Do you have so much to do that you don’t know where to start? LOLLLLLL, course you do!
I don’t know about you, but I often do this thing when I have a to-do list as long as my arm where I bunker down with “busy work”, spinning my wheels, achieving quick and easy but meaningless wins, but never getting to the really important stuff.
You know, I’ll answer Facebook posts (thumbs up!), post a pic of my lunch on Insta stories, check the mail, answer a few emails that probably didn’t need answering (why do we send “thank you” emails – they just fill everyone’s inboxes and give us all the shits).
Meanwhile, I haven’t done the research on changing my health fund, which could actually save me hundreds of dollars, and I haven’t finished my business plan for the year because that requires clear air and some time and space to think.
So those things continue to be shuffled to the bottom of the list every day, permanenty in the “too hard” basket. And I keep paying too much for health insurance.
But this isn’t an ad for some rad health fund, what we’re here to talk about is the cure for this level of overwhelm and wheel-spinning.
We’re talking about the Eisenhower Matrix.
Sounds cool, right?
As the name might suggest, the Eisenhower Matrix was inspired by US President Dwight D Eisenhower himself.
I’m not sure if you know this, but Dwight D was a productive guy, and he knew a thing or two about sorting the urgent from the important:
“Who can define for us with accuracy the difference between the long and short term! Especially whenever our affairs seem to be in crisis, we are almost compelled to give our first attention to the urgent present rather than to the important future.”
The matrix was first put into a delightful diagram by author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey, but it’s now popular around the world as a prioritisation tool.
The point of it is to help us to work out what’s important and what’s urgent – and then, what’s important AND urgent. So if you feel like you’re forever running around putting out fires, but never getting to what’s really important, this is the tool for you.
Here’s one we made for you – feel free to print it out daily and fill it in with stuff that’s in your brain. It will help you sort out what’s important and what’s just keeping you busy
So now you’ll have four types of tasks:
- Urgent and important – do those today.
- Not urgent and important – schedule these in your calendar and make sure they get done.
- Urgent and unimportant – delegate these to someone else if you can.
- Not urgent and unimportant – delete and forget. These tasks are dead to us.
The idea is that the matrix will not only help us to prioritise the right things, but it will also help us to clear our minds and stop running around in circles. And we could all do with a bit more of that, right?