Life is short: Here’s how to live it with purpose

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You’ve just spent the day in what feels like customer service purgatory, dealing with far too many people with bad attitudes.

You’ve spoken with customer service, customer care, collections, and billing in regional offices and in the Philippines. You’ve explained your problem over and over again only to be hung up on or politely told, “There is nothing that I can do.”

Though your problem is minor, it’s causing a major amount of frustration and taking up a lot of your energy.  Welcome to the task of dealing with Comcast.

If you do not treat your time like a precious commodity, these types of issues can fill your life.

How do you keep this from happening?

Live your life with intentionality – and in the correct quadrant.

In his “How to Plant a Business” series, Joshua MacLeod, President of River Birch Industries, refers to Stephen Covey’s Time Management Matrix and divides all life tasks into four quadrants. They are:

Quadrant I: Important/Urgent – This quadrant involves tasks that are burning hot with priority. Procrastinators often find themselves living in this quadrant because they leave tasks to the last minute, when it then becomes urgent.

Quadrant II: Important/Non-Urgent –This quadrant is for tasks where planning is recommended or required; often time spent planning for the future.

Quadrant III: Not-Important/Urgent – This is a task that takes up time but does not yield an appreciable benefit. For example, when Facebook posts alerts, you feel a sense of urgency, but the alerts are not really important.

Quadrant IV: Not-Important/Non-Urgent – These tasks might be pleasurable but they don’t help to build your future. For example, watching television might fall into this quadrant.

How do you spend your time?

Depending how you view it, the task of calling Comcast might be urgent now but of very little consequence in about a month or it might be in the quadrant of not urgent and not important. Regardless of which quadrant you put it in, it’s not a task that will help you build a better future. If all of your tasks fell into quadrants three or four, MacLeod suggests you would either be on a “path to mediocrity” or a “path to nowhere.”

Perhaps calling Comcast could have been delegated to someone else?

“Leaders prioritize their time,” says MacLeod.

Reorganizing your time until you spend the majority of your week in the quadrant of important but non-urgent tasks will help you prepare for a better tomorrow. Living in a place of urgency causes fatigue. If the majority of your time is spent in Q1, you’ll eventually drop tasks either by accident or on purpose, moving you from a life of intentionality to a life of exhaustion and overload.

Stated differently, Tony Robbins suggests that you can’t consistently remain in a heightened state. Your nervous system will try to give you a break by forcing you to become depressed. Robbins calls this phenomenon the Crazy 8. It’s the yo-yo between living in an urgent and depressed condition and is the physical manifestations of the two extremes.

Find yourself living in this state but ready for a change?

“Identify your problems,” says Robbins, “but give your power and energy to solutions.”

Creating a new vision for your life requires intentionality. Living in the quadrant of important but not urgent tasks means that your emotions do not guide your actions.

Of course, living in this quadrant takes planning and patience. This is a lifestyle that moves nimbly toward the vision you have set for yourself a little each day. This lifestyle means you get back on track despite how you feel and you don’t view time-wasters or attention-grabbing activities as the end of the road but instead as merely bump in the road.

At some point, we all have to deal with our own Comcast-like problems. The point is we must choose to take the time to envision something better for our lives, and bridge the gap between what we see in our mind and our reality with action. This type of action requires planning and consistent movement forward.

Do you have a clear vision for where you are headed? I challenge you to create clear, measurable goals that stretch your abilities. Next, prioritize your time so that you can begin to achieve your vision. Create a list of things that you can ignore or delegate. Most importantly, keep moving forward.