How often are you accomplishing everything you need to get done in each week or day?
I was at a business meeting recently, speaking with a prospect that might hire me to coach
with their 70-strong sales staff. In one of the interactions with some members of the team,
the discussion turned to feeling overwhelmed by all the things a business / project / product
owner has to get done, and how to decide what to do.
We are all challenged by the sheer volume of work these days and it’s so easy to constantly
be busy yet not accomplish very much, because of the feelings of overwhelm, as well as
distractions (busy work), and interruptions.
I recommend a simple, yet powerful, productivity tool called a Priority Matrix (see diagram
below) to all of my clients. The way it works is to list out all the actions you need to take /
things you want to accomplish and allocate them to the correct quadrant of the matrix.
How it Works
So, if you haven’t filed your tax returns yet, you would put that in the upper left quadrant as it
is important and urgent. The items that go in there are things you must do but have
neglected to accomplish earlier, and are categorised as ‘Crises’. You don’t want to constantly
have actions in this category, but they will crop up from time to time.
To-do’s that fall in the not important but urgent quadrant are known as ‘Interruptions’. An
example of an interruption is suddenly remembering you’d agreed to do something for a
friend or colleague and you must deliver tomorrow. It’s not particularly important to you, but
because you value your reputation and honour your obligations, it is urgent.
Anything that falls into the unimportant and non-urgent quadrant is a ‘Distraction’ and should
be discarded immediately. It’s just busy work that will distract you from, rather than power you towards, your goals.
That just leaves one more quadrant. You should be aiming for the majority of your to-do’s to
sit in the upper right quadrant, important and non-urgent. This quadrant represents
‘Planning’. If you are being proactive rather than reactive, you are taking the time to think
forward and plan your actions and activities to more effectively deliver a strategy that will
keep you moving towards your goals.
If you can learn to operate primarily from the important and non-urgent quadrant, you will
experience less stress, be more focused, and able to properly measure your success as you
move towards achieving stellar results.
If you found the advice given in this post useful, don’t keep it to yourself. Please share it. If you’d like to book a 15-minute chat with me, or learn more about how I can help you grow your business, visit my website here – www.augmentresults.com
Uzo Ijewere is Principal Consultant at Augment Business Coaching. She is a Strategy Coach and Emotional Intelligence practitioner. She helps overwhelmed high-achievers get focused, realise your worth, and achieve more freedom. Augment offers strategy sessions, one-to-one coaching and group mentoring services.