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Would This Tool Help You Wrangle Your Workload?

June '15

A few weeks ago a client described a helpful technique she discovered for handling her work assignments. Then this same approach was mentioned a week later when I participated in a workshop for coaches.  So I headed for the internet to learn more about this tool called the Eisenhower matrix. Frankly I was surprised I haven’t come across it in the many time-management workshops I’ve attended.

Based on Eisenhower’s belief that there are “two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important,” this matrix is designed to make work decisions easier and increase productivity. I could immediately see its value and also suspected that a man who was a renowned  World War II general, the 34th president of the United States and president of Columbia University might just know a bit about decisions and productivity.

Essentially, the matrix divides your to-do list into four categories with a different action specified for each category.

– IMPORTANT and URGENT with the directive ~ Do Right Away.
(ex: crying baby)

–  IMPORTANT, but NOT URGENT with the directive ~ Schedule to Do Later.
(ex: exercise)

–  NOT IMPORTANT but URGENT with the directive ~ Delegate to Someone Else.
(ex: answering phone)

–  NOT IMPORTANT and NOT URGENT with the directive ~ Eliminate or Ignore.
(ex: watching TV)

As you can probably imagine, most folks tend to focus on tasks with the urgent tag and fail to attend to the ones designated as important, but not urgent. The simple action of scheduling those important, but not urgent tasks will lead to better attainment of your life and work goals

To begin, why not take a look at the matrix below and apply it to your tomorrow’s to-do list. In which quadrant does each item fall? Does that information affect how you plan to handle each one?

__________________________________________________________

 URGENT                                                           NOT URGENT


M       IMPORTANT and URGENT                              IMPORTANT and NOT URGENT
P
          (Do Right Away.)                                                 (Schedule to Do Later.)
R
T
A
N
T
 

N 
O
      NOT IMPORTANT AND URGENT                  NOT IMPORTANT and NOT URGENT

            (Delegate to Someone)                                       (Ignore or Eliminate)
M
P
O
R
T
A
N
T
___________________________________________________

In addition to sorting out your daily to-do list with this box, you can use it to examine what you want to accomplish in a week, or a month, or even a year.

Perhaps you already use this tool. Do you find it helpful? Or maybe you’ll give it a try and decide to put it into practice on a regular basis. Please let me hear about your experience with it. Love to know!

Happy Summer!
Bonnie

 

 

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