Woke up after a day off wondering what was on my to-do list today. Nothing seemed urgent or important except a visit this afternoon from a friend temporarily in town. My most urgent “work” job was on hold, waiting for a software problem to be sorted out. In the meantime, I had so many options for useful or necessary or entertaining activities! Which one to choose?
At work many use this handy tool, easy to find on the internet: the Urgent Important Matrix, which President Eisenhower was known to use and Stephen Covey made popular. Most jobs are either urgent or not urgent, and important or not important. What could be simpler than a 4-cell table? (Heaps, akshilly.)
The world of business coaching and time management is the natural habitat of the Eisenhower urgent-important matrix. But today it helped me, a little old lady poet wondering how to organise her day.
Strangely, the matrix can do your head in if you let it. I went to the trouble of creating a table that made each quadrant of the grid very clear and left room for me to write my tasks in the squares. It’s all cool.
What a nerd am I! And proud of it. I get pleasure from such little life hacks. And now: off to buy watermelon and canele for my darling friend. That’s both important and urgent—which is obvious, of course.
Do some of your days have that messy feeling? The urgent-important matrix just might help you too.
update: What a fraud am I! The matrix was not-important, not-urgent
I published this post yesterday. Now I realise that I spent an hour or so yesterday morning doing something with zero importance and zero urgency: making a printable table for myself (fiddle fiddle fiddle), using it and sticking it into my diary. I made myself sound rather efficient, true? But the truth is, my desk diary looks like this:
But hey! Works for me. And I will use the table again… if I can find it.