PRIORITIES: Eisenhower’s Decision Matrix

So I’ve been reading The Art of Manliness a lot lately.

And by “a lot lately,” I mean I’ve been following The Art of Manliness on Pinterest and repinning some of their pins and actually reading some of those.

But the ones I’ve read are really, really good. For men and for women. And that’s what brings us here today. It also might serve as an explanation of where I’ve been the past 3 months, in case you were dying to know. (In which case, you’ve come to the right place, because not only will I give you the answer, I will hopefully give you some tips on getting your priorities in line).

It actually started with a post on the Emma Approved blog: “Ask Knightley: Workplace Productivity.”

Here was the question:

“I’d like to up my productivity in the workplace. Tackle the important things instead of just the urgent. How can I do that?”

And “Knightley” answered, linking to this image from The Art of Manliness:

Important vs Urgent | Write Lara Write

Click to Pin

As a designer, I was really tempted to redesign this decision matrix for you with writerly things, but since The Art of Manliness already made an image, and since their post on the subject is already really well written and thorough, I’m going to direct you there. BUT WAIT. Don’t leave yet. Okay, go ahead and go to The Art of Manliness. But then come back here. Because I’ve got some more goodies for you.

Did you read it?

Seriously, though, did you? Because I’m not going to restate the significance and mind-blowingness that is in that post. You have to read it.

Thanks. Now here’s some alliteration, a.k.a.

a mnemonic device

to help you remember what you just read:

Q1: That’s business.

Down below that is Q3: That’s busyness.

Q2 is beingAs in…being a better human being in general, or being a better writer specifically.

And Q4 is beguilement, which is a fancier, politer way of saying… it’s BS.

And now for:

some visuals

to drive the message home and hopefully inspire you.

Quadrant 1: Important and Urgent

Important vs Urgent | Write Lara Write

Important vs Urgent | Write Lara Write

Sources: Today’s WorkProgress Not Perfection

Quadrant 2: Important, not Urgent

Important vs Urgent | Write Lara WriteImportant vs Urgent | Write Lara Write Important vs Urgent | Write Lara Write

Important vs Urgent | Write Lara Write

Sources: Who You WereSurround YourselfReading FictionWriter’s Block

Quadrant 3: Not Important, but Urgent

Important vs Urgent | Write Lara Write

Important vs Urgent | Write Lara Write

Sources: First StepInspire or Drain

Figure out what you can cut from the “busyness” of your life so you can spend more time being a writer. And by being a writer, I mean WRITING.

Quadrant 4: Not Important, Not Urgent

Try to avoid this:

Important vs Urgent | Write Lara Write

And instead do this:Important vs Urgent | Write Lara Write

Sources: Tumblr DistractionQuit Slackin

for writers

Decide what, for you, is business, being, busyness, and beguilement.

For me, and probably for you, business is my full-time job. I’m not a full-time writer, I’m a full-time mom. Sometimes dishes will have to take priority over writing. Le sigh.

Being is writing and reading and doing and living. Writing makes you a writer. Reading like a writer makes you a better writer, so long as you keep writing. Doing and living give you material for writing. Blocked? Read my post on Writer’s Block.

Busyness consists of everything I have to do for other people. As an at-home mom, I’m constantly on demand. Blogging falls into this category of Not Important (at least when it comes to getting my novel finished) but Urgent (because I do want to keep updating this blog regularly). What does that mean for the future of this blog? Same as it always has—I do so when I get a chance or when I have a topic I feel strongly enough to spend the time blogging about. I’m all about quality over quantity, which means that I don’t post frequently. Maybe I would if this blog were my job (Q1), but it isn’t.

Remember you can always ask me a writing / editing / grammar question on Twitter or in a comment here on the blog.

I’m on Facebook too, but not as often as Twitter. If you want to lark about during your Q4 time, I’d love to be of assistance. (Sometimes we live tweet movies!)

But then, you know, we should really get back to writing and such.


(If you are reading this and aren’t participating in NaNoWriMo, but could still use motivation to get writing, read on anyway!)

It’s the first Monday of NaNoWriMo. Are you needing some motivation? Are you online when you should be writing? Hmmmmm?

I added a secret little page to my graphic design website a few years back and made it my browser homepage. You know, in case I need a little guilt trip to motivate me to GET OFF THE INTERNET.

Because let’s face it, what is more distracting than the entire online universe?

Well, here’s the webpage. I’m not sure what browser you use, so I’m not going to give you instructions on how to make it your home page. But I do suggest considering making it your homepage if you consistently find yourself online when you should be writing.

Of course, the better plan would be to turn off your internet for a few hours every day when you have your writing time. Turn off your wireless, disconnect the router, or…if you are really ambitious and live with someone with a twisted hunger for power, you can have someone randomly change the password for your wireless every day, every week, or every couple of hours.

Do your research in chunks, when you aren’t writing. If you need to look something up, write that on a sticky note or in a different document on your computer, and then KEEP WRITING. Look up all that stuff later (if it’s absolutely necessary), or else leave it as a few gibberish words in all caps and bright red, and fix it during your revision time.

NaNoWriMo is not for revising, it’s for writing. Write as much as you can. Turn off the internal editor for the rest of 2012—visualize its demise, and then resurrect it in January. If your internal editor just WILL NOT SHUT UP (like mine), do what I do.

Also, to mix a few metaphors, you need to let your cake cool before you can frost it, so give your novel a month or two to cool off before you come at it with a scalpel of revision.

Write now, dear ones! Write NOW!