Smash Your To-Do List!


Feeling like there is so much to do, but so little time? Swimming in a pile of paperwork and hastily scribbled Post-Its? Feeling overwhelmed by a mounting list of task to complete? Did your boss just slap a pile of papers on your desk and ask you to build a time machine so you can complete them two weeks ago?

My favourite tool for prioritising tasks is the Eisenhower Decision Matrix. It will help you to come back to the surface when you're drowning, and when used regularly it will help you to avoid becoming submerged in the first place.

It is a simple tool that was developed by President Eisenhower to prioritise tasks.

Ready to smash your to-do list? To begin, get a blank or lined piece of paper, and divide the piece of paper into four with a cross in the middle of the page. This will give you four separate boxes. Across the horizontal margin, label accordingly Important and Not Important and down the vertical margin Urgent and Not Urgent.

Now objectively assign your tasks to the relevant boxes. Think carefully as you are doing so, otherwise you could end up with everything in Urgent and Important, in which case you might as well just have written out a standard to do list!

Important and Urgent: Tasks with specific time pressures/deadlines that must be done first, usually within the same day

Important and Not Urgent: Tasks that must be completed, but not right away. You can schedule these on your calendar to work on later

Urgent and Not Important: The tasks you can consider delegating to someone else

Urgent and Not Important: The tasks you can probably eliminate

Just like a traditional to-do list once you complete a task, immediately cross it off. Satisfying isn't it!? You should only be doing the tasks in the last box once everything else has been completed.

The best time to complete a matrix is either first thing in the morning whilst you enjoy your morning beverage, or before you leave the office in the evening to help you sleep at night.

It's also a wonderful tool to use in your personal life, don't just restrict it to work.

I'd love to know how you get on with this tool, leave your comments below.

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