The garage is a certifiable disaster area. You’ve got to fix the front porch steps. That last cord isn’t going to stack itself. And, at this point, it’s best not to even think about the state of the fishing kit.

Entropy is merciless. It knows when you’re off chasing critters, and it takes advantage to seed your life with chores — as though it needed any help.

Elk, deer and antelope season are ancient history, and now that upland bird season is also in the rearview, it’s time to pay the piper… or at least make a good-faith down payment. But where to start?

I employ a simple graph to help me prioritize. The X-axis of this handy tool measures ‘urgency’. I plot ‘importance’ along the Y-axis. In this way, the infinite list of things one can spend time and energy on in this life is neatly divided into four categories: tasks which are both important and urgent (class 1), important but not urgent (class 2), urgent but not important (class 3), and neither important nor urgent (class 4).

Applied to the demands of late winter, this matrix helps us realize, for example, that while a safe and reliable means of reaching the front door is important, the stairs have got a few month’s of life left in them, at least. The porch steps are a class 2 problem.

By the same method, the woodpile may carry the urgency of fickle weather — the next snow, could arrive at any moment. But what does it matter if it’s well stacked? Class 3.

And let’s be honest. Who cares if the garage remains a disorganized mess for the foreseeable future? Class 4.

A big part of being a responsible adult is doing what needs to be done, on-time, and to the best of your ability. But recognizing that you’re never going to outpace the to-do list, and that stubbornly trying to is a recipe for madness, is also a sign of maturity.

In other words, I’ve weighed and measured my various obligations, and can say with a certain and clean conscience that I need to spend the afternoon tying wooly buggers. Spring is coming, and trout wait for no man.

It’s the very definition of a first class problem.

8 Comments on “Retooling

  1. You for got the Z axis of how deep it is say in the Garage or the pile. Been there done that not fun when you are thinking of how to get out and fish.

    • Right… or how deep you have to spread the BS to sell the idea of a day on the water.

    • Thanks Mike, you’re the second person to point out my omission. It’s been so long since I read Covey that I’d forgotten who to credit for the underlying concept (though i wonder if it originated with him). The real question though is could I sell the expanded version — “7 Habits of Highly Fishy Trout Bums” — to a publisher without a getting sued for plagiarism? I think there’s a bestseller in there somewhere!

    • Ha! Sounds like maybe she’s heard similar reasoning before. Thanks Pierre!

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