Feb 21, 2021
3 mins read
Do you ever feel like there just isn't enough time in the day to get everything done.
If you've ever said to yourself, "I just don't have enough time"... my guess is that the real problem is that "you don't have clear priorities.
There is always enough time to do the next right thing. What exactly are "priorities".
The dictionary definition is, "a thing that is regarded as more important than another."
That is the key to start establishing clear priorities.
You need to understand what is important. I know you get pulled in a ton of different directions every day and you're trying to decide between things that are important and things that are urgent.
I am going to suggest that these are two very distinct conditions and they are mutually exclusive.
In this chat, I explore how to distinguish between things that are important or not important and things that are urgent and not urgent. Dwight D Eisenhower is attributed to coming up with a prioritization tool that we've come to know as "The Eisenhower Matrix". To explain this matrix, let's explore the two main concepts.
Things that are "important" and things that are "urgent". Important things are things that are important to you.
At work, these things may be your goals and objectives, or even building better relationships and a better network of peers.
At home, this may be spending more time with your family, or eating more healthy, or exercising more.
Oh, and as we explain the matrix, I need to point out the obvious that the opposite of important things are, you guessed it... not important, but these are defined by you, and generally not someone else (maybe other than your boss at work, but you should both see eye to eye on what is important to you).
What will you be held accountable to accomplish. Urgent things are things that simply demand your attention immediately. Things that probably demand your attention today.
And obviously, the opposite are things that are not urgent.
Urgent things, by definition, tend to put us in reactive mode because we didn't see it coming or things just got away from us until it was too late.
Consider for a minute... when do you do your best thinking... is it when you are in reactive more, or in proactive mode.
That's my case for you to strive to be more in proactive mode than reactive mode. Let's recap the 4 conditions of the matrix and think about them as the Eisenhower matrix. Think of a grid with quadrants.
The top row are things that are important
The bottom row are things that are not important
The left column are things that are Urgent
The Right column are things that are not urgent.
So in the top left quadrant we have things that are both Important and urgent
In the top right quadrant, we have things that are Important and not urgent
In the bottom left quadrant, we have things that are not important and urgent
And finally, in the bottom right quadrant we have things that are not important and not urgent
By the way, I just gave you the priority order in which you should work on each of those conditions. I'll close with some tips on how you can break the cycle of constant fire fighting and being in reactive mode to being able to identify and set your priorities based on things that are important to you.
This will put you in a more proactive mode where you think more clearly, your efforts have a higher impact, you start making progress towards your long-term goals, and you have more positive energy in your life.