One of the complaints I hear most often in the workplace is that there just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done during the work day. What I see is not a lack of time, but a mismanagement of tasks. Having a to-do list is an important step, but if you aren’t prioritizing and taking action, you won’t be as productive as you could be. For the rest of March, this Professional Organizer in NYC will be sharing a number of time management methods and strategies that you can apply to your work day in order to increase your productivity. Today we will focus on the Eisenhower Method.
This method is one of the most famous productivity strategies and was introduced by Dwight Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States and five-star general in the United States Army. This strategy uses a simple decision-making tool that you can apply immediately to your work day. It uses a matrix that helps you decide on and prioritize tasks based on urgency and importance. It also sorts out the less urgent and less important tasks which can then be delegated or skipped altogether. To use this method, you must assign tasks to 4 different quadrants: 1. Important tasks that are urgent; 2. Important tasks that are not urgent; 3. Urgent tasks that are not important; and 4. Tasks that are neither urgent nor important.
Based on these quadrants, you can apply time management tips to get the work done. The tasks in the first quadrant, important and urgent, should be the tasks that you do first. The second quadrant, important but not urgent, should be tasks that you schedule. Put these tasks on your to-do list and set deadlines and reminders to complete them. A bonus to scheduling is that you inevitably have fewer urgent/important tasks because you assigned those same tasks deadlines when they were less urgent, which allowed you to work on them over time instead of all at one time on the due date.
The third quadrant, urgent but less important, are the tasks that you should delegate to others. As these are still important tasks that need to be completed, make sure that you keep track of them, either by email, through your project management system, or even by regular check-in meetings with your team. The fourth and final quadrant, the less urgent and less important, are tasks that you probably don’t need to be doing at all. Tasks that fall into this category are probably preventing you from completing the important tasks from the first two quadrants, so they probably don’t need to be on your to-do list.
One important point to remember when you apply the Eisenhower Method to your task list is that you alone can prioritize your tasks and assign them to each quadrant. Minimizing distractions is key. Remember, too, that the most important part of this method is the act of completion. You can sort your tasks into this matrix, but if you don’t take action, you won’t be productive.
For more time management tips and hands on strategies, reach out to this Professional Organizer in NYC.