The Miracle Box
Earlier today I was speaking to Barry – one of the partners here at Raffingers and we ended up having an interesting conversation about something that was triggered by a meeting with a client.
The client is financially in a great position, his company are driving a nice steady profit and he is content with how things are going. That being said, there are a lot of things that he simply hasn’t had the time to focus on and if he had given those things the time they deserved, the business would probably be in an even better position and therefore turning over an even larger profit.
This got us both thinking…
Why as humans do we tend to push aside the tasks that are incredibly important but just not that urgent? No one is chasing us, there is no deadline, so we just never get to it. Why do things get swept under the carpet when those same things are what could make the most impact to not only the business, but our personal lives too?
Barry then gave me his Albert Einstein eyes, before starting to scribble up a diagram to explain his theory on this, and whilst lacking in any creative flair, it was rather interesting. We named this theory “The Miracle Box”.
The theory is simple. Almost nothing is both really urgent AND really important, as a result those things tend to take care of themselves. They are immediately apparent precisely because they are both important and urgent. Because these tasks don’t come around often, the majority of people find themselves working on urgent tasks that really are not very important. Let me put it this way: how many of you have been asked by a more senior member of staff to do something by the end the day? Suddenly, you must drop everything that you are doing to ensure that piece of work gets done, so you push aside your important tasks for this new urgent task, even though it’s not as important as what you were already working on.
Most people try and maintain a healthy balance between carrying out their important and urgent tasks, and their not important yet urgent tasks. Doing this ensures that you slowly but surely get through your to-do list, only to come in the next day to 100 emails with more unimportant yet urgent things to do.
Next up we have the tasks that are neither important, nor urgent. With all of the not important yet urgent things that are thrown your way, there is never often a chance to do tasks that are actually not important or urgent. The sad truth is that often these tasks only get completed if you decide to give yourself ‘a quiet day’, run out of other things to do or they become urgent.
Now, whilst I’m probably telling you things you already know, the next bit is the ‘ta-da’ moment you have all been waiting for. The miracle section of the diagram that has the smallest circle inside it is of course, the tasks that are important but not urgent. This tends to be the section where all of the magic happens, it’s the section that can potentially have the biggest impact on your businesses top-line, it’s also the section that hardly anyone focusses on. Why? Because it’s incredibly hard to focus ON your business whilst you are stuck working IN your business.
This miracle box is the business plans, the 5-year goals, the marketing strategy, the much needed rebrand, the systems update, the organisational review. This is the section that could have made a dramatic impact on our clients profit and work-life balance, however it is also the section that our client has had on the bottom of his list for far too long. This is because whilst he knows the important, he is stuck doing time sensitive, unimportant tasks and living for the deadlines.
If our client sounds like you, then consider our advice – spend some time on the important things that you believe will make a true impact on your business, and we promise you’ll find yourself with way less tasks on your unimportant/urgent list.
“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.”
–John D. Rockefeller
Written by Ashlee Bloom – Marketing Manager
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