We can all agree that modern day life can be exhausting. Without a plan in place, everyday demands can pull you in multiple directions to the point where you fell as though you are getting nothing done. We at our happiest when we are making progress. Shawn Achor, the author of The Happiness Advantage says "Happiness is the joy you feel moving towards your potential."
It is hard to see the progress that you are making when there isn't a plan set in place.
Making a To Do list is a start, but how do you determine what to tackle 1st? The next step is to order those tasks by importance. What is going to change your life? What is going to bring you closer to your goals? What is going to make you feel proud? Enter the Eisenhower Matrix.
Eisenhower Matrix is a method of prioritizing your tasks based on their urgency. It helps to determine the activities which are important and the ones which do not deserve your attention at all. The matrix includes 4 quadrants
1. Urgent and Important
2. Not Urgent and Important
3. Urgent and Not Important
4. Not Urgent and Not Important
Quadrant 1: Ugrent and Important- DO IT NOW!
Urgent and important tasks need to be completed instantly. Otherwise, there’ll be negative consequences.
A task that is considered urgent and important
is often from an external source or a result of your procrastination.
For putting tasks in this category, you need to thoroughly analyze your priorities first and then decide if it fits with the "do it now" criteria. If the task needs to be done within a day, or no longer than the next day, it is an urgent task. Do it now.
Unexpected car or home problems
Last minute deadline or project assigned to you
Pressing problems or client complaints
Any type of crisis
Quadrant 2: Not Urgent and Important- SCHEDULE IT!
A task that's not urgent, but important will help you achieve long-term goals. These tasks may not have a deadline, or at least, not a pressing one. Most of your time should be spent doing tasks
that are important and not urgent. If something is important and not urgent, it should be scheduled.
Scheduling the task will ensure you have a time and place to complete it. It'll ensure you achieve your goals and objectives while preventing distractions, and proactively maintaining urgent important tasks.
Personal care and health
Learning new skills
Long term and short term planning
Education and Training
Quadrant 3: Urgent and Not Important- DELEGATE IT!
Urgent and not important tasks require your immediate attention. They also don't move you toward your long-term goals. The problem with this quadrant is that you're lead to think that it's important, but it isn't.
If something is urgent and not important, delegate it. If you take on every urgent task and it's not moving you towards your goals, you're waiting your time. Over time, spending too much time in this quadrant leads to stress which can make you unhappy. Delegate as many urgent tasks as you can- but if you can't delegate a task, make sure you don't spend the majority of your time doing them.
Most emails, messages, and phone calls
Unnecessary interruptions from family, friends, or coworkers
Checking your phone every time you get a notification
Quadrant 4: Not Urgent and Not Important- DELETE IT!
Tasks that aren't urgent or important shouldn't be done. They don't require your immediate attention, nor do they push you forward toward your goals. These things are time-wasters.
Reducing or eliminating the time you spend on distractions will boost your productivity. It's important to learn how to develop boundaries and be firm with them.
If you schedule a time to decompress and relax these things can be done intentionally. Set a time limit for these things. The most important thing is to not let these tasks distract you when you should be doing focused work.
Activities you do when you are avoiding something
Watching tv for hours out of boredom
Mindless scrolling through social media
Going somewhere to please other people
Online shopping for hours
When you organize your day with intention, you will have more time for the things that will push you toward your goals and begin to see progress. Our Live Everyday with Intention planner and habit tracker can get you started. At the end of each month, there is space for you to reflect on what went well and what areas you can work on moving forward.