Last week I had an interesting discussion on my Instagram Page @IamTalisaTaylor about my most recent blog ‘You Have More Time Than You Think’. These discussions help me to come up with ideas for my next blog. One of the things I want to address this week is how hard it is to prioritize tasks when all your tasks are a priority. Personally, I had to learn to master making the right checklist and differentiating between urgent and important.
Get the checklist right…
I love checklists. While they may seem boring to compose, a checklist helps us to become more organized and it’s a reminder of all tasks. When you have created the 1st draft of your checklist I suggest you itemize it. You can have a personal checklist, project checklist, revolving checklist, and priority checklist.
Personal checklists are checklists that you make for yourself. It helps you to keep your affairs in order and ensures that you keep organized throughout the day. You can even time code your checklists if you are super disciplined. Project checklists are lists of tasks that are set based on special projects. Each project should have its own checklist and the names of the person assigned for each task so they can be held accountable. Revolving checklists are those lists that comprise of daily tasks. Whether or not these tasks change daily or over a period, rewriting this list daily can help you to position your duties in your mind. Lastly, the priority checklist outlines the tasks that are urgent versus the tasks that are important. Tasks that are urgent must be completed first.
Urgent vs Important
I recently read the Eisenhower Decision Matrix that differentiated between Urgent and Important Tasks and I was very impressed. He describes ‘Urgent’ tasks that require immediate attention. Eisenhower adds that these tasks have a ‘reactive mode’. ‘Important’ tasks are essential to achieve but can be done in a strong>‘responsive’ mode. This mode is described by Eisenhower as a more rational and calm mode.
The Eisenhower Decision Matrix This matrix features a square that is divided into 4 equal areas: Urgent/Important; Not Urgent/Important; Urgent/Not Important and Not Urgent/Not Important.
The first block – Urgent/Important
This block showcases crisis, any problems, or tasks with deadlines. Examples of these tasks can be: ‘responding to certain emails regarding special offers, ‘tax deadlines’ and ‘proposal submission deadlines’ to name a few.
The second block – Not Urgent but Important
Tasks that fall in this block normally are important and must be done but they do not have pressing deadlines. Examples of these tasks can be: ‘going to a particular class’, ‘creating your weekly plan’, and ‘spending time with family to name a few.
The third block – Urgent and Not Important
These tasks according to the matrix are activities that need our attention now, but they don’t help us to achieve our long-term goals. Examples of these tasks can be: ‘responding to most emails’, ‘dropping your tasks to help a co-worker with a small favors’, and ‘responding to some phone calls to name a few.
The last block – Not Urgent and Not Important
These tasks are simply not urgent or important. Examples of these tasks can be: ‘surfing the web without purpose’, ‘scrolling through social media pages’, and ‘watching TV, especially while doing other tasks.
This matrix was helpful. When I create my checklist, I now use the Eisenhower Decision Matrix to determine what is Urgent/Important; Not Urgent/Important; Urgent/Not Important, and Not Urgent/Not Important. Being able to itemize your checklists in these categories will help you to priorities all your priorities.