Productivity Technology

How to Prioritize Your Todo List With A Sheet of Paper

Busy work do post notes list chaotic concept

Busy work do post notes list chaotic concept

Everytime you begin your day and also you take a look at your to-do listing, what type of feeling do you get?

Do you are feeling assured about your upcoming day? Or do you are feeling not sure, perhaps even overwhelmed, about the way you’re going to deal with your day?

If it’s the latter, nicely, I’m right here to enable you to.

At Asian Effectivity we assist individuals obtain their objectives quicker. As one of probably the most sought-after productiveness coaching corporations, we’ve helped hundreds of women and men obtain their objectives in report occasions. There’s one talent we’ve recognized that each Asian Environment friendly individual should understand how to do: how to prioritize what you do day-after-day.

Once you don’t understand how to prioritize every thing in your todo record, you’ll typically really feel:

  • Every thing in your todo record is necessary and pressing (which leads to overwhelm)
  • That your todo listing all the time rising and that there’s no finish in sight
  • Uncertainty since you don’t know if what you’re doing is an effective use of your time

You don’t need to really feel these unfavourable feelings initially of day by day, do you? In fact not. One unfavorable emotion earlier than you begin your day can spiral out of management and derail your entire day. Simply assume of a time when somebody reduce you off on the street otherwise you acquired some dangerous information. How productive have been you the remaining of the day? I’m guessing…not very.

That’s why we all the time inform individuals to get a strong morning ritual in place since you put your self in management of your day. After you’ve gone by way of your morning ritual, you all the time need to have absolute readability and confidence about what the remaining of your day goes to appear to be.

That’s the place having the ability to prioritize is necessary, and what you’re going to study right now with a sheet of paper.

A Typical Todo List That Provides You A Feeling of Overwhelm

To Do List So Many Things

Let’s think about for a second that you simply work as a mortgage officer in an enormous company with hundreds of staff. You assist individuals get financing for his or her dream houses. You’ve been with the corporate for over 5 years now and you’ve got a pair staff members that report to you. You’re making good cash however you need to get extra out of life. Not solely would you like to transfer up on the firm, you additionally need to spend extra time with your loved ones and perhaps even begin a enterprise on the aspect.

As you stroll into your workplace, you seize a cup of matcha tea (what each AE aficionado ought to have of course) and also you’re about to assessment what you’re going to do this day. That is what your todo record appears like (in no specific order):

  • Name shopper Marissa re: mortgage choices
  • Re-arrange my schedule and work hours for Johnny’s soccer video games
  • Weekly Firm assembly on IT and Infrastructure
  • Watch NBA playoff recreation of LA Lakers vs Golden State Warriors
  • Present my new assistant Daybreak how to analysis and e-book flights
  • Replace social media of my firm account
  • Add pictures of my current trip with the spouse on Fb
  • Analysis choices for teaching on my productiveness
  • Put a proposal collectively for shopper Joe
  • Catchup on present Designated Survivor

A typical todo listing, proper? It’s a mixture of stuff you might have to do at work but in addition a couple of actions you have got to do at residence. At this level, you may really feel overwhelmed. Every part seems to be necessary and also you’re unsure what to do now. The place do you have to begin?

To give you the option to prioritize, you might have to know what your objectives are. When you haven’t any objectives, you can’t prioritize your todo listing.

Let me repeat that another time: to have the opportunity to prioritize, you’ve to know what your objectives are.

On this instance, I purposely didn’t inform you to illustrate the purpose that it’s unattainable to prioritize your todo record.

So let’s simply say you have got a objective for your self on an organization degree and on your private life:

  1. Work aim: Promote 5 mortgages in quarter three
  2. Private objective: watch each soccer recreation of little Johnny each Saturday morning for This fall and past

Now that you realize what your objectives are, are you able to see the way it’s a bit of simpler to prioritize?

Objectives and Duties

If a activity just isn’t associated to any of your objectives, it ought to be ranked on the backside of your record. So let’s re-order the whole lot based mostly on what we all know now:

  • Name shopper Marissa re: mortgage choices
  • Put a proposal collectively for shopper Joe
  • Re-arrange my schedule and work hours for Johnny’s soccer video games
  • Present my new assistant Daybreak how to analysis and ebook flights
  • Weekly Firm assembly on IT and Infrastructure
  • Analysis choices for teaching on my productiveness
  • Replace social media of my firm account
  • Watch NBA playoff recreation of LA Lakers vs Golden State Warriors
  • Add pictures of my current trip with the spouse on Fb
  • Catchup on present Designated Survivor

That is wanting a lot better now, doesn’t it? You’ve got a greater sense now of what it is best to do, in what order. At this level, you’re already forward of what most individuals know and do. However there’s yet one more drawback. What’s the EXACT order you’re going to deal with your todo listing?

What do you do first? What do you do second?

This is essential to maximize the worth of your time. It will be a waste of time to work on one thing that’s perhaps ranked fifth in your record as your frog for the day (your most essential process). By the point you end your fifth most necessary process, you won’t have the time, power and focus to work on what’s truly an important activity in your listing. That’s if you’ll put it off, procrastinate on it, and transfer it to one other day. What a waste!

The Drawback with Doing Necessary Work Later within the Day

One other factor that may typically occur is that mid-day you’ll get distracted by last-minute emergencies or fires you want to handle that may derail your day. In case you begin your day engaged on a process that wasn’t essential and also you thought “oh I will get to my most important task later in the day”…I feel you recognize the place I’m going with this. You’re leaving it up to probability whether or not it’ll get completed or not. Our days could be very unpredictable so it’s greatest to all the time work in your most essential activity first earlier than anything. That’s what we like to name Consuming Your Frog (an concept we picked up from Brian Tracy) and it’s one of the primary issues we train each new AE shopper.

Why? The order of what you do issues. There have to be a sequence to your todo listing. You can’t work on activity #2 till process #1 is completed. As soon as process #1 is completed, solely then are you allowed to transfer on to activity #2 (not to activity #5 or #6 – regardless of how enjoyable or straightforward they seem).

Ideally, you need to begin together with your frog – your most necessary activity – first. Even when you get sidetracked sooner or later, you possibly can go residence figuring out you’ve at the least achieved crucial work you might do. The rationale so much of individuals really feel harassed is that they don’t work on their duties so as. They both depart their frogs until the final minute (yikes!) or they’ve to deliver work house and end it off then (not ideally suited both).

Sounds acquainted?

I’ve to admit, after working with many purchasers and having it carried out myself, working in your duties so as is just not straightforward. It requires self-discipline. The excellent news is that everybody can develop this sort of self-discipline.

So how do you rank your todo listing? That is the place the Q2 Matrix is available in.

The Q2 Matrix To Order Your Duties and Actions

In case you’ve learn the 7 Habits of Extremely Efficient Individuals, this quadrant may look acquainted:

It used to be referred to as the Covey Quadrant, aptly named after Stephen Covey who wrote the ebook. Some individuals name it the Eisenhower Field or Matrix popularized by president Eisenhower.

These days, it’s referred to because the Q2 Matrix by the Franklin Covey firm and what’s what we’ll name it. However I’m going to provide the AE-spin on it that I feel is extra sensible and revelant to you – particularly for prioritizing your todo record.

Right here’s the way it works: each merchandise in your todo listing matches in a single of the quadrants (Q1, Q2, Q3, This fall).

Q1 – The Quadrant of Necessity. These duties are essential and pressing. These have to be finished to do your work and stay your life. They don’t essentially transfer you ahead that a lot in the direction of your objectives, however not doing them would set you again. Typical duties are deadline pushed, time-sensitive and half of day-to-day work and dwelling.

Q2 – The Quadrant of Extraordinary Productiveness. Your duties are necessary however not pressing. That is the place you select what you need to work on as a result of it provides you the very best return in your time and the duties convey you nearer to your objectives. Typical duties listed here are rest, planning, executing on duties in alignment together with your objectives, constructing relationships, and considering time.

Q3 – The Quadrant of Distraction. The duties that fall on this quadrant are sometimes not necessary however really feel pressing. I’ve emphasised the phrases “feel urgent” as a result of that is the place most individuals confuse what belongs in Q1 however truly don’t. Typical duties can be something not in alignment together with your objectives however you one way or the other really feel that they want to be accomplished (false Quadrant 1 duties). For instance, attending conferences that aren’t actually that essential for what you do.

This fall – The Quadrant of Waste. Every part right here isn’t necessary and never pressing. Any duties on this quadrant must be prevented and never completed in extra. What’s fascinating about this quadrant is that some actions right here can belong in Q2 as a result of they assist you to loosen up, rejuvenate, and construct relationships with individuals. Nevertheless, when carried out an excessive amount of it’s a waste of time. Watching TV may also help you chill out (Q2) however carried out in extra is a waste of time (This fall). I really like enjoying board video games with buddies (Q2) however once I go overboard for an entire night with tons of quick meals and alcoholic drinks, it turns into a This fall exercise.

The New Order Of Your Todo List

Now that you simply perceive how the Q2 Matrix works, right here’s what it is best to goal for:

  1. Maximize the quantity of actions you do within the second Quadrant (Extraordinary Productiveness).
  2. Reduce the Quadrant 1 actions to the naked requirements.
  3. Keep away from something within the backside half of the quadrant.

Sounds easy, proper? In concept, sure.

In actuality, it takes slightly bit of apply to get this nailed down. Once you do, it feels very liberating and you are feeling in management of your life. This can be a good way to begin your day and construct momentum to have Asian Environment friendly days, weeks and months to come.

As you’ll be able to all the time anticipate from AE, every little thing we train is actionable and we like to give our personal trendy twist to what’s working at present. So let’s return to our earlier instance and now put each todo listing merchandise in a single of the quadrants:

Q1 (Quadrant of Necessity):

  • Name shopper Marissa re: mortgage choices
  • Put a proposal collectively for shopper Joe

Q2 (Quadrant of Extraordinary Productiveness):

  • Re-arrange my schedule and work hours for Johnny’s soccer video games
  • Present my new assistant Daybreak how to analysis and e-book flights
  • Analysis choices for teaching on my productiveness

Q3 (Quadrant of Distraction):

  • Weekly Firm assembly on IT and Infrastructure
  • Replace social media of my firm account
  • Catchup on present Designated Survivor

This fall (Quadrant of Waste):

  • Watch NBA playoff recreation of LA Lakers vs Golden State Warriors
  • Add pictures of my current trip with spouse on Fb

Now that we have now all ten duties in a single of the quadrants, are you able to see the way it’s a lot simpler to prioritize now?

If we comply with the rules I discussed earlier, then we would like to maximize the quantity of duties which might be in Q2 (Quadrant of Extraordinary Productiveness) after which do the actions which might be in Q1 (Quadrant of Necessity). That is how your todo listing would seem like:

  1. Re-arrange my schedule and work hours for Johnny’s soccer video games
  2. Name shopper Marissa re: mortgage choices
  3. Put a proposal collectively for shopper Joe

Wow, what a distinction! It solely has three issues on there, so as. Isn’t this a lot simpler to do and end?

At AE, we’re huge proponents of having solely three issues in your todo listing for the day. This forces you to prioritize and maximize the use of your time.

That doesn’t imply we’re ignoring the opposite issues we’d like to do. If we end early, we will all the time add extra issues to do. However…you realize you had an Asian Environment friendly day in the event you completed all three gadgets in your todo listing. You’ll be able to go residence and sleep figuring out you made vital progress.

Word: Discover how I didn’t put all Q2 duties on the todo record. There’s a purpose for this and I’ll cowl this in a second.

From this level ahead, it’s up to you order the actions in an order that works for you. Everybody’s timing, assets, and circumstances are totally different so solely you recognize greatest what’s reasonable to do first, then second, and third, and so forth.

The Actuality Of What You Can Do With Quadrant 1 and a couple of

Since we have now a number of productiveness specialists at AE with over 25+ years of expertise and we’ve helped lots of of individuals via teaching, we all know what’s idealistic and what’s reasonable.

In a fantasy world, you’d do all the things in Quadrant 2 (Extraordinary Productiveness) earlier than you ever get to Quadrant 1 (Necessity) actions.

In actuality, that doesn’t work for most individuals. Particularly when it’s the primary time you implement this precedence system. What we sometimes see is that folks by no means get to their Quadrant 2 actions in any respect. They logically know that they need to do them, however they get distracted from the whole lot they want to do in Quadrant 1 (Necessity) and Quadrant three (Distraction). In some instances, they could additionally do an excessive amount of of the actions in Quadrant four (Waste).

Step one is for you to remember the place all of your actions and duties belong. Solely then are you able to proactively work on getting your duties so as of significance.

We often advocate that you simply slot in just one exercise from Quadrant 2 (Extraordinary Productiveness) and make that your frog. Get it out of the best way very first thing within the day after which you’ve got the remaining of the day for the whole lot else that are ideally Quadrant 1 (Necessity) duties. Discover how I did that with the final todo listing:

  1. Re-arrange my schedule and work hours for Johnny’s soccer video games (Q2 – necessary and never pressing)
  2. Name shopper Marissa re: mortgage choices (Q1 – essential and pressing)
  3. Put a proposal collectively for shopper Joe (Q1 – essential and pressing)

I re-arranged the todo listing so you’d begin with a Quadrant 2 activity (your frog) and let the remaining of your day fill within the gaps of what you want to do to obtain your objective of closing 5 mortgages in a single quarter.

On this instance of this submit, your private objective is to have the ability to attend each soccer recreation of your child and that requires considering, planning and execution to make that occur. This isn’t a simple feat and it’d occur over a interval of a number of weeks however after you have it found out, you’d be ecstatic, proper? That’s why I put it in Q2 and never in Q1.

(Oftentimes belongings you put in Q2 take greater than a day to accomplish. Don’t be stunned if that’s the case.)

Quadrant three (Distraction) Instance

Probably the most fascinating Quadrant, for my part, is Q3 (Distraction). That is the place individuals will typically confuse duties and actions as essential (Q1) however in actuality, they don’t seem to be. Let’s take a look at what we had in Q3 (Distraction):

  • Weekly Firm assembly on IT and Infrastructure
  • Replace social media of my firm account
  • Catchup on present Designated Survivor

When you’ve gotten uncertainty about your objectives, every little thing will really feel essential and pressing. On this case, attending an organization assembly and updating your enterprise social media accounts may really feel essential. In some instances, it might be essential. In our instance, it’s not. As a mortgage officer, do you actually need to attend an IT and Infrastructure assembly each week? It’d really feel necessary to remember of what’s happening, however is it actually essential?

In your private life, do you actually need to watch that specific TV present? Is it actually that necessary to you? It feels pressing (television exhibits are time delicate) and necessary to you when you haven’t any objectives. I can’t repeat this sufficient: once you don’t have a transparent image of your objectives, all the things will really feel necessary and pressing. Fortunately, you do now and may see why this exercise belongs in Q3 (Distraction).

At first, you’ve got to study to say “no” to something that’s in Quadrant three (Distraction) and also you’ll begin to study that you’ve so much of duties in Q1 (Necessity) belong in Q3. As you get higher at figuring out the false Q1 actions, you’ll do much less of them which leads to extra free time and concentrate on what truly issues.

On this instance, attending a gathering may really feel needed however in your position, it’s actually not. Typically we confuse feeling busy with significance. Truthfully, that is one of probably the most difficult issues to work out. This matrix will assist you to determine what’s not essential. Whenever you first put your quadrants collectively, based mostly on my expertise, you have to no less than one process in there. When you have no duties in Q3 in any respect, you’re complicated busyness with significance.

What Do You Do With Quadrant four?

Lastly, let’s look what we had within the final quadrant.

This fall (Quadrant of Waste):

  • Watch NBA playoff recreation of LA Lakers vs Golden State Warriors
  • Add photographs of my current trip with the spouse on Fb

Out of all of the issues in your todo record, these are the belongings you need to keep away from. They’re not in alignment together with your objectives. If something, they transfer you away out of your objectives.

As I discussed earlier, typically the belongings you put in This fall (Waste) might belong in Q2 (Extraordinary Productiveness) relying for those who do it in extra. Watching an NBA recreation might be very enjoyable and rejuvenating to some. Nevertheless, it might additionally value lots of time and cash (at the least half a day, if no more should you’re touring for it) that you’ve to think about. On this context, I might contemplate it “excessive” and why I put it in This fall (Waste).

This can be a robust actuality all of us want to be reminded of: if you’d like to obtain your objectives, you might have to be prepared to surrender issues to obtain it. Each objective comes with a worth – some greater than others. A lot of this stuff fall on this quadrant.

Identical to with Q3 (Distraction), once you put your todo record collectively on this Q2 Matrix, it’s essential to have at the very least one merchandise in This fall. In case you don’t, you’re complicated what’s necessary and what’s not. You may also not be prepared to surrender sure issues to accomplish your aim which to me is a purple flag. However let’s assume you might have a pair issues on there.

Does that imply you can’t do them in any respect?

Perfectionists may say “DO NOTHING IN Q4!” however let’s be reasonable right here. All of us need to take pleasure in our life too. Whereas I agree in spirit, the large concept right here is to do it sparsely. I really like enjoying video video games and board video games. In my present life state of affairs, it might be thought-about a This fall exercise. Does that imply I’ll by no means play them? In fact not. That may be ridiculous. I’m acutely aware that it ought to be achieved sparsely and if I do it excessively, I’ve to be okay with the truth that it’s slowing me down from attaining my objectives.

So don’t attempt to be good. Nobody is. Take pleasure in your life however at the least remember of which actions and duties may sluggish you down.

The Lengthy Recreation

Over time, you need to reside within the higher half of the quadrants (Q1 and Q2) and it turns into a enjoyable recreation. How are you able to add extra Q2 (Extraordinary Productiveness) in your day by day life and reduce the quantity of actions in Q1 (Necessity).

This can be a lifelong journey. Even to this in the present day, because the founder of AE, you may assume I’ve all of it figured however I don’t. I’m all the time optimizing what I put within the quadrants (I often consider this a couple of occasions a yr). And guess what…my actions are all the time altering. As Asian Effectivity grows, it forces me to velocity up what I do and what shouldn’t do. Thus, I’m including, shifting, and eliminating actions on a regular basis in my quadrants. Each time I’ve my considering time, I’ll typically refer again to my quadrants and take into consideration how I want to make changes.

The identical can be true for you and all of the individuals we’ve within the Dojo – our personal group with the most important productiveness coaching library. Individuals are posting on our personal discussion board what their objectives are and what they’re doing to obtain them. It’s an amazing place to get accountability – particularly whenever you have a tendency to procrastinate in your Q2 duties.

As you’re climbing the ladder and rising, you’ve gotten to ceaselessly re-evaluate the place your duties and actions belong. The quicker the expansion, the extra typically you want to do that.

The Distinction Between Actions and Duties

Earlier than we transfer to the subsequent actions, one factor I’d like for you to remember of is the distinction in actions and duties. Within the Covey guide (and most supplies you see on-line from others), you see examples of main life actions which might be being divided. For instance, “planning” and “relaxing” are main actions that you possibly can simply slot in Quadrant 2 (Extraordinary Productiveness). Identical to “filing taxes” is definitely slotted in Quadrant 1 (Necessity).

At AE we like to make the whole lot actionable. Whereas we advocate you fit main life actions within the 4 quadrants, on a sensible degree you need to do that too in your duties. It’s good to know on a excessive degree what it is best to and shouldn’t be doing. That’s being efficient.

Once we zoom in on the duty degree, we would like to be environment friendly. That’s the place rating your duties with the quadrants might be useful to execute them so as.

That’s why earlier within the publish I confirmed you an instance of what an unsorted todo record seemed like. As soon as you bought clear in your objectives, it turned simpler to type your todo record. Once we work with individuals, we all the time first need to determine what their objectives are and the way they are often efficient (50,000 ft degree to borrow a GTD idea). Solely then will we drill down on 10,000 ft degree and concentrate on being environment friendly.

The final step is to order your todo record and that’s actually the place this Q2 Matrix is useful.

Subsequent Actions

Now that you simply perceive how one can prioritize your todo listing, right here’s what we advocate you do subsequent:

  1. Recreate the matrix on a sheet of paper.
  2. Take your todo record and put all duties in a single of the quadrants
  3. As soon as it’s all slotted, put one Q2 (Extraordinary Productiveness) on the prime of your new todo record.
  4. Fill the remaining of the todo record with all the things you will have in Q1 (Necessity).
  5. Eat your frog with the primary activity in your listing and don’t transfer to the second activity till the primary process is completed.

You could have now efficiently prioritized your todo record. Doesn’t it really feel superb?

For extra actionable productiveness supplies, we advocate you take a look at the Dojo – our personal coaching library with a group of people who find themselves keen about productiveness. You possibly can see examples of how others (such as you) have efficiently used this precedence system and we now have extra supplies that may show you how to obtain your objectives quicker (together with the apps and instruments you need to use to implement this).

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