Thursday, July 23, 2009


That which we persist in doing becomes easier - not that the nature of the task has changed, but our ability to do has increased.

Organize and execute around priorities. 24 hours to me is definitely not enough. Talking about being a recluse, last time the moment I woke up, the only thing that came to my mind was spending more time under the comforter and disconnect myself from the outside world. Thus, I neither have a phone line nor Internet for 5 years. I don't even remember having a television in the room until one day, I saw the television screen and found the remote control under the rubble, that I realised I have a television. Yes, I can survive without a television but I cannot live without books.

Time management is very important in order to have a balanced work life, social life, personal life and family life. There are a few categories where you can slot in your activities.

Important and Urgent
Crises. Pressing problems and deadline-driven projects. "Go with the flow" and staying in the status quo. Dealing with significant results that require immediate attention. Keep focusing on stuff which are important and urgent, it keeps getting bigger and bigger until it dominates you. It's like the pounding surf. A huge problem comes and knocks you down and you're wiped out. You struggle back up only to face another one that knocks you down and slams you to the ground. Some people are literally beaten up by problems all day every day. Thus, the results you get are stress and burnout, always trying to put out fires.

Not Important but Urgent
What's so not important but urgent at the same time? Ridiculous, right? Interruptions - especially phone calls. You're deep in a conversation with someone then you have a call that you needed to answer or else the ringing of the phone will drive you crazy. Then, you have those e-mails threatening to flood your inbox unless you click and take a read then clear them off. Are those e-mails that important? They aren't but it is urgent to you as you'll want an organized inbox. There's gatherings to attend with some old friends. Urgent in the sense that it might jeopardize your social circle if you make yourself not available every time when there's a gathering. Popular activities you have to carry out with your buddies or else you'll be blacklisted and be a social-outcast of your own circle of friends. In conclusion, you only have short-term focus. Reputation wise, you have a chameleon character. You'll feel victimized and out of control of your own life. Shallow or broken relationships at the end. Worth it?

Not Important and DEFINITELY Not Urgent
Some people concentrate in this quadrant. Busy... busy... busy... busy... busy. Yes, I used that so often that friends stopped asking me out for any outings. But in actual fact, my working hours are totally opposite than others. When you're working, I'm rolling on the bed. When you're free, I'm working. And I would rather spend my time playing video games than hanging out with people. Again, I tell them I was busy. I would choose to sleep or 'hang out' on my bed, but said I was busy. Time wasters... talking about nothingness, burning the phone line. That was during secondary school when I had a hobby of 'bergayut atas talian' for as long as 4 hours every day. Then, some people have pleasant activities which they indulged in. Mine will be shopping.

Important YET Not Urgent.
Urgent matters are usually visible. They press on us - they insist on action. They're usually right in front of us. And ofthen they are pleasant, easy, fun to do. But so often they are unimportant! Importance, on the other hand, has to do with results. If something is important, it contributes to your mission, your values, your high priority goals. We react to urgent matters.

Important matters that are not urgent require more initiative, more proactivity. We must act to seize opportunity, to make things happen. If we don't have a clear idea of what is important, of the results we desire in our lives, we are easily diverted into responding to the urgent matter.

There are actions we can take to prevent friction with people around us. Relationship building is somewhat important but not a pressing issue. It's investment of our time. Recognizing new opportunities - again, that it also important but not urgent. Planning. All it takes is planning. Failing to plan is planning to fail. What I would want you to do now is, take out a piece of paper and a pen, write down these questions together with the answer. When you're done, stuff the paper into anywhere you won't be able to find unless you spring clean your whole room :-) Serious.. not joking.
Question 1:
What one thing could you do (you aren't doing now) that if you did on a regular basis, would make a tremendous positive difference in your personal life?
Question 2:
What one thing in your professional life would bring similar results?

To say "YES" to important but not urgent priorities, you have to learn to say "NO" to other activities, sometimes apparently urgent things. Decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage - pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically - to say "NO" to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger "YES" burning inside. The enemy of the "BEST" is often the "GOOD".

Keep in mind that you're always saying "NO" to something. If it isn't to the apparent, urgent things in your life, it is probably to the more fundamental, highly important things. Even when the urgent is good, the good can keep you from your best, keep you from your unique contribution, if you let it.

Manage our lives effectively - from a center of sound principles, from a knowledge of our personal mission, with a focus on the important as well as the urgent, and within the framework of maintaining a balance between increasing our production and increasing our production capability. This is, admittedly, an ambitious objective for people who's always concentrating in the other three areas I mentioned above. The six important criteria:
  • Coherence - Coherence suggests that there is harmony, unity and integrity between your vision and mission, your roles and goals, your priorities and plans, and your desires and discipline. In your planner, you should be a place for your personal mission statement so that you can constantly refer to it. Place your roles for both short and long-term goals.
  • Balance - Identify your various roles and keep them right in front of you, so that you don't neglect important areas such as your health, your family, professional preparation, or personal development. Many people seem to think that success in one area can compensate for failure in other areas of life. But can it really? Perhaps it can for limited time in some areas. But can success in your profession compensate for a broken relationship, ruined health, or weakness in personal character?
  • Focus in Important yet Not Urgent Activities - Organize your life on a weekly basis. It provides much greater balance and contact than daily planning. The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.
  • A "People" Dimension - Deal with people, not just schedules. While you can think in terms of efficiency in dealing with time, a principle-centered person thinks in terms of effectiveness in dealing with people. There are times when principle-centered living requires the subordination of schedules to people. Implement rather than create guilt when a schedule is not followed. *I used to feel upset whenever my plans didn't turn out as expected due to human factor*
  • Flexibility - Your planning tool should be your servant, never your master. Since it has to work for you, it should be tailored to your style, your needs, your particular ways.
  • Portability - Write your weekly schedule somewhere where you can carry around. Easier to view or to make changes when necessary. Don't depend 100% on your memory.

"For I know the plans I have for you, " declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you....

[Jeremiah 29: 11-14]

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