Creative XMas Presents to Delight Your Staff

Over the past few years, we’ve made it a tradition at Fresh Air Educators of giving unique Christmas gifts to our staff for the holidays (this is in addition to a great Christmas party and 2-3 additional days off between Christmas and New Year’s). Here is a run-down of some of the gifts we’ve given in the past to give you some inspiration if you are currently trying to think of a good gift for your staff.

2007 – First Gen iPod Touch

This was very cool and well received as the iPod Touch had only been released in September of that year and it was still a ground breaking product when we gave it to all our staff 2 months later just before our Christmas break.

1st Gen Apple iPod Touch

PROS:

  • Cool Factor
  • Cutting Edge Technology

CONS:

  • Becomes obsolete relatively quickly

2008 – Canada Goose Parkas

Ottawa, Canada is a cold place in winter. What better way to keep our staff warm by giving them an iconic (and stylish) arctic parka by Canada Goose.  This gift had/has great longevity — come winter time our office turns into a Canada Goose showroom.

Canada Goose Chilliwack Parka

PROS:

  • Awesome top quality product that our staff will continue to use for years (if not decades)

CONS:

  • Tricky to get the right sizing for everyone while still keeping the product a surprise

2009 – Bose Headphones

This gift was a little bit low on the wow factor, but the utility factor was high, as most staff continue to use these daily at work to drown out coworkers around them, as well as used for watching movies while on the plane.

BOSE Noise Cancelling Headphones

PROS:

  • Useful at work to drown out noise from co-workers

CONS:

  • Lack of WOW factor
  • Not everyone will use them

2010 – First Generation iPad

This gift was definitely a bit of a recycling of our 2007 gift, and lacked a bit of the wow factor because the iPad was already available since April, but it still made a great gift (in particular, since our mandate was to make our products more mobile friendly, and putting an iPad in everyone’s hands was a good start).

1st Gen Apple iPad

PROS:

  • Cool Factor
  • Cutting Edge Technology

CONS:

  • Becomes obsolete relatively quickly

2011 – DNA Art / Canvas Prints

Our friends at DNA11 / CanvasPop helped hook up all our staff with either a unique DNA portrait or allowed our more artistic staff to take their own photographs/digital artworks and print them on canvas.  A very cool, unique, and conversation starting gift.  Although this gift received mixed reviews (as it was much less utilitarian than our previous gifts) it was still well received and supported/encouraged arts and creativity.

DNA Art and Print to Canvas by DNA11 / CanvasPop

PROS:

  • Unique conversation starter
  • Supports art & creativity

CONS:

  • Not inherently “useful”
  • Some staff did not see benefit of “art”

2012 – Google Nexus 7

Each year it becomes tougher and tougher to come up with new ideas. This year is a bit of a recycle from previous ideas (similar gift to the iPad) but we have moved away from Apple and exposed our staff to the Android OS (and it is a mini tablet which seems to be the cool “in” thing these days).

Google Nexus

PROS:

  • Cool Factor
  • Cutting Edge Technology

CONS:

  • Similar to previous gifts
  • Not everyone is familiar with Android

The 4-Day Work Week

A few years ago Fresh Air Educators performed an HR experiment: We offered all our full time salaried employees the option to pick between 2 work schedules:

  • Status quo: 5 days @ 7.5hrs at current pay
  • 4-day work week: 4 days @ 7.5hrs – Every Friday off
    Work 20% less but take  a 10% pay cut

Here are some of the learnings:

Myths

You Will Be 20% Less Productive

Working 20% less DOES NOT mean 20% less productivity.  The 80/20 rule kicks in: The most important things will still get done while the 20% dropped will be the least important things (which probably only account for 5% of weekly productivity). By only working 80% of the time, you will still reap 95% of value.

Lazy Friday Afternoons
become Lazy Thursday Afternoons

One challenge I thought we would have is lazy Friday afternoons shifting to lazy Thursday afternoons. In our case, this does not appear to have happened.

Benefit

Obvious Employee Perk

Offering an optional 4 day work-week to your employees is an obvious perk which leads to the following benefits for your business:

  • Easier to hire of top talent
  • Less employee turn over
  • Optional cost savings: If you are looking to save costs, you can offer the optional 4 day work week in exchange for a 10% pay cut.  (Employees work 20% less, but only take a 10% pay cut – so they are coming out ahead by 10%)

Happier, more rested, more productive staff

Your staff will have a long weekend every weekend.  That’s 52 extra days off a year.

Remove Yourself as the Bottleneck

As the business owner, you will receive 20% less requests and e-mails to answer.  Which means that your staff will be spending less time waiting on you.  Although *you* should really also work a 4 day work week,  your 5th day can be spent catching up and doing longer term “quadrant 2 activities” that you normally can never find the time to do.

Negatives

No Work Gets Done on Friday

This applies more to specialized departments like Customer Service, QA, etc… Ie: If a bug is reported late Thursday afternoon, and QA does not have the time to fully investigate it, then we will often get delayed until Monday mid morning before the bug is officially reported to the dev team.

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Actionable Takeaways from the Business of Software Conference, Boston 2012

Here are some actionable insights and take-aways from the Business of Software conference (2012, Boston)

Make your Customers Awesome (aka Badass)

To encourage your customers to spread your product via word-of-mouth, your product should make your customers “badass”. Don’t focus on making your product awesome, focus instead on making your customers awesome. This may seem like a small semantic difference, but what triggers the word-of-mouth snowball is when your customer can impress his/her friends because of something you did.

This is one of the powers of Instagram — it allows average people with no photography skills to start taking awesome pictures that can impress friends and family. Spend some time thinking about what your customers are doing AFTER using your product, because that’s when the word-of-mouth happens.

One exercise to figure out features that can make your customers awesome, is to write a fictional product review WITHOUT mentioning your product or company. Write it solely with a focus on what your product allowed your customer to accomplish.

The Power of Simplicity
+ Scarcity of Cognitive Resources

Cognitive resources are scarce and are easily depleted. If you present multiple choices to your users early on, they eventually run out of resources at a later date. Simplify the things that are not important and save the complexity only if the task is critical.

For example, a complex registration process can impact the ability of your user to successfully accomplish tasks later on in your workflow (payment?).

Another very interesting item related to this, is that your Willpower resources share the same part of the brain as your Conginitive resources. By depleting cognitive resources, you are also depleting willpower resources. This theoretically means that if you are selling Vices or guilty pleasures, there may be an evil strategy where you hit your customer with complex tasks in order to weaken his willpower in order to then push them into one-click buying a guilty pleasure.

Gamification

Although “gamification” is hot right now, it is generally NOT the type of behaviour you want to encourage. It is a behaviour that triggers similar brain functions to those experienced during slot machine use and is not something that promotes long-term loyalty in your customers. Gamification works only in very narrow verticals and in general will not produce sustainable or desired results.

A/B Testing

When running an A/B Test, ALWAYS start with a theory and then use the A/B test to try and prove or disprove that theory. Don’t just run random A/B tests that show and hide various elements, hoping to stumble upon a magical winning combination.

To find out if your test results are statistically significant, don’t trust your A/B Tool. Instead use this formula:Don’t trust your A/B testing tool to determine if your test is statistically significant. Instead use the following formula:

  1. Define N as the total # conversions in A + B
  2. Define D as the difference in # conversions between A and B divided in half
  3. The test result is statistically significant if D squared is bigger than N.

Thanks to Jason Cohen at WP Engine for this formula

The Idea Factory:
Nurture Entrepreneurship in your Organization

This is a framework (un-polished and in need of improvement) to nurture entrepreneurship in an organization (mainly geared towards developers, but not necessarily):

  • Allow employees to submit an idea for a new product
  • Allow employee to work on this “Alpha” version during nights/weekends. No company resources are allocated.
  • Every 2-3 months, employees get to demo/pitch their Alpha product (in various stages of completeness)
  • If a product is “promoted” to Beta, then the employee becomes CEO for that product and is “fired” from his real job in order to work full time on his product.
  • Once the product is “launched”, then the parent company becomes a VC investor in that product and provides funding, resources, etc… (in exchange for ownership)

Company Culture

As an owner, if you don’t “design” your company culture, your employees will do it for you. You shouldn’t let your employees do this, because they usually suck at it.To design your own company culture:

  1. Decide what you care about
  2. Hire people that care about the same thing
  3. Remember the things you care about.

In terms of scaling company culture during rapid growth, “transparency” is a big help. A by product of transparency is that it is very difficult to do stupid things because everyone will call you out on it.

Profit Sharing

Here is the profit sharing strategy that is implemented at Balsamiq.com

  • All employees have a base salary that is better than market value
  • 10% of all profits are shared with employees
  • 25% (of the 10%) is divided equally among all employees
  • 75% (of the 10%) is divided based on seniority (with the more senior employees receiving more)
  • Additionally, 2% of all profits are divided equally among employees for them to donate to the charity of their choice

Customer Service

Customer service should be like a “par 3” golf course:
  1. A problem is reported / collected
  2. The perfect answer is developped
  3. Customer says thank you

If there are more interactions than this, then you are not spending enough time either understanding the problem or finding the perfect solution for the problem.

How our jobs are killing us

Sitting down for more than 3 hrs a day decreases your lifespan by AT LEAST 2 years on average. Try to stand up and move around for a few minutes at least once every hour, or consider getting a standing desk.

Salesmen and the Art of Selling

Turns out that contrary to popular belief, the best sales people are NOT extroverts. They are NOT introverts either. They are “ambiverts” — which is the majority of us: those that are not on either extreme of the scale.

Interesting Sales Pitches

The Question Pitch: If you ask your customer a question, and you know what answer they will come up with in their head (and it’s a favorable answer), then this is much more compelling than just telling them in the first place. (Should landing page headlines be questions to our customers?)

The Rhyming Pitch: Rhyming messages trigger a cognitive part of the brain that makes them more memorable and seem MORE TRUE. “If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit”

The Pixar Pitch: All pixar stories are fundamentally structured like this:

Once upon a time __________________
every day ________________
until _______________
because of that ____________ and because of that _______________
until ___________________

(think of Saving Nemo or any other Pixar movie). Apparently a sales pitch like this is very effective. Should you consider a story like this on your About Us pages? Or perhaps below the fold on your landing pages?

Uber for Tow Trucks

The tow truck business is a $5 Billion dollar annual market. However finding a tow truck (if you are not a member of AAA or CAA) is usually a very painful experience.

Urgent.ly provides an Uber for tow trucks appIf you are broken down in the middle of an intersection your number one priority is to find someone who can come rescue you quickly. Unfortunately doing a search on Google will only find you the closest Tow truck office and not the actual tow truck. This usually means that you need to call a few tow truck operators before you find someone with an available truck that can come get you in less than an hour.

Price is usually a secondary concern and you are not in a great position to negotiate anyway. Not surprisingly most tow trucks have a 100% close rate on incoming calls for help (if they have an available truck).

The solution to these problems is to use an “Uber for Tow Trucks” app. Only recently have such apps become open for business:

  • Urgent.ly – Available nationwide (USA) and fully integrated with MapQuest.
  • Honk – Available nationwide (USA).
  • AvailableTow – Canada only. Currently only available in Ontario, but more locations coming soon.
  • RapidTow – Canada only (currently only available in Toronto but expanding nationwide). Subscription based model that requires 48 hours for account activation. Forces you to plan ahead for the unexpected.
  • TowChoice – Currently only available in Hawaii and Portland. Not much progress since initial launch.
  • TowDeals – Web based search.

Tow Trucks are a $5Billion market

…and uber-like towing apps benefit all the players involved:

  • The consumer looking for a tow gets a tow truck in the shortest time possible and sees the fares/rates before they commit to the tow truck.
  • The Tow Truck has shorter tows as most of their tow calls are nearby. More tows per day means more revenue in their pocket.
  • The environment is happy because shorter tows means less environmental impact.

Potential Partners

  • AAA or CAA (in canada) – Although both Urgent.ly and Honk seem to want to disrupt these automobile associations more than partner with them. AAA and CAA could also be strong competitors if they ever get their stuff together.
  • Apple Maps and Google Maps – Either of these two partnerships would be huge. Integrating directly into Google or Apple maps would open up access to millions of smartphone users without the customer ever needing to install the app (since it would be integrated into the Maps software installed on your phone). I suspect that Google is holding off partnering with anyone until Uber enters the towing space.
  • Uber – Probably more of an opportunity to be acquired by Uber once they decide to enter the towing space, but it’s hard to resist getting access to their existing customer base. Uber is also a killer competitor if and when they enter this space.

Game Changers

Right now it seems to be a 2 horse race between Urgent.ly and Honk. However there are some big questions looming on the horizon:

  • Will Uber enter the towing space? I believe it is just a matter of time before they do.
  • Will Google Maps / Apple Maps integrate with any of the providers? I believe Google Maps is going to wait until Uber enters the space (since they already integrate with Uber for ride sharing).

Background:

Back in early 2014 my car broke down and I was faced with a task that I had actually never attempted before: Call a tow truck. At first I was confused and not sure how to proceed.

  • Who do I call?
  • How do I get them here the fastest?
  • How do I know they are reputable?

I eventually went the Google Maps route and found the nearest locations (this was the nearest tow truck OFFICE and not the nearest tow truck). After being bounced around a bit, I was finally referred to a towing company that was available, and 20 minutes later they showed up.

Turns out that this tow truck operator converts 100% of incoming calls into sales.  When you are stuck in the middle of an intersection you don’t care about price, you just want a tow ASAP.  (There is also an opportunity here to setup click to call AdWords campaigns for tow truck operators)

Purify Water in 6hrs without Chemicals or Filters

I’m sure most of you have heard and are aware of the millions of people around the world that lack access to clean water.

It turns out the fix to this problem is AMAZINGLY SIMPLY:

  1. Take an empty transparent bottle
  2. Fill it with water
  3. Leave it out in the sun for 6 hours
  4. Drink the water
The SODIS Process (short for Solar Water Disinfection)

SODIS is a simple procedure for disinfecting drinking water.  Contaminated water is poured into transparent water bottles (glass or plastic) and placed in the sun for six hours.  During this time, the UV rays of the sun kill all the germs.

SODIS water disinfection in Indonesia
SODIS water disinfection in Indonesia

Does anyone else feel that we’ve been wasting a lot of time and money building solar panel powered water purification plants?  All this time we could have harnessed the sun’s rays directly.

This is a great, simple, and inexpensive solution that should have been put into place YEARS ago.  Thumbs up to the SODIS program for running with this.

More Resources About SODIS

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Polyphasic Sleep for New Parents

Polyphasic sleep refers to the practice of sleeping multiple times in a 24-hour period (vs monophasic once per 24-hour sleep).  There are some that use polyphasic sleep and alternative sleeping schedules to try to achieve more time awake each day (in the most extreme case – The Uberman – you sleep only 20 minutes every 4 hours for a total of only 2 hours of sleep). Polyphasic sleep recently got an uptick in popularity due to Tim Ferris‘ book “The 4-Hour Body“.

I’m a big fan of stupid human experiments and so I was itching for an opportunity to try Polyphasic sleep.  My opportunity to try came with the birth of my first child — It seemed to make sense (in an insane kind of way): When you have a new baby you are kinda forced to adopt polyphasic sleep (i.e.: You get woken up a lot).  So what better time to give it a try?

However, unlike traditional polyphasic sleepers, my focus was NOT on maximizing my awake time.  My focus was on the reverse: Maximizing sleep time.

Here was my modified sleep pattern:

  • Try and get as much “normal” sleep between 10PM to 7AM.  Don’t force yourself to stay awake, don’t wake yourself up at a specific time, etc… If you can sleep uninterrupted the whole way through, go for it!
  • Once you wake up, you adopt a modified Uberman sleep pattern during daytime hours: Every 4 hours, you take a 20-45 minute power nap.  If you wake up at  6AM, you take a nap at 10AM, 2PM, 6PM, and go down for the count at 10PM.  If you wake up an hour earlier or later, the schedule gets shifted by the same amount.

Tips:

  • Seize napping opportunities: If it’s 3 hours since your last nap, and you have an opportunity to take a nap.  DO IT!  You probably won’t have the chance right at 4 hours.  If you go past 4 hours, take a nap the next opportunity possible.
  • Don’t oversleep.  Once that 45 minute alarm goes off, get up!
  • Don’t forget to nap.  If you skip a nap, it’s very hard to catch up again.
  • Carry an “instant-anywhere-nap-kit”: a blanket, inflatable pillow, eye blind, and ear plugs to allow for instant naps anywhere. (Maybe this is a product idea for someone? The instant nap kit?)

I’m not claiming there is a scientific basis for this, but it worked great for me. I followed this routine for about 2 months (until our baby awesomely decided to sleep 12 hour nights), and I barely felt any effects from the sleep deprivation.

Use Hashtags to Increase the Reach of your Tweets

If you are like me and don’t have a tone of Twitter followers, make sure you leverage hashtags when tweeting out to maximize the reach of your tweet.

In the post below, notice how I added the #analytics #usability and #ux hashtags.  This will increase the chances of having your tweet seen by users following those 3 topics/hashtags, and may get you a couple new followers each time.

Use Hashtags to extend the reach of your tweets

The only rule to this is DON’T SPAM

  • Limit yourself to MAXIMUM of 3 hash tags (or less).
  • Make sure the hashtags are RELAVENT to your post

Everytime I tweet something out, I get a couple of extra followers here and there because of the hashtags I use.

Related:

Lead Generation Forms Suck and I Hate Them

Lately, I’ve been getting a lot tweets with links to supposedly awesome resources.  But when I click on these links, I get a big disappointment: A long and overly complicated lead generation form.

Example #1: HubSpot

Hubspot tweet about
“Sweet!  Clicking on this link will help increase my productivity!”

Clicking on the link brings up the lead generation form below:

HubSpot Lead Generation Form
HubSpot Lead Generation Form http://ow.ly/98jvj

Maybe it’s just me, but when someone tells me “Click here to get a list of productivity apps”, then I expect to get a list of productivity apps.  NOT a lead generation form.  Just give me the content already.  Don’t trick me into clicking your link and waste my time by trying to get me to fill out an overly complicated form that I know will result in more marketing coming my way.

There’s nothing wrong with lead collection forms — but set the expectation from the get-go. “What apps do you use to increase productivity? Register to download a free e-book”.  That won’t get nearly as many clicks.  But at least it’s honest.  At least it doesn’t waste my time.  At least I know what I’m getting myself into.

FYI, I unfollowed HubSpot after receiving several more of these.  And I am now less likely to ever use their products.

What HubSpot did wrong

  • They did not set proper expectation in their tweet
  • Their lead generation form was overly complex
    (12 form elements, 10 of them required)
  • The newsletter opt-in is confusing: There is a checkbox at the end of the form that reads “I’d like to receive more awesome resources from Duct Tape Marketing!” – Who is Duct Tape Marketing??  I thought this was HubSpot???  (Duct Tape Marketing are actually the producers of the e-book — but that’s not obvious)
  • The e-book cover is terrible – If you actually read the cover, you realize it’s just the same words repeated over and over again.

What should HubSpot do to fix it?

  • Change their tweet to: “What apps do you use to increase productivity? Register to download a free e-book that have some you may have missed!”
  • Reduce the number of form fields in the lead generation form.  Ideally, just collect e-mail, ’cause that’s all you really need to deliver the e-book.  (Less value as a lead, but less annoying)

Example #2: Optify

Clicking on the link brings up the lead gen form below.
(Also, extra annoyed by the promoted tweet)

Optify Lead Generation Form (http://bit.ly/JYMoiA)

Filling out the form gives you this e-mail (with a mediocre document)

So far, nothing unexpected.  But then this e-mail:

This is clearly an automated e-mail (addressed to asdfasdf), unsolicited (I never opted in to anything), and commercial in nature.  Hmmmm… Feels a wee bit spamy.  Certainly not what I was expecting for signing up for a crappy e-book.

What Optify did wrong

  • They did not set proper expectation in their tweet
  • Their lead generation form was overly complex
    (Only 7 form elements, but confusing headings like “Business e-mail”)
  • The e-book content was average at best – Certainly nothing in there compelling enough to make me a customer.
  • SPAM! The e-mail in which you send me your content is supposed to be your up-sell opportunity.

What should Optify do to fix it?

  • Change their tweet to: “Thinking about website redesign? Register to download this guide: Managing #SEO during a site redesign”
  • Reduce the number of form fields in the lead generation form.  Ideally, just collect e-mail, ’cause that’s all you really need to deliver the e-book.  (Less value as a lead, but less annoying)
  • Consider one of the following:
    A) Adding a “I would like to hear more about Optify’s digital marketing initiatives” checkbox
    B) Include a short solicitation in the first e-mail containing the content
    C) Clearly state that “By submitting this form, you are agreeing to receive marketing messages from Optify”

The Four Quadrants of Time Management

 

Time Management Matrix

Everything you do in life can be classified by it’s urgency (Urgent or Not Urgent) and by it’s importance (Important or Not Important). This creates the matrix illustrated above with four quadrants:

  • Important and Urgent – Crises and Emergencies
  • Important but Not Urgent – Prevention, Planning, and Improvement
  • Not Important but Urgent – Interruptions and Busy Work
  • Not Important and Not Urgent – Time Wasters

We often spend our lives focused on the Urgent things instead of the Important things. In business as in life it is extremely important to ask yourself: “Am I doing this because it is truly important or am I doing this because it is urgent?”

Important and urgent things should not be ignored: Crises and emergencies. However, the more time you can spend on the non-urgent but important things (prevention, planning, improvement) the less crises and emergencies you will experience..

Below is a more detailed explanation of each quadrant along with some examples:

Quadrant 1: Important and Urgent

Quadrant 1 - CrisisFire fighting mode: Crises, real hard deadlines for important project, health & family emergencies, etc…

These are urgent and important things that you should not ignore. However, spending too much time in fire fighting mode will lead to stress and burn out. You will be caught in a never-ending cycle of crisis management.

The only way to reduce the time you spend in this quadrant is to be proactive and to spend more time on the important things BEFORE they become emergencies (see Quadrant 2 below).

Quadrant 1 Example:

Dealing with a heart attack is an Urgent and Important problem that cannot be ignored (but perhaps by living a healthier lifestyle such health emergencies can be reduced or avoided all together).

Quadrant 2: Important but not Urgent

Quadrant 2 - Prevention and PlanningThis is where you should spend most of your time.

Quadrant 2 is all about planning, prevention, capability improvement, relationship building, recognizing new opportunities, etc…

Spending time on these important things should lead to clear vision and a balanced life, discipline, control, and fewer and fewer crisis situations.

Quadrant 2 Examples:

Frequently buying flowers for your wife/girlfriend “just because”
Eating healthy and exercising to avoid future health issues
Preventative maintenance on your home or car
Reading, Learning, and Education
Forming bonds and strengthening relationships with your friends and family
Self renewal and spending time on things that inspire and uplift you

Quadrant 3: Not Important but Urgent

Quadrant 3 - InterruptionsMany of us spend a big portion of our time in this Quadrant confusing the Urgent things for the Important things.

Interruptions, ringing phones, most emails, etc…  Spending too much time on the unimportant urgent things leads to a very short-term focus with continual crisis management.  Your plans and goals will seem increasingly useless since you are unlikely to have time to devote to them.  Your relationships and reputation will suffer and you will feel victimized with no control over your life.

Quadrant 3 Example:

You have scheduled an important meeting with a coworker 2 weeks ahead of time. This person has very limited time and so you carve out a 30 minute window to deal with a very important matter. As you sit down and start the meeting, your phone rings.

The phone is screaming: “Pick me up! Pick me up! Pick me up!”. Most people will pickup the phone and sacrifice the very important meeting for the likely not important but urgent ringing phone.

Quadrant 4: Not Urgent and Not Important

These are the time wasters in your life.

Spending too much time on non-urgent and not important things can lead to dependence on others for your basics, loss of jobs, irresponsibility, etc…

Quadrant 4 - Time WastersQuadrant 4 Examples: 

Trivial busy work
Mindless web surfing
Watching too much TV
Lots of pleasant activities.

How do I use this to make my life better?

Where we are and where we want to be

A. Identify Quadrant 2 activities.

  • Write down all the Quadrant 1 and 3 activities you routinely do (all the Urgent stuff)
  • Write down how you can prevent these things from reoccurring or from becoming emergencies in the first place: These are your new Quadrant 2 activities.

B. Free up time for Quadrant 2 activities

  • Look at all the things in Quadrant 4 and STOP DOING THEM!
  • Look at all the things in Quadrant 3 and stop doing them too.  This is more difficult as it involves saying NO to people.
  • You should now have time to spend on Quadrant 2

C. Schedule time for Quadrant 2Schedule Time for Q2

  • Schedule time to do Quadrant 2 activities.
    (Put them in your calendar just like a meeting).
  • DO THE THINGS YOU SCHEDULED!

D. Reduce Quadrant 1

  • The beauty with spending more time in Quadrant 2 is that it should slowly chip away at all your Quadrant 1 activities.
  • As you reduce your Quadrant 1 activities you have more time for Quadrant 2,, creating a fly-wheel effect.

Simple, right?

Not quite.  The Question “What is important to me?” usually does not have a simple answer.

Example 1: Going to a Sporting event
(Hockey, Baseball, Football game, etc…)

Which quadrant does this fall into?  The answer is it depends on YOUR priorities and what is important to YOU. On the surface it looks clearly like a Q4 item – a time waster.  Not urgent and certainly not important.

But, it could be a Q2 event (important) if you consider the event to be an opportunity to spend quality time building relationships with your parents, children, or friends .

Example 2: Watching TV

Clearly another Q4 item: A time waster.  Or is it?  If watching TV is a stress reliever for you and serves as a way to wind down and chill out after a hectic day, it could very well be a Q2 activity.  Just as long as you frame it correctly and consume it in the right way.

To be successful with this method you must have a very clear understanding of what is important to you, what your long term goals are, etc… For more information about how to plan your week around this framework, see my blog post on How I Plan My Week.

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