“I would like to do more, but I don’t have enough time! So what should I do?!”
I am sure many of you would have been through a similar situation as above. Let me humbly submit it to you, it is not that you don’t have enough time, but you are wasting time doing things that don’t matter!
First things first, write down what do you really want to achieve – whether in business or in life. Say… you want to 10x your business this year. Write that goal down and put it on a wall.
Next, I refer you to the Eisenhower Matrix, made popular by Stephen Covey in his book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” It is a classic book that teaches you how to manage your time more efficiently and be more productive – I highly recommend you to read it.
The Eisenhower Matrix consists of four quadrants, which is as below:-
As you can see, Eisenhower Matrix divides tasks based on whether it is important/urgent – and decide on whether you should do it accordingly. Hey, if this matrix is good enough for a United States President – it should be good enough for you.
Let us go through this matrix now:-
Quadrant 1: Do
These are the tasks that will fall into your “to do” list for the day – writing an article/projects with close deadlines. These are the tasks that you can only go home if you have completed for the day.
Most importantly – it is also the time for you to ask yourself, “How the heck did these tasks come into this quadrant? Did it appear on an ad hoc basis? Or did I procrastinate so much that it suddenly becomes too close to the deadline? Or was it because of the delay from other parts of the project? If yes, how can I improve my communication skill to ensure it doesn’t happen again?”
In any case, tasks quadrant 1 are where it is urgent and need an immediate solution – do it now!
Quadrant 2: Plan
This is where most of the highly effective people spend their time on. Planning. The main objective to constantly work on this quadrant is to make sure they don’t fall on to the first quadrant.
In other words, plan and finish your work before deadline approaches. Generally speaking, works which you have done and pre-planned beforehand are definitely of better quality than those you rushed through the last minute.
So always look at your calendar, and anticipate deadlines approaching a week or two from now.
Quadrant 3: Delegate
Some things are urgent, but not important. Like before my talks, I need to make sure the stage is set and calling up potential leads to ensure their attendance.
Are all these tasks urgent? Yes. But are they important enough to require my personal touch? No.
Therefore, the way to deal with tasks in this quadrant is to DELEGATE it. Get your team member to do it for you.
Quadrant 4: Eliminate
Not important. Not urgent. Don’t do it. Unless it is absolutely necessary. We all need to wind down every now and then. Go for a movie or shopping or anything that relaxes you. But these are not important tasks, neither it is urgent enough that you need to get it done TODAY.
There you have it. How to be more successful and productive over time. Classifying things into quadrants should be your second nature. Don’t waste time replying to unimportant emails then come around complaining 24 hours a day is not sufficient.
Of course, it’s not enough. You are wasting time!