So let's also talk about Quadrant 3 and Quadrant 4. So Quadrant 3 are things that are Urgent but Not Important. So a lot of things can seem urgent, but they're not really important. Like emails, phone calls, certain people popping up asking you for a favor, asking you to do something for them, reports, sometimes meetings. So you have to be able to recognize: Is this thing really important? I know it seems urgent, but is it really important to my goals? And this is why it's really important to really know what your goals and intentions are before even starting, to do anything, because you want to know what's important to you, know your priorities. One way to put that into action is: Do not spend your morning replying to emails because I know a lot of people have the habit of checking email in the morning and then replying to things because they feel like once they read the email they should reply right away. You have to use your time wisely. So use your morning time, the time when you're most active and awake, to do important things first so that you can spend another time slot later to check emails and reply to emails. When you do that, you learn to build up that willpower to focus on what's important rather than impulsively trying to respond to what seems urgent to you at the moment.
So the fourth quadrant are things that are Not Urgent and Not Important. So these are trivial things like busy work, activities that you use to escape what you have to do, like browsing social media, watching TV, watching Netflix, watching YouTube, all of that – time wasters. That's what Quadrant 4 is about. So we all spend our time in these four quadrants.
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But you know, now you have a way to outline them. Maybe you can even do this for yourself. Draw the four quadrants and put in the activities that you typically do or typically have to do. And then you can get a clear sense of, “Okay, what's really important? What should I focus on?” which is the Quadrant 2 and then learn to focus less time on Quadrants 3 and 4. So hopefully that gives you a good framework on how you can prioritize your tasks and manage your time. So the whole lesson of this is to learn to put first things first. Learn to always do the most important tasks first before you move on to all the other lesser important tasks. And like I said earlier: Make sure you're doing things that are Important and Not Urgent. And obviously you're going to have to do the things that are Important and Urgent. But in order to save yourself from stressing out over all these crises, focus more on preparing and all of that: research, the important work that just needs to get done.
So once you figure out what are important things for you to do, it's time to schedule them in your calendar. So I do love to do lists, but I do feel like sometimes you can ignore something on your to do list for like a long time, which is not that great, especially if these things are Not Urgent. So what I find is important is you schedule in these things that are Important but Not Urgent into your calendar so that you make it Urgent. You make it something that you must do once you get to that time. So find time in your calendar, make space for these tasks and just schedule it in so that you actually do it. Personally for me, I like to schedule things on a week to week basis. So I'll take a look at my upcoming week and then find the time slots where I'm free and then start scheduling in things that I must get done. So I just make the time for it throughout my week. Another point that is really important that I always like to share is: I always try to batch my similar tasks together. So time batching is something in productivity that is so, so helpful and so life changing.