What’s important in your life right now? How can you encourage each other – and your family – to make progress and be productive?

Do you focus on the important – or only respond to the urgent?

“I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.”  Dwight D. Eisenhower

There’s a 4-quadrant time management concept, which is ascribed to the USA’s 34th President. It uses two words – urgent and important – in the 2×2 matrix.

a crying baby is both important and urgentSometimes you must respond to the urgent – a baby crying, a pot boiling over, the engine light blazing red in your car, or your spouse tersely growling that they need a break. Urgent is a part of real life. However, urgent shouldn’t play the biggest part of real life!

What is important?

First – I want to say, that only you and your spouse can define what’s truly important. And that’s your job as parents. Just like deciding which values your family is living.

Sometimes it takes a bit of discussion for the two of you to agree. However, I believe time spent discussing the topic of “What’s important?”… is important! (Especially before the urgent stuff shows up – as it definitely will. 😉  )

How do you avoid living inside an “urgent, drama-infused space”?

Try the Eisenhower Method

 Watch this video, which explains the concept.

  • Important/Urgent
  • Important/Less Urgent
  • Not Important/Urgent
  • Not Important/Less Urgent

The video is highlighting a $2.99 smartphone app which uses the concept. Also available is a free desktop version, with just the 4 quadrant to-dos.

Focus on the Important and Not Urgent Quadrant

Focus on the important things in life

What is important in a family, and in your life as husband and wife, is going to be different than what happens at work. At work, you usually have those who tell you what needs to be done- and you’ll follow those suggestions or be without your job.

At home – with your spouse – you both need to decide. Which goals are you and your husband or wife pursuing… and which values are you highlighting.

Too often, we go through life just accomplishing the urgent tasks and never getting to the important, but not urgent stuff. Always living in the urgent quadrant translates to feeling like you’re leading a meaning-less life. Stuff gets done, but there’s no lasting impact. There’s no hope for a meaning filled future…

Options in the Important (but not Urgent) Quadrant

Steven Covey popularized the Eisenhower time management method in his book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change“.  Covey suggests we all should be spending most of our time in the Important/Not Urgent quadrant.

Which from this list – or your own list of important items – will you do today? Decide with your spouse to work on something from this list. Now. Today.

Use Your Time Today

One thing that intrigued me about the $2.99 Eisenhower App was their option to use a focus timer for 30 minutes.

Focus is so important.

Yeah. That’s what started this whole blog post. The idea of focusing on what is important.

Focus is so Important

I can get caught up in all the non-urgent, not important stuff like Facebook, and reading other people’s blog posts, or picking up a book, or just hanging out on Twitter. What’s the trouble with all this activity? Not much gets accomplished. I have little to show for my hours on the computer…  Perhaps you might relate? 🙂

I’m determined to improve my ability to focus on what’s important. To this end, I’ll be using the free version of the Eisenhower App (and see how it goes before I purchase the App).

Also I’ve been using an online music/sound website called Focus@Will  – they have a free 15 day trial!
I like the Ambient options of music – Water sounds – and Cafe Noise. FocusatWill.com’s idea is that if you listen to the right music/sounds, you can improve your productivity.

If you’re interested, they even explain the science behind their concept on their website. (I’m just having fun using a different sound/music for each half hour – right now I’m listening to Kora Beta on Medium Energy level.) You can adjust their 22 sound/music options to a high, medium or low energy level. It’s interesting… Check it out!

Peak Performance Music

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How do you encourage each other to be productive in the important tasks?

Important or Urgent - let's stay focused on what is important!Are there ways you and your spouse use that make it easier to focus on what’s important?

Leave a comment – let’s share! I’m interested!

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Discover Your Values as a Couple

How can you make sure those values you live – together as husband and wife– are consistent, cohesive, and have a lasting impact?

Values help you prioritize - decide when and what to do in a situation, and then remain consistent in all your decisions.

Check out the guide and workbook for couples!

Also includes an audio version!