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Enhance Your Life: Going Beyond What’s Important to What’s Crucial

Enhance Your Life: Going Beyond What’s Important to What’s Crucial
    Climb past what’s important to discover what’s crucial in your life

    When taking on the project of improving your productivity, you’ll undoubtedly come across two words that go hand-in-hand with the practice: important and urgent. These two words often intertwine depending on what your priorities are and how well you’re keeping up with what you’ve got on the go.

    Knowing what the difference between important and urgent is a challenge for many, but once you’ve been doing it for a while it gets easier. It may not get easier to get the important stuff done before it turns into something urgent, but that’s a whole other matter. Another challenge is to remember that this is your time being spent, whether it is on a project or a task. How you plot out what each tasks means to you and to your time is worthy of strong consideration because if you simply jot things down without contemplating how they’ll be impacted by the time you have to offer and how they’ll impact the time you have to have available, you’ll end up in a state of overwhelm — and a very long to-do list.

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    Categorizing the levels of importance and urgency is another necessity. There’s no definitive way to organize these thoughts, but a common method is to use Stephen Covey’s Four Quadrant Matrix.

      Stephen Covey’s Four Quadrants

      Covey’s matrix is still a resource for many who are trying to decide how and where to spend their time. But considering that it appeared in the book First Things First back in 1994, back when time management and productivity strategies didn’t have the benefit (or informational overflow) of the Internet, it could use a retooling. That may sound bold, but while the idea of Covey’s matrix still has some merit, the problem lies in the words used in the matrix itself.

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      The Problem with Important

      The problem with important these days is that it is thrown around with little regard to what it means. In fact, it’s used so much that the word itself doesn’t seem to be as, well, important as it once was. Things that are important often are just things that have to get done, but have little resonance beyond that – they aren’t attached to anything deeper or more meaningful in the greater scheme of things. Anything with the word urgent attached to it will always feel stronger because of the need for it to be dealt with sooner rather than later. Even in passing, when someone says the word “urgent”, it creates a feeling or sense of immediacy. Unless someone is looking you straight in the eye, is genuinely in the moment and says the word “important” can it even come close to having the impact intended. The only way it gets closer is if you feel that what they are attaching to the word important to is actually important to you as well.

      The word crucial, however, doesn’t get thrown around as much. Better still, when someone uses the word in the same manner as they used important as mentioned above, the ability to feel how much it matters to them all the more. When something is said to be crucial, it means that it is “of great importance” by definition alone. It’s possible that the other manner is which the word crucial is used – decisive or critical, especially in the success or failure of something: i.e. negotiations were at a crucial stage – adds instant power to the word it wouldn’t otherwise have, but the effects are still the same. When something is said to be crucial, you know it’s important. When something is said to be important, well…results may vary.

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      The key to really doing what matters on an overall scale – using David Allen’s Horizons of Focus as a measuring stick – you need to first earn to separate the urgent from the important and then curate what’s important to what’s crucial. Everything you do should lead to the great goal of what is crucial to you living a happy life. The amount of things that need to be done that are urgent should be minimal, because they generally serve to keep you occupied from what’s crucial to your overall goals in life. The amount of things that are important should be examined to separate what is important over the short term versus the long term. You may find that what you thought was important really isn’t at all. Often, these things are just things that will become urgent if you let them slide for too long, but they aren’t of any overarching importance. It’s those things that are crucial to you getting to where you want to be that will define your outcomes far great than anything else you do. You need to be clear on those so that you can map out how you’re going to achieve your goals – and your dreams.

      A New Productivity Paradigm

        Covey’s matrix with a “Crucial Cube” inserted

        Rather than use a quadrant to look at how to measure your actions and projects going forward, I suggest you do what I’ve done, and place a box in the dead center of the diagram. It’s what I call a Crucial Cube.

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        Sure, it isn’t exactly a cube (but Crucial Square doesn’t sound as appealing), but by adding it to the diagram the focus shifts to what’s crucial to you overall rather than what isn’t. Placing it in the centre draws focus, allows you to start there and finish on the outer realms or vice versa. The key is it gets you looking at what you really want to achieve and still displays the supporting things you can do to get there. The Crucial Cube feeds off of the remaining quadrants and the quadrants are fueled by what’s in the Crucial Cube.

        Getting clear on what’s crucial is the most beneficial thing you can do to enhance your productivity, your balance and your life. Doing so could be the productivity wake-up call you need, the jumpstart to getting where you know you can be – and want to be. Moving beyond the word “important” and making a conscious choice to use the word “crucial” instead will power up your life in a simple, yet profound way.

        The Crucial Takeaway

        Adopting a new habit is never easy, but with focus and perseverance, it can happen a lot faster. Take some time to really look at how you’re managing your time and your life, as well as what words you’re using in the process.

        • Understand urgency and how to deal with it.
        • Investigate importance so that you can separate what is from what isn’t, bringing power back to the word by doing so.
        • Cultivate what is crucial and you’ll enhance your life.

        Give the diagram above a try. Write down what you feel is crucial to (and for) you inside a Crucial Cube. Then build the matrix around that, allowing the items inside to feed off the cube’s contents and vice versa. Let me know how it worked for you in the comments.

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        Last Updated on February 15, 2019

        7 Clever Goal Tracker Apps to Make the Most of Your Business in 2019

        7 Clever Goal Tracker Apps to Make the Most of Your Business in 2019

        There’s nothing more fulfilling than the sense of accomplishment you get by achieving your business goals.

        Gone are the days when you used pen and paper to take notes and manage your work day. As millennials are relying heavily on technology to manage almost everything from finances to their personal fitness, goal tracking apps are also becoming increasingly popular.[1]

        In this piece, we will shed some light on 7 such goal tracking apps that you can use to streamline your operations.

        I have handpicked these apps from a software rating web services site Best Online Reviews. Industry experts review software on these websites and help businesses to find the right solutions to meet their various, unique business requirements.

        1. Aha!

          Aha! is a California-based roadmap software provider and offers excellent goal tracking app that lets you define goals and objectives for projects. The app also lets you list out primary tasks and allows you to focus on them.

          Hosted securely on the cloud, the app offers enhanced communication tools for sharing updates through emails with select colleagues or the entire organization.

          Aha! is available on multiple platforms such as the web, Android, iOS, Windows, etc. and starts from $59 per month per user.

          Available for Web

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          2. Asana

            Asana is one of the more popular project management apps available for businesses. It lets you organize all your team’s work, such as setting up and tracking goals, creating tasks, sharing files and notes, etc.

            Asana also allows your team to organize all their tasks and focus on urgent priorities. Moreover, the app offers a delightful user experience that makes task management simple and easy.

            Asana is available on multiple platforms from PCs and Mac to iOS and Android. Multi-channel adaptability makes Asana the perfect choice to track your goals anytime, from anywhere.

            Available for iOS | Android | Web

            3. Basecamp

              Basecamp is an excellent tool to manage all your team’s projects and keep your activities organized. It opens a new thread for every task and that task is visible by the whole team.

              With Basecamp, you can schedule tasks, add to-dos, discuss tasks by adding comments, add files and attachments, and much more.

              The app is available on both mobile and desktop platforms and costs $99 per month. It is available on the web, Android, and iOS platforms and offers excellent multi-channel access.

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              Available for iOS | Android | Web

              4. Forecast

                An efficient tool for successful task management, Forecast is also a popular goal tracking app. Apart from effective milestone tracking, the app also offers convenient status reporting.

                Forecast uses project history to let you know the status of your current work. Moreover, it uses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to provide high-quality assistance. It is a robust app for small teams to track goals and time.

                Forecast is available for free and comes with Android and iOS app support. The premium version of the app starts from $19 per month per user.

                Available for Web

                5. Wrike

                  Wrike is a cloud-based collaboration and project management app that successfully manages projects from start to finish. It lets you create tasks, track work progress and retrieve reports with ease.

                  The app also gives real-time work updates and helps team members to understand their work priorities. A custom report builder helps you to generate in-depth reporting.

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                  Wrike’s premium version is available from $9.80 per month per user and is available on multiple platforms.

                  Available for iOS | Android | Web

                  6. Todo.vu

                    Todo.vu is a unique platform that delivers enhanced customer relationship management (CRM), task management, time tracking, and billing functionality in a single app.

                    According to Capterra, it’s an ideal app for freelancers and consultants, who are looking for tools to improve efficiency and transparency.

                    Although the app is free to use with basic features, the premium plan starts from $5 per month per user. The app also comes with calendar sync and task reminder functionality to keep you on track, always.

                    Available for Web

                    7. Flock

                      Looking for a tool to simplify task management? Try out Flock.

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                      Flock comes with enhanced goal tracking and additional features like instant messaging.

                      Moreover, Flock offers tons of integrations with tools such as Google, MailChimp, Jira, Dropbox, etc. It is a powerful tool that’s packed with robust features such as reminders, notes, polls and to-dos.

                      Even though you can use the tool for free, the paid version of Flock is available from $4.50 per month per user.

                      Available for iOS | Android | Web

                      Conclusion

                      Businesses need high-quality project management tools to streamline collaboration and operations. Enhanced goal tracking apps make it easy for your team to improve productivity by keeping its tasks organized.

                      But it’s essential that you choose an app that meets your unique business requirements. You can choose from the above-mentioned apps to streamline operations and improve the productivity of your team.

                      Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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