There is something that has been a stable in my life for a long while now when it comes to productivity, and that is the priority matrix.
But what do I mean when I say that? Well, we have many things to do, a to-do list which gets bigger and bigger with every single day passing by and there is no chance at the end of the day that we feel satisfied with our level of productivity.
In doing work with clients and witnessing it in myself and others, the conundrum was quite visible: how do I decide what is important and what needs to be done?
Why working on your priorities matters?
There were blogs that would suggest to only have 3 things that I do in the day that will make the difference, but my little head would still say that I need to do all of them.
This is where I found the information I was looking for. The Eisenhower matrix, better known as the productivity matrix, makes things easy for me.
I don’t need to work too hard on finding my priorities. I just need to put my to do list through a quadrant, which showed me exactly what needs to be done first.
The quadrant is very simple to understand and yet it can be challenging to undergo that level of clarity.
Simple as it sounds, put your to do list down on paper. And when I say all, just put everything that crosses your mind. Do you need to answer that email? To check that post? To do your laundry? All of it.
Creating your personal priority matrix
As you go through your list, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is it urgent and important? – Do it as soon as you can (maybe once you finish this exercise).
- Is it important but not urgent? – Schedule this activity in your calendar.
- Is it urgent but not important? – Delegate it, cross it off your to do list. This is not your priority.
- Is it not urgent and not important? – Scratch it off – these are the waist timers. No need to spend any energy on these. And if the activities that are not important nor urgent are still appealing, brainstorm on some alternatives that will give you the same reward but will benefit your life.
Using the priority matrix
If you focus on the upper side of the quadrant, you will experience a great improvement of your productivity. Be it in your personal or your professional life, having this clarity will support your life vision and will enhance your overall happiness and fulfilment.
Everything that goes below doesn’t need your full attention. Learning to delegate and to ignore the things that are not important is essential for a fulfilled life, especially in a world where we are bombarded with so many distractions and push notifications. Our brain will inevitably choose the things that are easier for us, the things that don’t cause pain for us, because we don’t want pain. But guess what? Those things will not help us grow either. Growth comes from pain, and in order to experience the bliss, we have to experience the darker side first.
Choosing wisely where to focus our attention is the first step in becoming more efficient in our life.
Start today by writing down your to do list and asking yourself the questions above. You’ll be surprised of how much clarity comes with that.
Let go of checking the latest trends, reading the gossip or creating it, and you’ll see your life going to another level. Put your priorities in your calendar and see how your life will expand and flourish. Never underestimate the power of clarity when it comes to improving your productivity. Ignore the things that are not useful. Let go of the fear of missing out or the guilt that comes with not saying yes at all times.
Focus on a few goals. Tackle those and watch your confidence growing. You’ll be amazed how simple it will be for your to continue on this path.
Remember that your time is limited and so it is your energy. Where you decide to put that is where you will see things grow. Choose wisely and choose compassionately. Find your priorities and decide today what is important for you.