Green activities are vital but not urgent. Green Means: GO there as much as possible. Green reminds us that theses activities make money. They are necessary for the existence and continuation of the business. On a personal basis green activities are the ones that bring quality and balance to our life. It is through green activities that we build and maintain strong relationships, serve others, and improve ourselves. When doing these activities that are vital, but not urgent, we are typically in a state of composure, alignment, and harmony.
Green activities will often haunt us later if we procrastinate them. I was reminded of that when my son, a college student, lamented the fact that I was too busy to read to him as a child. Yes, a green activity can be as simple and crucial as that. All activities that are tied to our innermost values are green including activities that seem small or mundane, and those that are fun and recreational. Green activities include: long range planning, exercise, relationship building, sales calls, family time, etc.
Know When to use CAUTION!
It isn’t easy being green. One reason is because yellow activities challenge us so much. Yellow activities are urgent but not vital. Yellow activities create an illusion of the need for immediate action. When we succumb to the temptation to handle these activities as they occur, we are operating in a state of delusion. When we resist the temptation to respond “now” our plans proceed as scheduled and theses activities are rescheduled so they can be addressed at a more appropriate time in the future.
For example, you are preparing for an imminent conference call just as a co-worker shows up for a chat. It’s urgent because the co-worker is there and you must respond. At the same time, the activity being brought to you is far from vital. Caution! These kinds of urgencies can interfere with your concentration of power. The consummate self-manager knows what to choose and what to refuse and has fortitude to say “No! Not now!”
Know When to say NO!
The fourth type of activity is gray, gray means RETHINK THIS ACTIVITY! Gray activities are not urgent and they are not vital. These are activities, behaviors, and practices that are of little or no value to self and others. When involved with these activities, we are primarily engaged in trivia.
These types of activities become an escape for those of us who aren’t coping constructively with our daily activities. For example, a recent study reveals that the average American employee spends 30 minutes a day surfing the Internet on company time. Another example is opening junk mail when you know you are going to throw it in the recycle bin anyway. Some gray activities are not only trivial they can be destructive, such as countless hours spent in office gossip, reading junk mail, unnecessary tasks, etc. Avoid wasting gray matter on gray events!
So how do you operate? Where do you spend your hours and energy? What is the state in which you are operating most of your time? Is it harmony (green), upheaval (red), illusion (yellow), or trivia (gray)?
By attaching the use of vital and urgent to something as common as the traffic light you can quickly categorize an activity and easily remember how to proceed.
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