September  2014
A Want vs. Need Color Matrix
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September 2014    The Headscratcher Post © Headscratchers LLC     Edition 106
A Want vs. Need Color Matrix

The difference between want and need results in procrastination, urgency, quality,
timeliness and a whole slew of factors that affect how we work, and get things done.
Here’s a simple exercise. 
Create a simple things to do list, with three columns;
Column 1: The thing to do
Column 2: Do you want to do it? (Yes or No)
Column 3: Do you need to do it? (Yes or No
Task “To Do” Want
(No or Yes)
(No or Yes)
1.  Mow the lawn No Yes
2.  Write performance reviews for my reports No Yes
3. Go to the grocery store to pick up dinner No Yes
4. Eat Ice Cream Yes No
5. Spend quality time with my family this weekend Yes Yes
6. Paint a closet door No No
Now create another box and put your to do list items in the appropriate box based on the Want (Yes/No) and Need (Yes/No).  See example below
Need = Yes

Mow the Lawn

Write performance reviews

Go to grocery store

Spend Quality time with family
Need = No

Paint closet door

Eat ice cream
Want = No Want = Yes
Now do some Thinking !
First the easy ones:
Red:  The items in red, you don’t want to do, and don’t need to do …  Why are these on your list? Take them off.
Green: You Want to do them, and Need to do them.  Not only will you do these in a timely matter, but the quality of the work you produce, the time you spend, the results of these will be high and you’ll be enthusiastic about.
Now the squishy one’s.
Blue:  You don’t want to do these, but you need to, you are obligated to, it’s your job, you customer is waiting, your family is waiting, you promised, etc.   You Procrastinate!   You would be wise to try to find a need, and get it into green, or determine there really isn’t a need an get it into red and take it off your list.  Do you really need to mow the lawn?  Well eventually, but maybe hire the kid next door to do it and take it off your list.   Or wait until you get a notice from your HOA or an embarrassing note from your neighbor and then you’ll need to do it.
Yellow.  Ah, this is the worst.  You want it, but you don’t need it. So if you do it, you’re taking time away from those things that you need to do.  You rationalize this as “therapy” or “relaxation” or “self endulgence”.  This requires self discipline and maturity.  Change your want to a No, and then the to-do goes into the red and you can take it off your list, OR, go ahead, justify it, make it a Need, be at peace with it, and make it green, and just do it.  Just remember this: when it comes time for the blue items (the ones you procrastinated on), and you run out of time, or money, maybe the next time you’ll think twice about your yellow items and make some of them go to red instead of green.
The Takeaway: Find something exciting about the to-do items you need to do, but don’t want to and move them from blue to green, OR ask if it's really a Need, and if not, then get it to Red and forget it … and for those Yellows … give yourself a gift and do a few of your wants even though you don’t need them, but don’t do them to the detriment of those things you need to do !
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