Do you juggle your time – or play chess with it?
Do you drop the ball – or plan your next moves?
Are you always at panic stations at home and at work?
Do you suffer ‘To-Do List Tyranny’?
A method for taking control:
The Urgent / Important method can help you decide what to do when, if you can’t work out your priorities and want to ensure you stay focussed.
Most tasks at home and at work fit into one of four classes:
Important + Urgent = Do It Now
Yes, some things are naturally always going to be in this category – and we need challenges, variety and success, but if you’re constantly dealing with financial, personal and professional emergencies and not managing your time until everything crashes into this category, the stress will take its toll.
If you live life at panic stations you’ll be familiar with the results – things going wrong, missed deadlines, embarrassment, rows and all the physical symptoms of worry, including a thumping heart and the inability to think clearly.
Here’s where you need to Do It Now – or face the consequences.
But being aware that there are other ways to organise your activities and manage your time successfully will mean that fewer emergencies pop up, and will lead to a calmer, more effective you.
Important + Not Urgent = Diary It
Meetings, research, planning, preparing – if you set time out for specific tasks and stick to it, spending most of your time in this category and doing some every day, it will mean less Important / Urgent stuff needs doing.
It’s about planning in advance and fitting it all in, so the more you do here, the less time you’ll need to spend fire-fighting.
Result – you’ll be calmer, on top of things, more clear-headed and relaxed with more pleasant relationships and fewer nightmares.
Not Important + Urgent = Delegate It
Other people’s attitude to what’s important and urgent may not match yours. You may find it difficult to let go, sorting people’s problems out for them, micro-managing and doing one-way favours.
The result is you feel guilty, manipulated, distracted and off track – and then more important tasks end up in the Do It Now category.
So be prepared to delegate like a diplomat, not like a dictator – showing people how to do something and encouraging them to develop their own skills and confidence rather than doing it for them. It may even take a bit more time initially – but it’s worth it.
Not important + Not Urgent = Downsize it
Facebook, online browsing, silly emails, window shopping, reading rubbish etc etc etc …
That warm and fuzzy feeling you get doing what you feel comfortable with leads to a false sense of security. Some say Desist entirely as a complete waste of time – but remember ‘sharpen the saw’, one of Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. Relax, have some fun to refresh and recharge. Just keep it in perspective and beware it becoming your main occupation.
Nobody’s perfect and we’re all trying to deal with a difficult and changing world right now.
This may help.
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