In our last lesson, we learned about working from the bottom up and how doing this will create more time for you later.
The bottom-up means working on important and urgent problems first before working on important non-urgent problems before working on non-important matters.
Let me give you an example to help you visualize what this means.
Suppose that you are the air traffic control commander at Beijing Capital International Airport and you are responsible for directing flight traffic. In your position, what do you think is your most important goal?
You’re absolutely right… your first and primary concern is to ensure that the airplanes leaving the runway into the air and others landing onto the runway do not crash into each other. This is your primary concern. If fail this primary goal, people will die. This is your most important and urgent goal.
There are also secondary urgent matters. Then, what is secondary? It means that the matter is important but not the most important thing.
As commander of the control tower, you control a complex multi-layered system. On the top and most important layer, the planes must depart and land in the right order safely.
First, you will want to focus on the airplanes departing the runway and lifting into the sky. This is most important because the planes descending from the sky cannot land unless there are open runways and parking spaces.
By focusing on the immediately urgent and most important first, can you see departing planes will create the space that arriving planes need to land on? If you reversed the order and focused on the opportunity that was urgent but not important, then you would have created less space not more as landing planes would need to find what little available space they could.
Also, as air control commander, you cannot focus on planes leaving and arriving 2 hours from now if you must attend to traffic congestion and confusion that is currently taking place on the runway. But, if you free up this space by taking care of the important matters first – that is the departing planes and then landing the arriving planes and you do this in an efficient matter, you will create time for yourself – time that can used to plan for future planes to arrive and depart efficiently.
Your ability to control the activities of the airport greatly increase if you work in an organized and logical fashion focusing on what is important and what is right in front of you first.
As this clears, you can begin to focus on other secondary matters that are still very important.
However, as you are focusing on this non-urgent important matter, you still have planes landing and departing that you must be aware of.
In your life, just like in the airport, you must first identify and control urgent and important matters.
Only after you eliminate these important urgent matters will you be capable of completing this essential important but non-urgent matters. Can you see it?
So, in order to live in the second quadrant--- those important but non-urgent matters mentioned in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, we need first to deal with important and urgent matters in front of us.
What do you do with urgent but unimportant matters? These are the 80% that Peter Drucker told us we should delegate or simply remove them. If they are unimportant they do no need to be completed.
It is impossible for you to skip important and urgent matters and instead focus on the important non-urgent matters. You cannot let plans land unless you first let planes depart into the sky and make the space available for the other planes to land. In the same way, you cannot focus on those important non-urgent matters until you make the energy and the space available for you to work on them first.
So work from the bottom up – from the runways to the sky, from the important and urgent to the important and non-urgent.
Let’s focus on what methods we can use to focus on these important and unimportant urgent matters. How can we eliminate these quickly?
There are four possibilities:
*Do it yourself；
* Delegate it to others；
*Delay and do it later；
This is 4D principle. Do. Delegate. Delay. Delete.
The order is important. First do what is most important and urgent yourself. If something is important but not urgent, consider delegating them to others.
For tasks that are unimportant and non-urgent, delay these.
And if something is really unimportant, delay these.
So you have your gameplan. Do. Delegate. Delay. Delete. The question becomes, which tasks get which D? Which are your important urgent matters and which are not important?
To do so, you must integrate everything we’ve learned so far.
First collect all of your tasks and assemble in one place – a place called your inbox.
The Inbox is a central location where you collect all of the tasks no matter how important or unimportant or how urgent or not urgent.It can be on paper using paper or pen. It can be on an Android or iPhone app. It can be on your computer.
The simplest form is of course paper.
Only after you have written all of your tasks down, can you begin classify them according to 4D principle. If you can’t write all of them down in one place at one time, you won’t be able to determine which is truly most important and urgent......
And only after you have included all of the tasks can you properly select critical few items that deserve special attention to planning – these important non-urgent tasks.
So, in summary, there are two important conclusions from today’s lesson:
*Assemble all of the tasks and responsibilities in your brain into one place, your inbox;
*Classify them as one of the 4Ds: Do, Delegate, Delay and Delete.