Think about the last time you found yourself in quadrant 1 (Q1) of the Eisenhower Urgency Matrix. As a reminder, this is something that is both urgent and important. Once you have it in mind, trace back the path that brought you there. What caused you to be in Q1? In truth, there are two ways to end up in Q1: by chance or by choice.
This month, I will celebrate 10 years of being married to a firefighter. His career has had a tremendous impact on my life and my business. Not simply because his his career path sealed my fate to work forever (#marriedforlovenotmoney), but because his line of work has taught be a lot about quadrant 1.
As an emergency responder, his job is to address quadrant 1 occurrences. If there is a fire, he jumps on the truck. If there is a vehicle accident, he stops his self-care. If there is a chemical spill, he leaves his dinner to cool in his absence. He spends a lot of time reacting to very real quadrant 1 situations.
Before my surgery, I also spent a lot of time in quadrant 1. I was often running late for a meeting, butting up against an important deadline, or wondering how long I could ride out the gas light. However, the difference between our quadrant 1 experiences is how we each arrived in that quadrant. When he shows up at a fire it’s because the universe has dealt someone a bad hand. When I showed up late for a meeting it was because I chose to manage my time poorly.
When we think about quadrant 1 items, we often think about actual emergencies or the daily stressors that make up our days. Although they can both be classified as Q1 demands on our time, they are not the same. Many quadrant 1 items do not have to become quadrant 1 items. Through planning, we can reduce the time we spend under direst. Not only will this help our overall physical and mental state, as we are not meant to be in chronic fight or flight, but it will make us more available to respond to the Q1 items we cannot plan for.
I sincerely hope that you never meet my hero husband in a quadrant 1 situation. However should that be your fate, find peace in the fact that he is a long time Origami Day customer and you will be the only quadrant 1 items vying for his attention at that time.
By chance or by choice. You decide.