What comes to your mind when I say “4 Quadrants”?
Well, if you are a math geek like me, you see something like the image below in your mind’s eye.
What comes to your mind when I say “4 Quadrants of Time Management”?
While you are thinking about it, let me tell you a little about my life.
I am a mom.
I am a wife.
I am a daugther.
I am a teammate.
I am a dog owner.
I am a friend.
I am a reader.
I am a writer.
I am a carpool partner.
The list goes on…
You get the picture here….I wear many hats and juggle too many balls that I can’t drop. I bet it is the same with you and your life.
We ONLY have 24 hours.
Couple of decades ago, I noticed that some people where making more out of their 24 hours than others. So, I started reading books on time management….like a MANIAC.
I know what you are going to ask me – “Ambal, how would you summarize your learnings?”
Buy me coffee and I’ll give you my version of the summary.
But, until that day you and I get together for coffee, here are few of my observations:
Observation #1 Plutonium and diamonds are NOT the most valuable resources on this planet that you and I call home. I don’t give a rat’s a** about any of those precious things or resources that are commonly put in the precious pile. I urge you not to put crappy stuff in the precious pile too.
Do you know what is the most valuable resource that is ready for you to harvest any time and any place? Ready for it? TIME is the MOST valuable resources on this planet.
I wrote part of this post while waiting to get my latte at Starbucks, another part while waiting to pick up my son. Any place. Any time. You can harvest time. And, notice I wasn’t really waiting while waiting. I didn’t give the power to the barista or even my beloved son to take over my time. I still owned it.
Do you own your time at all times? Think about it.
Observation #2 There is only one chart that you need to know to manage your time. That is the “4 Quadrants of Time”. Read Covey’s Time Management Grid
Observation #3 I believe that success doesn’t happen on one dimension….it is along multiple dimensions.
- Are you growing spiritually?
- Are you growing as a person?
- Are you growing in your career?
- Are you growing on the family dimension?
- Are you growing on the adventure dimension?
- Are you growing on the health dimension?
- Are your growing other people around you?
- Are your growing trees and plants that will out live you?
The list goes on…..and it is based on what is important you and what YOU define as success.
The only want to grow along multiple dimensions is to ensure you invest time (the same 24 hours that you and I have.) wisely in each dimension that is important to you.There is no right or wrong answers. You do what is right for you.
It is important to me to bag peaks. I have a running list of mountains that I have climbed and will climb. It is not an easy task and one to fit into my hectic life. But, it is important to me to stand on mountain peaks and observe. It is important to me to go through that struggle (both physical and mental) of climbing. It is important to me to walk through the forests, the lakes, the tall trees and head toward the peak and immerse myself in the sheer beauty of nature. It is important to me to let myself be conquered by nature as I try to conquer a peak that I have set my eyes on for several years. It is important to me, that my children see (and, hopefully, remember long after I am gone) that I found time to do bag peaks….despite being a 5 foot lean and mean looking woman. So, I continue to do it, all the while trying to make progress on other dimensions too.
What dimensions are most meaningful to you? Think about it.
In my mother tongue Tamil there is a saying (by a lady poet who lived in 13th Century named Avvaiyar) that goes like this –
கற்றது கைமண் அளவு, கல்லாதது உலகளவு
“Katrathu Kai Mann Alavu, Kallathathu Ulagalavu”
Her quote has been translated as “What you have learned is a mere handful of sand; What you haven’t learned is the size of the world” and exhibited at NASA. It can also be translated as “Known is a drop, unknown is an Ocean“.
My learnings about time and my inherent gut level appreciation and understanding (thanks to my Eastern roots and upbringing) of how timeless time actually is …..all those learnings are indeed so miniscule. So, I will continue to learn about time and hone time management skills over a lifetime.
I hope you will do the same.
To Time! Cheers, my friend!
More posts on Time & Moments:
He is the early riser. He wakes up much before me, wakes up the boys and gets things going for our hectic morning routine. He wakes me up at the very last minute possible to help with dropping the boys at school.
If you are wondering “What the heck do you do around the house in the morning?”, I got a very good answer for that.
My valuable contribution in the morning is making 2 hot cups of coffee and sharing, albeit hurriedly, it with him.
Since he is traveling today, I had to drag myself out of bed and help the boys get ready.
I put out two cups and started pouring coffee in them… and then paused… laughing at myself and my wacko morning neuro-muscular memory.
My morning coffee sharer is only a few 1000 miles away. And, my brain is on autopilot trying to pour his coffee.
Jokes apart….here is to all the people who make our mornings just a tad bit easier… with the little and big things they do to support us.
Here is to the Kumar-like-morning-riser in your life and to the Kumar in my life. Hug your early riser on my behalf.
Here is to this beautiful morning that we were fortunate enough to rise to.
Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen states that The Medici Effect is “One of the most insightful books on innovation I have ever read.” Clayton himself is a brilliant author and renowned expert on innovation. I have read many of his books and gotten so much of out it. So, I took Clayton ‘s advise and dug into The Medici Effect.
“The Medici Effect” is a term coined by Frans Johansson and used throughout various industries to describe innovation that happens when disciplines and ideas intersect.
What is The Medici Effect?
The Medici Effect is a phenomena of innovation that occurs at the intersection of multiple fields, disciplines and cultures, by combining existing concepts to create extraordinary new ideas.
The name of the book is derived from the Medici Dynasty, an Italian banking family that came to power in the 14th century. The family’s wealth was able to support artists that led to The Renaissance. The book looks at examples of how Renaissance painters, sculptors, poets, philanthropists, scientists, philosophers, financiers, and architects, shaped historical eras of innovation. The Medici family did not intend the Renaissance, but contributed to it with what Johansson coins as the “Medici Effect”.
If you are a curious person like me, you are gonna wanna know everything there is about the Medicis. So, start here: 7 Things You May Not Know About the Medicis
Check out this great summary: 5 Things Frans Johansson says about innovation
Johansson argues that all new ideas are just combinations of old ideas. In the realm of social innovation, this means that collaboration with people from different backgrounds is the key to success. Read: The Medici Effect’s Frans Johansson On The Intersection Of Innovation And Social Change
“Cultural diversity does not only imply geographically separated cultures. It can also include ethnic, class, professional, or organizational cultures. The mere fact that an individual is different from most people around him promotes more open and divergent, perhaps even rebellious, thinking in that person. Such a person is more prone to question traditions, rules, and boundaries—and to search for answers where others may not think to.”
― Frans Johansson, Medici Effect: What You Can Learn from Elephants and Epidemics
Never in my wildest childhood dreams I would have imagined that I would get up on a Sunday morning and make coffee and pancake; then, follow it up with archuvitta sambar, baby potato roast and beans poriyal.
Never in my wildest childhood dreams.
Life takes twists and turns.
And, I find myself in the kitchen.
I don’t want to romanticize this ACT by saying it is done out of love.
Because, nothing would be further away from the truth.
It is called freaking Karma Yoga (the Path of Selfless Service Karma Yoga is the path of ‘action’).
I also do it because boys seem to look forward to weekend lunch together. And, I would hate to disappoint them.
I rode public transportation since I was 10 years old. The bus numbers were 52B, 18A, 18B and 18G. These buses took me from home to school and back.
India use to be a populated country even when I was 10 years old. In order to avoid more people getting on the over loaded bus the driver would stop a few hundred feet away from my bus stop. That is when I first learnt how to run with my backpack and lunch bag…. all the while yelling at my sister to follow me hastily. I would fall, get up and run again to catch the bus to get to school. I would hop on the foot board of the bus before the driver took off and turn around to ensure my sister had made it. Many times, despite my running, the driver would take off and leave me and my sister stranded at the bus stop.
Over time I learnt to become friends with the passengers, bus drivers and conductors.
In my hometown, you didn’t call the driver as Mr. Driver or the conductor as Mr. Conductor. You didn’t call them by their first name either.. You called them Annen (colloquial usage of word Anna which means Big Brother).
I would say to the conductor (who was typically in the back of the bus and could possibly see me running to catch the bus) – “Annen… please Annen. Don’t take off the bus without picking me up. If I go late to school, teachers are giving me a difficult time. Tell the Driver Annen to pause for just a tad bit more until my sister and I get on the bus. Please Annen.”
Guess what happens when you ask?
That is right.
When you ask, you are given.
For the next several years, the bus conductors and drives would pause the bus to pick up my sister and me. The passengers would give us a helping hand to get into the bus. Over the years, the regular passengers got to know me well. So, if they saw me running and the foot board of the bus was already crowded, they would make away for me. They would also yell to the people (who were not regular commuters) standing on the foot board – “Yenga area ponnu varuthu ya. Othu. Othu. Othu. Vazhi odu. Seekarma.” (Which meant: Yo. Our area girl is coming. Move. Move. Move. Make away. Fast.)
As I grew up, I realized that the person who sold flowers near the Temple was “Poovikara Akka” (the elder sister selling flowers).
The youngster in the grocery store was “Maligakadai Thambi” (the younger brother helper in the grocery store).
The priest in the temple was “Mama” (the Uncle in the temple).
The old man selling coconuts on the corner of the street was “Elani Thatha” (Grandpa who sells coconuts).
The old lady who sold milk was “Pallu Patti” (Grandma who sells milk).
All those people, in different socioeconomic backgrounds, and not related to me by blood.. were related to me in the giant maze of my hometown. If you treated them well, they appreciated it and reciprocated with niceness.
That is what I learnt in my hometown. To treat everybody fairly and nicely…as if they were related to me…as my very own family.
Well, that, and how to run fast, land my foot (without falling or faltering) on the foot board of a moving bus that paused for me to get on and get to my destination.