31 October 2010

On the Values of Quadrant 2 Planning

Today, I'd like to share my thoughts on one of Stephen Covey's principles on what makes an effective person.

Specifically, from "Habit 3: Put First Things First" which is a chart based on the cross sections of importance and urgency.

From the graphic, you'll see that Quadrant 2, that which is important but not necessarily urgent, tends to be activities that build better self esteem, sharpen the saw and pay off in the long term.

When Ash Williams was transferred to the middle ages to prevent an undead horde from rising up and killing everything in sight, he was instructed by his immediate supervisor to find a reference volume in the satellite records office and remember the words "Klaatu barada nikto."

The words were a Quadrant 2 item, important, but not urgent. Ash, distracted by quadrant 4 activities like sleeping with the princess and yelling about boomsticks, neglected the words that allowed for the safe removal of the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis and allowed his supernaturally created doppelganger to lead an undead assault on mankind, creating more unnecessary work for everyone.

Marion Crane had the perfectly reasonable motif of reinvesting her embezzled cash so she and her boyfriend could start a new life together.

Marion was a Quadrant 3 planner, addicted to urgency. Whereas she was quick enough to take an opportunity that presented itself, her relationship based on financial conditions would be doomed to codependency and unhappiness, not very empowering at all.

Besides, since Marion did not think Long Term(Quadrant 2), she failed to check with AAA or travel agencies about reputable hotels or motor lodges.

Marion's lack of planning and foresight got her
a.) lost on the highway, depriving her of valuable time to focus on wise venues to invest her funds
b.) a stay an an overcharged hotel that didn't even have hot water in the showers.

c.) a premature end to her career as a freelance investor.

Science Officer Ash seems a bit more mature by comparison, undoubtedly using the long commute times of his profession to read medical journals and listen to books on tape. He knows what's important, but he was a Quadrant 1 planner, still addicted to urgency.

When Executive officer Kane showed up in the airlock with a parasite on his face. Ash valued the importance and the urgency of Kane's predicament over the long-term importance of quarantine protocol.

Kane failed to sit out full quarantine and as a result, succumbed to a case of food poisoning that put everybody off their meals.

Michael Myers was a Quadrant 2 planner with a very direct mission: reassess and dispose of young career women in the temporary child care industry.

Others in his position might try to start killing people right away, but Myers knew the value of foresight and did not suffer from an urgency addiction. Michael Myers started with sharpen-the-knife activities by acquiring an inconspicuous wardrobe consisting of a jumpsuit and a William Shatner mask, before continuing with his Quadrant activities.

One might imagine his chart would go something like this.

Quadrant 1
-Dispose of Babysitters who look like my sister Judith
- Escape from Sanitarium

Quadrant 2
-Get Clothes
-Get Knife
-Get Mask

Quadrant 3
-Sort Mail
-Lunch with Mrs. Vorhees

Quadrant 4
-Kill Dr. Loomis (?)
-Addams Family Marathon on Channel 4

1 comment:

  1. I'm not suggesting you actually kill anybody, so please don't.