. Many of us are married and working so we might have the following life:

  • Work
  • Husband
  • Spiritual
  • Physical / Health
  • Friend
  • Hobbies

These might be our roles in life. All of us want to have balance in our life - this is how we can work to achieve that balance - whatever that means for you.

Go through each of these roles and determine Quadrant 2 type activities to be intentional to make that role better.

For physical - maybe walk a mile each day, no sweets, more vegetables.
For husband - maybe sharing wife's dreams, more quality time together, finding out what she likes, and doing some of those activities with her

You get the idea. This will help us to be intentional in every part of our life. We will be working in Quadrant 2 - all of these roles are important (even the hobbies!) and deserve planning.

We all need to re-examine how we are doing in all these areas of our lives because our lives change over time. But this will keep us from making the mistake of forgetting the wife while expanding our roles at work.

This is long enough and has gotten us to an important breakpoint. We can take time to evaluate each area of our complicated lives, figure out what is important to make those life parts better to give us an extraordinary, balanced life.

Concentrate on the important but not urgent - try to drop the rest.

Next time - about making these plans into achievable goals.

What do you think? I try to re-evaluate every three months - it is very difficult and requires planning and introspection.

Thanks for reading!

Please leave your comments below!

Dave.

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Recent Comments

8

Thanks Dave.

Yes. Definitely need to prioritize all those minutes and how we spend them. Thanks Dave :) xx

Anne

Thanks, Dave for sharing your knowledge of the quadrants with members. If we want our lives to be extraordinary, quadrant 2 is where we need to be.
We will not forget to throw in the work-life balance so we don't get to the top and find that we are all alone

Dave, these quadrants sound really interesting.

Personally, I believe that these would be ongoing for me.

I believe it requires a lot of planning and discipline to ensure a healthy balance throughout our daily activities

Thanks Dave. This gives me some good stable datums to think with. I like it!

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