Living The Dash

A Note from Mona’s Desk

The title of Linda Ellis’s popular poem The Dash tells the story of a eulogy delivered at the funeral of a friend. The eulogy reflects on the dash between the two dates on the tombstone—what a person’s life represented during his time on earth.  The poem calls the reader to consider the question how do we spend our dash.

This poem came to mind when I was asked to write about the time management demands that I face as a small business owner. This year marks the 25th anniversary of idgroup. So a good bit of my dash has been spent birthing and growing this company, while raising a daughter, advancing my education, being a wife and doing my best to contribute to my community. Reflecting on it all, I can say that balance is not something I can write about with any credibility. I often say my life is more akin to dancing on the edge of chaos. So, I don’t have any magic bullets or formulas to share with you about managing the complexities of life. I have learned however, there is an art to learning the difference between what is important and what is urgent. There is wisdom in the Eisenhower Decision Principle, “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” This life principle was popularized in Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and continues to be explored by many other personal development and organizational development professionals.

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The Eisenhower planning matrix provides guidance for us to fit life’s demands into one of the categories: Important and Urgent, Important but not Urgent, Not Important but Urgent and Not Important and Not Urgent. So there you go. I did find the magic bullet. Right? Oh, if life could only be managed in a simple 2 x 2.

As I stated at the beginning of this post, I have learned that managing life’s complexity is an art—an art of intentionally determining what is really important to defining your Dash.