The Matrix Revisited

Okay total play on words – this has nothing to do with The Matrix Revisited the movie. It is related to the Eisenhower Matrix of productivity.

Here’s how it works.  Imagine a four by four grid.  Each quadrant represents the degree of importance and urgency any given task may have. 

Quadrant I tasks have high importance but not are urgent (Important/Not Urgent.)  Exercise is one example.  Exercise is high on the priority list, but often neglected.

Quadrant II tasks – Important/Urgent are highly important and highly urgent. Entrepreneurs spend the brunt of their time here.  They are constantly putting out fires, trying to get ahead of the game.  The end result – burnout. 

Once burned out, they retreat to Quadrant III, Not Important/Not Urgent.  This escape fuels Quadrant II tasks because Important/Not Urgent tasks are not addressed in a timely fashion, and they then end up in the Important/Urgent quadrant.  Quadrant IV tasks – Not Important/Urgent– are rampant and spreading like wildfire with the advent of text, notifications, email etc.  Few of us can resist the ping of an ‘incoming’ email (especially if you are waiting on a reply) or the pull to check if your Facebook or Instagram post is favourable.

Productive individuals spend most of their time in Quadrant I – Important/Not Urgent.  Quadrant II tasks (Urgent/Important) are dealt with, but also evaluated to ascertain why an important task became urgent.  Both quadrant III and quadrant IV are avoided.  If you find yourself in Quadrant III – Not important/Not Urgent – you need to evaluate why you find yourself in that frame of mind.  Chances are you are not attending to Important/Not Urgent tasks related to self-care, putting out fires constantly and shortchanging your power-up moments. In summary:

  • Quadrant I – Important, not urgent (exercise)
  • Quadrant II – Important, Urgent (business matters)
  • Quadrant III – Not important, not urgent (watching TV sitcoms)
  • Quadrant IV – Not Important, Urgent (social media)

In the Matrix revisited, I have substituted in Meaningful and Connection to aid in answering the question: “How to have a great life?”  I believe a great life is one that is full of meaning and connection.

Both connection (socialization) and purpose in life (meaning) are identified as pillars of health in aging well.  In fact, social isolation as we age is worse than smoking on our health and well-being.  Furthermore, individuals that describe their life as meaningful with social connection are happier and have fewer regrets as they reach the end of the rainbow of life.  Who wouldn’t want that? 

  • Quadrant I – highly meaningful with low connection activities (writing blogs)
  • Quadrant II – highly meaningful with high connection (exercising with friends)
  • Quadrant III – low meaning, low connection (watching TV sitcoms)
  • Quadrant IV – low meaning, high connection (social media)

Imagine this thought experiment.

What if these two matrixes – Important and Urgent, Meaningful and Connection were blended?  What if we ask “Is this important?”  “Is it meaningful?” and “Does it promote/enhance connection in my life?” of each of your daily routines?  How different would our lives become if we focused only on those routines and activities that answered yes, yes and yes to those three questions? Imagine how that might change your life! 

Meaningful, connection and highly important! BOOM – great life.

Let’s take a relatively mundane example – brushing your teeth.  Is this important – yes.  Daily self-care is important.  Is it meaningful? Yes. Brushing your teeth is prevention against tooth decay.  Does it promote/enhance connection?  Yes.  A lovely smile with fresh breath is a wonderful thing on a crowded subway commute! Meaningful, with connection and important – PRICELESS combination!

No doubt there are many Matrixes just waiting to be described.

How would you personalize your life matrix?  Now there is a question worth pondering at great length!  Set your brain to it!  See where it takes you….. 

I bet there is a 3am epiphany waiting!

Buff it up my friends,

Coach Karen