Recently, I’ve had a lot of conversations with my clients around challenges with prioritization. As the days drone on with no sense of what the new normal will be, or when it will be, time and priorities blur.
I, too, have been feeling a bit guilty about the tasks that aren’t getting done. Some of it is personal, but much of it involves tasks I want to accomplish to support my business and clients. After beating myself up a bit, I revisited the Urgent vs. Important grid (thank you, Stephen Covey!) to help me through the “what to do now” decision process.
Important & Urgent: Things that need to be dealt with right now (paying my VISA bill by the end of the week, etc.).
Important & Not Urgent: Things that need to be done, but don’t need to be done right now (long-term planning, etc.).
Urgent & Not Important: Things that probably never need to be dealt with, but create a sense of urgency at the time (telemarketer calls, etc.)
Not Urgent & Not Important: Not only do these things not have to be done right now; chances are they don’t need to be done at all (watching videos of dancing cats on Youtube, etc.)
Here’s how I broke down just a few of the outstanding items on my “to do” list:
- Pay VISA bill: Important & Urgent
- Complete weekly neuroscience course work: Important & Urgent
- Listen to the webinar before it expires: Important & Urgent
- Ironing: Important & Not Urgent
- Office Filing: Important & Not Urgent
- Unsubscribe from unwanted e-mails: Important & Not Urgent
The Not Important/Urgent category can be a little tricky. Sometimes what’s Not Important to me is Important to someone I care about, so every once in a while, those tasks make their way to my To-Do list. Depending on the sense of urgency, I prioritize accordingly.
The Not Urgent/Not Important category tasks don’t make it to my To-Do list.
There were many other things on my list, but these represented hours worth of stuff I wanted (not needed) to do. The result: #1-#3 got done; #4-#6 will happen another day.
Suffice to say, with my list prioritized, I’m feeling much better about getting the Important/Urgent tasks done, leaving the other Important/Not Urgent tasks tackled at another time.
Prioritization can be tricky, but in the long run, having a useful roadmap of what needs to be done now, may offer a sense of peace.
How do you prioritize your “to do” list?
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