May 5, 2021

In teaching time management, Stephen Covey and Hyrum Smith taught four divisions for how we might categorize possible uses of our time:

1. Urgent and important
2. Important but not urgent
3. Urgent but not important, and
4. Not urgent and not important

Essentially, where most people get confused and waste their time is between Quadrants 2 and 3. Quadrant 1 will demand your attention. It creates anxiety. Quadrant 3 also screams at you because it must be done now or the opportunity may expire. A ringing phone is urgent. It is in Quadrant 1 if it is an offer for a job interview. It is in Quadrant 3 if it is a survey call. Quadrant 3 screams at you, even though it may not be relatively important. Quadrant 2 does not scream at you, even though it is important. Covey taught that a key secret of success is in prioritizing Quadrant 2 over Quadrant 3--even though Quadrant 3 is louder. What is in Quadrant 2? A few examples:

Long-term planning
Creating processes in business

Of course, these priorities depend on your values. But the most important results of your parenting don't typically show up right away--but are nonetheless very important. The health benefits of exercise do not typically show up right away. But over time a failure to exercise can create disastrous results, where exercise includes undeniable long-term health benefits. It is unlikely that failing to go on a date this weekend means that you will never meet your eternal companion. But I think you would agree that meeting an eternal companion and building a relationship is very important to most of us.

As mid-singles, we tend to be pretty busy people. In many areas, it feels like one person trying to do the work of two. It is often tempting to push off important self-care like exercise and sleep, to accomplish the more urgent items on our task list, even if many of the tasks are in Quadrant 3.

In my values system, dating is in Quadrant 2 for Latter-day Saint singles. It doesn't demand your attention. If you don't go on a date this weekend, nothing fundamental is going to change because of that. BUT, if you don't go on a date this weekend, nothing fundamental is going to change BECAUSE of that. (Yes, I am saying the same thing twice, but with different emphasis in the second sentence.) The stakes are very high in dating. But it also requires time and patience, and a lot of lesser priorities clamor for our attention. Almost every priority we have feels more urgent--even if they aren't as important to your long-term happiness.

I am urging you to look at the priorities in your life, and make sure that where you are spending your time is in accordance with your values--whatever that means to you. I am especially passionate about self care for mid-singles. Mid-singles with kids tend to put everyone else before themselves and operate from a chronically empty tank. If we focus more on Quadrant 2 and a little less on Quadrant 3, Quadrant 1 will start to shrink and demand less of our attention.

In my experience, you don't need to be obsessive about dating. You just need to consistently make time for it, just like sleep and exercise and other Quadrant 2 priorities. If you do that, I believe you are going to find what you are looking for.

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