Recently, I was asked about the concept behind the branded note pads which we use internally daily. The note pads are designed minimally with the Sagevane logo and a faint vertical and horizontal line which segments the sheet into four small square segments, or quadrants. There are no labels, instructions, or description of the significance of these quadrants. The ambiguity is intentional, and through its flexibility it empowers the note pad user to experience the power of the quadrant on their own terms.
There are many methods and matrices introduced in management designed to elevate organization, productivity, and efficiency that leverage the power of the quadrant. Below are just a few examples.
The Eisenhower Matrix
The Eisenhower Matrix is a time management and priority assessment methodology leverage the power of the quadrant to aid the categorization of a list of tasks based on their importance and their urgency. The overall concept of this tool is to determine which tasks should be done first (important/urgent), which ones should be scheduled (important/not urgent), which ones should be delegated (not important/urgent), and which ones to disregard (not important/not urgent).
Impact vs. Effort Matrix
The Impact vs. Effort Matrix is an opportunity assessment methodology leverages the power of the quadrant to consider ideas and possibilities based on their impact and effort. Through the use of this tool, the analysis of which items are quick wins, major projects, fill-in activities, and thankless enables rapid, actionable responses to ideas.
A SWOT Analysis leverages the power of the quadrant for strategic planning and retrospective analysis of a project. This tool asks for the identification of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to better understand the internal and external influences of the outcome or performance of the item under consideration.
Business Meeting Notes
A method of taking notes for a business meeting can be simplified and enhanced through leveraging the power of the quadrant by categorizing the noted item as being a discussion point, a decision, an action items, or something that is needed to be communicated. The use of this tool also provides a clear and organized means to transmit a meeting summary after the meeting has concluded.
Conservation of Paper
Beyond the organizational benefits of the quadrant design, there are conservation benefits. We have all used a note pad to scribble a notable point which leaves the majority of the note pad blank. The visual division of the note pad page naturally shifts your mind to see a single sheet as a collection of four-tiny sheets which results in more efficient use of the paper.
As you can see, the simplicity of subtle graphics appearing on a note pad takes the standard utility of a note pad and heightens its value to become a tool for accelerated thought, rapid decision-making, and keen prioritization. Its free-form nature frees the user from a singular method or uses to a broad array of techniques to be applied in the context of the moment. How are you experiencing the power of the quadrant in your daily work?