by Uzo Ijewere – Augment Results
How often are you accomplishing everything you need to get done in each week or day? It’s very challenging to juggle your career / business, personal life, relationships, and the myriad tasks that come with it.
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. It’s an excellent tool to help you in your career or business. But it’s also very useful to help you manage your life in general.
This tool was developed by Stephen Covey, leadership and management guru, author of ‘7 Habits of Highly-Effective People’.
The idea 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 ‘Distractions’ 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.
I hope you’ve found this tip helpful. If so, don’t keep it to yourself, share it with someone else.
Augment Results – Powering Performance. We help companies and individuals adopt better management strategies, improve leadership skills, and be more effective. We offer seminars, workshops, consulting, group and 1-2-1 coaching programmes to lead to overall better results.
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