Stephen Covey invented the Time Management Matrix. The four quadrants of the matrix help you make to-do lists based on levels of urgency and importance.  The time management matrix is a useful sorting process to figure out what to do next. Instead of making one long to-do list, you determine what is next by measures of urgency and importance.

Over the past week, we have found out the hard way that oil executives are Q2 challenged. The second quadrant (Q2) of the time management matrix–not urgent/important– is the most difficult quadrant to act on in everyday life. Imagining and acting on important tasks that are not urgent can be difficult.  When a task isn’t urgent, when you are not on deadline, it is more difficult to accomplish the task.

We are cleaning oil spills the same way we did forty-one years ago. Tasks that just might advance emergency  and clean-up technologies have sat in the Q2 (not-urgent/important quadrant) without being addressed, for over four decades.

Some of my friends have said to me “why does it take a disaster to get us to pay attention?” The answer  lies in an analysis of why Q2 tasks get overlooked.  Q2 tasks are hard. They have no immediate pay back. There is no marching band waiting to fete the accomplishment.

Get serious about your  Q2 tasks and take them on in your everyday life. We all do damage to the environment when we ignore or postpone  important tasks that are not urgent but cumulatively dangerous.

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