Links for 2004-11-06

4 replies on “Links for 2004-11-06”

Tom, for the love of Bob, open Barbelith to new members! I’ve been looking at that “membership policy is under review” crap for far longer than two weeks! I don’t usually use so many exclamation points, but I’m at the end of my rope! Please help!

As far as “urgency” and “importance” goes, I think those axes are taken from Covey’s “The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People”. I haven’t read it, and I agree that they’re not 100% independent, but people seem to find it useful. So “get pasta off the stove” is urgent but not, in the larger scheme of things, that important; “explore meaning of life” is important, but not immediately urgent.

But the problem with them is that they don’t seem to give you useful information about how to approach things on your list – I mean if they’re urgent you should always do them first right? Urgency implies importance. Getting the pasta off the stove might not be important (as you say) but it’s clearly got to be done before “remortgage home” no matter what else is on your list or – indeed – how important remortgaging your home is. It just doesn’t seem to work.
The application makes this even worse by not making it clear which axis is being labelled with what criteria. Is importance on the horizontal axis or vertical axis? Is the most important stuff on the right or the left? If these things aren’t clear these graphs are totally useless – I don’t know which part of the graph is telling me what to do right now!
I’d be interested in difficult versus reward (or similar terms) because they give you a really nice clear picture of what you’re trying to do. They offset each other. One thing might be easier but deliver less. Time for time then, it wouldn’t matter which one you did first (and you could choose which one to do based purely on how much time you had available to you). However, outside that equilibrium point, you’d be able to see really easily which things were easy to do and really bloody useful. If easy was at the top and hard was at the bottom, and high reward on right and low reward on the left, then you’d be able to glance at them and say that everything on the top right should be done first as they were easy and would have significant impact, then – if you were short on time you should do all the things which had less impact but were easy, and if you had more time you should do all the things that were harder but more rewarding. And all the stuff that was time-consuming and not particularly rewarding could be ignored completely or put off until another time. Immediate prioritisation.

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