Do you have too many tasks to keep them all in your head?

Do you make lists?

For lots of people, the problem with lists is that is difficult to prioritise them. We tend to start at the top and work our way down, and any new tasks either get added to the bottom or we do them as they come in rather than continuing our systematic approach.

At the end of the day we turn the page and start the process again the next morning.

This is ineffective, unproductive and demotivating.

Dwight D Eisenhower said in a speech in 1954, “I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.”

Urgent means that a task requires immediate attention. These are the to-dos that shout “Now!” Urgent tasks make us reactive.

Important tasks are things that contribute to our long-term objectives. Sometimes important tasks are also urgent, but typically they’re not. When we focus on important activities we are much more proactive and motivated.

Steven Covey popularised this approach to prioritising with an urgent/important matrix split into four quadrants. This helps you to decide whether a task should be done, dumped, delegated or delayed.

I’ve adapted this approach to make it more dynamic, so you can continually review and revise tasks throughout the day or week, and accurately change priorities when new tasks arrive. It also allows you to feel a sense of achievement when you have completed tasks – always a good motivator.

I teach the Eisenhower matrix in many of my online courses, including my Microlearning course ‘How to Prioritise Your Workload’, which is a short 10-minute course that focuses on the Eisenhower matrix.

I’m currently offering a free month’s Tier 1 membership to my online academy Evolve Online, which gives you access to all of the courses in Tier 1: there are microlearning courses on leadership and giving feedback, and longer, more in-depth Toolkit courses on topics like managing change, resilience and stress management.

Sign up here (you’ll need to enter your payment details to sign up for the membership, but you won’t be charged until the first month is up, and you can cancel any time before or after your free trial is up).

To chat about business training and coaching that incorporates the Eisenhower Matrix, time and task management, any anything else that would benefit your business, get in touch.

A version of this blog post was originally posted on the Evolution Development website. Read the original version here.