This dialogue between a father (friend) and his son made me reflect on the Eisenhower Matrix and its application to the family in these days of lockdown through coronavirus.

Apparently the son came out of his bedroom, indignant and practically shouting: “Are you using the internet? It’s crashed and I need to talk to my friend. It’s urgent.” He got the term wrong because the father’s reaction was: “Come on, man, you’re always talking to her.”

Important and  urgent have nothing in common; they are not synonyms. Learning the difference between the two is something that will benefit children for the rest of their lives.

If we extend the idea, the use of the Eisenhower Matrix by all members of the family – A, B, C and D times – can be fun and useful for the dozens of daily negotiating scenarios every day.

For example, giving the bedroom a good clean can be D Time or B time according to each person’s perspective (if you think it is A Time then you have a problem) and an opportunity to agree actions using a common language.

If all the family used the dictionary definition of important and urgent then the possibilities for subjective interpretations would be reduced.

Would the following dialogue really be so outlandish?

– Are you using the internet? It’s not working well and I’m in A Time. I need it.

– I also need it.

– Sure?

– Well, I suppose it can wait. I’m in B.

(For reasons known only to a certain telecommunications provider my friend only has ADSL and fibre, despite his best efforts in trying to contract fibre with them – so, my apologies if someone feels offended by the beginning of the story.)

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