Most people do too much. Their lives are cluttered with unnecessary stuff and a confusing, burdensome array of choices. They waste themselves responding to the urgent while ignoring the important. They’re busy, but not all that effective. They’re burning calories they don’t need to.
In contrast, highly effective people think differently and are focused and calm. They concentrate on only the most important, and on the one thing that really matters.
So, instead of throwing more effort at whatever situation or problem you face, consider first, what you can discontinue.
The key to getting more with less is more about stopping than starting, it’s about knowing what to quit doing, what to say no to.
Create white space in your schedule, in your mind and in your life as a whole. It’s about emptying your days of those things that don’t justify your time and effort because the return on investment is so poor.
Imagine taking some of this new white space you’ve created by uncluttering your life and investing it in those things that really matter and count the most, work best, and bring the greatest rewards getting you 5,10, 15, 20 or even 100 times improvements.
The first thing you need to do is create white space in your life. Eliminate the deadwood.
The only place to get the time to create this white space, in the beginning, is from your Quadrant III and Quadrant IV activities.
To work in Quadrant II requires you to be proactive because Quadrants I and III work on you. To say “yes” to the important Quadrant II priorities, you have to learn to say “no” to other things.
Most people would say that the reason they are not as effective as they should or could be is a lack of discipline. On the surface, this sounds reasonable but if you give it deeper thought, the real problem is that their priorities have not become deeply ingrained in their hearts and minds. They haven’t internalized Habit 2 – Begin With The End In Mind.
A lot of people recognize the value of Quadrant II activities, whether they identify them as such or not. And they attempt to give priority to those activities and integrate them into their daily lives through self-discipline but without a principle center and personal mission statement and guiding principles, they don’t have the necessary foundation to sustain their efforts.
A Quadrant II focus is a worldview that grows out of being principle-centered.
It’s almost impossible to say “No” to the unnecessary urgency of the whirlwind, the popularity of the Quadrant III or the pleasure of escape of the Quadrant IV if you don’t have a bigger “yes” burning inside.