The Only Secret You Need In Life - Stephen Covey's Quadrants

Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People is one of the most influential books in my life. In this book, you will learn about forming habits, leadership, and getting to know what you really want. However, the concept I’m going to share today is what many people consider as the meat of the book.

It’s the four quadrants.

I heard of his quadrants even before I read the book. I got to be honest with you, I just finished the book just recently and I’m glad to say that I have a better understanding of the concept now. 

I’ve been trying to apply this in my life, and I could see the potential of what Ill be getting if I uphold it. Yet, this treasure cove is not just for me, it’s for everybody.

I might be wrong, but this is an important aspect that could change your life.

Before anything else, there’s a gold in the quadrant. Try to figure it out as you read along.

Quadrants Explained

Quadrant is defined as each of for quarters of a circle. In this quadrant, we will have to pay attention to the X-axis and Y-axis. The X- axis (horizontal) has the value of “urgency” while the y-axis (vertical) has the value of “importance.”

Basically, you set the quadrants on those values. (1) The first quadrant relating to urgent and important things. (2) The second for non-urgent yet important things. (3) The third relates to urgent activities but are not important, and (4) the last quadrant for non-pressing and trivial things. 

Check the graph below.

Stephen Covey's Quadrants

Let’s try a 2-minute activity.

Point out things in your life that you think falls more or less likely in each quadrant. If you haven’t done this in activity yet, then now is the right time. I highly encourage you to really write it down in a piece of paper.

Done? Now look at your answer as a whole.

Here’s the catch, if you participated and filled the quadrants, you might have learned a thing or two about yourself.

Some people who wrote this down may notice that they can easily jot down things belonging to either quadrant 1, 3 and 4.

Quadrant 2 is usually left behind.

If you think your list looks like that, then here’s a shocker: there’s a possibility that you are sleepwalking through life! It’s likely that you fail to dream anymore or postponing things that you really want in life.  

But writing a lot under quadrant 2 does not mean you’re safe. It’s also possible that you know what you want but you’re not doing something about it.

Before we go deeper, let me cite some insights and examples on each quadrant.

See, quadrant 1 activities are those that you do to survive. Fundamentals are food, clothes, and shelter, which is why you work for them. Therefore, your direct income or anything that you use for your consumption and survival falls under this.

Let’s skip quadrant 2 and go to quadrant 3.

Quadrant 3 activities demand immediate attention, which make them seem important. Yet, it’s not. Text messaging or chatting requires a response. Most things with end dates and alarms, like a phone ringing, company meetings, paying bills, and so on are all under this quadrant.

It’s best to tackle quadrant as efficient as you can. But here’s the thing, you don’t have to be the person doing it. (I’m not talking about kage bunshin no-jutsu either!)

This is where delegating comes in. You can usually delegate quadrant 3 activities. Yes, it may come with a cost for it’s a favor but it’s a form of investment in sparing more time. 

Quadrant 4 is the danger zone. When I wrote this the first time, it was relatively easy to fill this up. If you love to spend your day watching TV series or hang out with friends, drinking, then you place a significant amount of time under quadrant 4. The list doesn’t end there, we also have the Internet, Facebook, and even worrying are all time wasters.

You might be wondering, what is this quadrant 2 that we should consider it holy?

It’s hard to list the non-urgent but important things in our life. It’s because Quadrant 2 are the things procrastinators procrastinate about.

Failing to attend to this list is the reason why we feel guilty.

It is where our ideal self resides. Our dreams, our passion, our investing goals, our travels, and everything else that run in that creative mind of yours.

But why do we always put quadrant 2 for later? Perhaps, because it’s not urgent, we tend to forget about them?

You might not realized this yet, but majority of people never get to cultivate these things, to the point of bringing these ideals to their grave.

You see, quadrant 2 should be the main focus of our lives – more so, of our limited time. It’s looking at the big picture. It’s looking forward for growth and self-development, it’s about reaching our ideal self and making a difference.

But hey guys! Don’t worry. There’s a way around it. As you know, I’ve read the book, so I won’t leave you hanging (in fact, let’s not leave anyone hanging).

The Only Secret You Need In Life - Stephen Covey's Quadrants

The technique?

Try to finish your quadrant 1 as fast as you can since you have no choice with them. Next, is to go ahead and don’t be ashamed to delegate quadrant 3, as much as possible. Pay someone to pay for your bills or deliver stuff for you, let someone do the cleaning, etc. Of course, try to ditch quadrant 4 (easier said than done, so start small).

Now you’re left with “enough” spare time to focus on quadrant 2 --- those things that matter. Spend the rest of the day doing it.

You want a secret?

Actually, there is a secret. Most successful people follow this secret either consciously or inadvertently.
So what is it? It’s combining quadrant 1 and 2.

This is what some people call, “Let your passion be your source of living. “

More often than not, the things that are important to you can be a start of something big. You may start a business out of it. If you want to teach, then be a guru or write a book. It doesn’t matter if it sells or not, since you actually love what you’re doing. And love can bring you to greater heights than money.

However, the time will come that you are so good at what you are doing that people can’t help but see that. They will perceive you as of value, as a source of inspiration, and someone who they can trust. As you know, business and marketing is all about trust these days. But let’s not complicate things.

What matter is, do what you love to do and truly reach your ideals. That’s the whole point on why we should focus on quadrant 2. The reward is not a question. It is almost guaranteed.

To sum up:

1. Write your quadrants!

2. Finish quadrant 1, delegate quadrant 3, stop doing quadrant 4, and spend the rest of your time with quadrant 2.

3. Eventually, build a quadrant 1 that is based from quadrant 2 if you are not doing it yet.

4. Watch beautiful things unfold.

I hope you learn a thing or two. Share this to your friends who you think can benefit a lot from this. Don’t forget to like our Facebook page for daily dose of “looking the big picture” straight to your feed (you know, just so you feel a bit better while Facebooking haha).
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