The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Urgent matters

The Eisenhower matrix is a well-known instrument to assist in making decisions. What it does is provide a way to prioritize activities using four different categories. In essence, the organization results from how important and how urgent a task is.

A task that is important and urgent at the same time then happens to be the one on which to work immediately.

That makes a lot of sense. But at the same time, it remains organized around the urgency of the action. A view that is highly relevant in crises, but much less in ordinary times.

What the matrix doesn’t bring to the foreground is a perspective on the outcomes and when those will be available. Taking this perspective shifts the understanding of what is urgent and what isn’t. It allows us to think about the time activities need to create outcomes.

Friendships, trust, and for example expanding competence all take time. They can’t be activated from one day to the other. They need to develop to become available.

The work that is undertaken today may either serve today’s urgency or tomorrow’s urgency. A question then becomes if today’s urgency is still relevant tomorrow and to whom it will be important then.

But if what we do today is there to serve us in a few months or years, it becomes important to be able to deal with not knowing, with unclear ideas, and to find a way to have the time for those. And to understand that the process needed for such thinking isn’t about aligning data and facts, it is about letting ideas and thoughts become available and accessible. It is about letting images appear and allowing oneself to create them and make them more complete.

It isn’t sufficient to test things to see how they work. It becomes necessary to see, that is imagine, the outcome our actions contribute to.


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