How to Get into the Productivity Zone

Are you feeling lost in the demands of life?

Do you feel invisible?

Do you feel like you have no time?

Have you ever tried “cluster-thinking,” or “cluster-brainstorming?”

Let’s do a cluster of areas we want to focus on for our lives. This is not an exercise to overwhelm, this is an exercise to bring clarity and focus to our lives. Take a moment and draw out your life.

What are the big things that press on you? Home? Husband? Each child? Callings? Put a circle for each area of demands or areas that you are actively managing. Now make spokes out from each circle and list the things you feel you need to do there. Some of those will have spokes and yet small circles extending.

Now do this again, but this time cluster where you actually spend your time.

Look at both charts. Are you there? Did you include yourself? Too often we are overwhelmed and see all the things we do and need to do. When we really get in a crisis pattern and are overwhelmed, we do not see ourselves. But how do we break this cycle?

Have you read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey? He includes a Time Management Matrix of four quadrants:

1. The Important/ Urgent 

(This is an area we need to manage.)

These are probably areas you listed in your first cluster showing all the areas you want to focus on. Here are the deadlines, the crisis, and pressing problems. For homeschool moms it is often the constant battle between running a home and homeschooling their children. When these moms are homeschooling, they are feeling guilty because they are not cleaning. When home presses on them enough the tend to drop homeschooling to deal with the home. Then they feel guilty that they are not homeschooling. If they have little ones, a home business, or both, life can become a 3 to 4 ring circus of suffocating demands. This is crisis living at its worst!

2. Important, but Not Urgent  

(The Zone of Victory.)

This tends to get pushed to the back burner. Here is where you carve out time and prevent the life from becoming a constant battle of guilt and crisis. This is where we bring focus to our lives, magnifying (bringing focus to) our place as wives, mothers, and things God is calling us to do, but doing so in His wisdom. 

This quadrant is the quadrant of planning, building relationships, prevention, developing good habits, developing good routines, wholesome recreational activities, personal development, and learning. This area is the key to overcoming and preventing the crisis living of quadrant one.

It is through by living in this quandrant that we bring simplicity, harmony, and victory to our lives.  

3. Not Important, but Urgent

(We need to avoid these.)

This area includes things that have an illusion of importance, such as faking ourselves out with busy work, maybe not our problem, and often pressing matters that have little impact. Sometimes these are phone calls, some email, some meetings, or trending popular activities. Are we "thickly involved in thin things?"

We need to minimize our stress by recognizing that living in this quadrant we give up our personal power.

4. Not Important and Not Urgent

(Wasteful, trivial, and escape)

This is an area of low stress and is where we go to escape by being entertained. If this is used wisely and rarely, this can reduce stress. If not used wisely, this can become a roadblock to growth and productivity. This is a place of chilling out through internet surfing, gaming, trivia, time wasters, busy work, etc.  

Entertainment has its place. However, when entertainment is where we spend our time we give up our personal power. 

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Please consider living more life through Zone 2, the "Important, but Not Urgent"and enter the Productivity Zone , the Zone of Victory! 

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