Learn about the 3 easiest things you can do to help you prioritize and get things done without overwhelm.
Do you find yourself stuck even before you start working on your tasks? Don't worry most people do. It is because we are so overwhelmed by the amount of things we need to do and have no idea how to start and what to start with first.
How do you know what to focus on first?
The best way to get things done is by having absolute clarity about what needs to be done.
1. Start with a brain dump
A brain dump is literally dumping everything that is on your mind on a piece of paper. (Yes, it's that simple 😁)
Take an A4 sheet and write down everything that you can think of that needs to be done. I suggest to use one list for your personal life and your work or business. Having one list combined will help you to cover everything that you need to do instead of just focusing on one area of your life.
2. Use the Eisenhower Matrix — Urgent vs. Important
Not everything that has to be done is as important or urgent. The best way to determine what indeed is important and urgent is to use the Einsenhower matrix to help you figure that out. This matrix will give you a clear overview of your short and long term goals and tasks and will help you to actually work on the things that matters most.
How to use the Urgent vs. Important matrix?
Create a quadrant like you see here above and start to fill in per quadrant what should go in each one.
Here is how you determine what goes where:
Quadrant 1 - Urgent & important
Everything that falls in this quadrant needs to be addressed quickly, these tasks and projects have a clear deadline and a clear consequence if not completed. Most of the time they are also linked to another task and therefore need to be done in order for you to be able to move on.
Most times these tasks are emergencies and unforeseen things such as something breaking or a team member being sick so you are asked to take over extra tasks. Other times, this is caused by you putting off a certain task till you can't escape it anymore (sounds familiar?😁)
The key is to not procrastinate on these tasks (I know, it's easier said than done🙄) because they will pile up and you will find yourself only working on this never-ending list which will eventually lead to a burnout or lack of motivation.
Quadrant 2 - Not Urgent & Important
Not urgent, but important tasks are tasks that will help you achieve your long-term goals. These mostly require you to plan and schedule them. Because they tend not to have a deadline (or even an end date) it is easy to put them off. The problem with putting off these tasks is that, you will most likely never get to it.
This could be health & wellness habits or appointments, organizing things around the house, certain admin tasks and data analysis. My advice to you is, make sure to work on this quadrant at least once a week.
Quadrant 3 - Urgent & Not Important
Urgent but not Important tasks are mostly interruptions and things that are put on your to-do by others. Doing these tasks will not move you closer to your long-term goals.
The tasks in this quadrant are urgent but typically related to someone else's priorities, spending too much time on these tasks can feel like you are doing things you should do rather than what you want to do. The rule of thumb here is to delegate these tasks to someone else or to avoid focusing too much of your time on these.
Quadrant 4 - Not Urgent & Not important
Not urgent and not important tasks are time-wasters. These activities don’t contribute to the progress of your goals but end up taking over large chunks of time. Think of things like mindless scrolling on social media, binge-watching Netflix series and getting into a YouTube video loop.
Most of the time you will find yourself doing things like these to avoid doing the tasks you should be doing. This probably will happen when you lack motivation or energy. The best thing to do when you feel uninspired is to take time off and step away from work and do an activity that refuels you.
3. Focus on your MIT's
The next step after doing your brain dump and using the Important vs Urgent matrix is to focus on the 3 most important tasks on your urgent & important quadrant.
Look into your quadrant one, pick maximum 3 tasks that need to be done and focus on getting them done before moving to anything else.
I hope that you found this article useful and that it will help you to get things done without overwhelm.
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