By Hanan Awaad
Come join the club! The club of millions of women around the world who are struggling to manage time effectively. Most properly you have read a book or two or ten on time management; attended workshops or seminars; or you follow one of the great business coaches on his/her YouTube channel.
I was there … struggling with limited time and a long list of tasks, until I started employing the only tool that saved me the daily hassle of trying to do it all and be everything to everyone. Eisenhower Matrix is the only tool that you need to invest your time in learning it. It is explained in many books, but Maura Nevel Thomas explains it beautifully in her book ‘Personal Productivity Secrets’.
The matrix includes 4 quadrants: Important/ Urgent; Important/ Less Urgent; Less Important/ Urgent; and Less Important/Less Urgent. It also comes with an important advice from President Eisenhower: “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.
I apply the matrix on a daily basis since I had put myself in an embracing situation after I answered an important email quickly without giving myself enough time to articulate a proper reply. It took me a while to develop an easy system to use the matrix. I start by listing all the things I want to accomplish in my day, as well as the tasks I have to finish. Then I assign them to the right quadrant.
I learned to give a number to tasks as follows:
Priority (1): Important/ Urgent
Priority (2): Less Important/ Urgent
Priority (3): Important/ Less Urgent
Priority (4): Less Important/Less Urgent
But the real challenge is to determine how you will measure the importance of a task or a goal. The importance of some action or activity should be based on the end result expected when accomplished. If it will contribute to your long-term goals or it aligns with your priorities, then it is important.
A tricky aspect of dealing with task urgency is planning based on the task deadline. We tend to turn all tasks to urgent tasks with poor planning that results in wasting too long precious time. I try to avoid cramming by dividing large tasks into smaller chunks and spread them across several days and assign these chunks to quadrant ‘Important/Less Urgent’.
Originally posted 2016-03-18 00:17:48.