Have you ever been the designated fire extinguisher at the office, spending all your time dealing with technical bugs, customers, and team conflicts? In the meantime, you’re juggling critical emails, contract details, and vendor coordination. Every day of the week, all these tasks must be completed immediately and without fail. In this overwhelming situation, how do you decide which tasks to tackle first, which can wait, which should be delegated, and which can be omitted?
How do you determine which task is the most important for the sake of efficiency and your sanity?
Prioritization, prioritization, and more prioritization is key!
Spending too much time on urgent tasks leads you to overlook the essential tasks and vice-versa. It’s easy to become caught up in a cyclical pattern of continuously putting out flames, denying yourself of the chance to work toward your most important objectives. So, how then can you dedicate more time and attention to the things that matter most by differentiating between urgent and necessary tasks?
The Eisenhower Matrix, a brainchild of Dwight D. Eisenhower can help you identify that distinction and better manage your time. It is a framework for prioritizing a list of activities or agenda items by classifying such things according to their urgency and relevance. One way to do this is to make an easy, four-box grid and name the x- and y-axes with words like “Urgent” and “Not Urgent.” Now, divide your to-do list into four sections, with the most urgent and important activities in one section at the top of the list.
How to employ the Eisenhower Matrix?
When jobs are prioritized according to their urgency and significance, four quadrants with distinct work strategies emerge.
Focus on completing tasks listed in quadrant 1
This quadrant usually contains emergencies and deadline-related issues. Responding quickly to urgent reports from the CEO/delivery heads and client email escalations are a few examples.
Set a reasonable time frame to finish tasks in quadrant 2
You don’t need to act right away because these are important issues, but they aren’t urgent. These are tasks you could perhaps postpone until later. Quadrant 2 items are usually tasks or projects that can help you achieve a long-term goal, either personally or professionally. Skill upgradation is an example.
Quadrant 3 – Simply hand it over!
These are unexpected items that demand immediate attention. However, because they aren’t required, they can be delegated. These could be colleague requests for help, urgent emails or showing up for meetings that have nothing to do with your work. If the content of these interventions is insignificant to you, delegate away.
Do away with the items in quadrant 4
Most of the time, you can delete items from this quadrant because they are not critical or urgent. Checking out Instagram reels, being a passive participant in a fun event and gaming are some examples. These tasks are fine if you have the time or need a break, but the point is to limit it at just so that you can focus on the things that matter the most.
Stay tuned for more blogs on time-management strategies and frameworks.
About the Author
Sunil Sowani works at Tavisca as a Delivery Lead and Agile Coach. He is also a passionate actor, mimicker and a director of short films. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking and amusing his acquaintances with mimicry. You can say hello to him at firstname.lastname@example.org