Does it ever occur to you that we ask too much of ourselves and others?
There’s the same amount of time in each day, but our plans often tack task after task until the list seems like a never-ending slipping slide.
I personally like making out to-do lists because they keep me accountable, structured, and organized throughout the day. At times I even catch myself adding “read book” to my to-do list. Reading is something that I have prioritized to do in my leisure time or when I might otherwise be scrolling across the latest Facebook feed.
How do we keep ourselves from being overrun by the lists we make, or by the list Facebook makes on our feed?
We’re in control of our mind, but the tasks, the things we feel must be done, especially for responsible individuals, seem out of reach of our control. When we administer ourselves or others a series of tasks that need to be completed, there is a way we should go about doing so in terms of importance and urgency.
Importance can be labeled with upper and lowercase letters with “A” being the highest priority and “z” being the lowest priority.
For example, one of our highest priority tasks might be labeled “AI” (roman numerals represent urgency). A lowercase letter means that the task is not of high priority and likewise, a roman numeral that is lowercase means the task isn’t urgent. So, a task that isn’t highly important but is urgent should be labeled with a lowercase letter and an uppercase roman numeral like “bI”.
Using this method, you will not need to worry about numbering the roman numerals. The sequence you will label tasks under will be based on an alphabetical sequencing. This strategy allows people to understand which tasks demand the most of their time and which tasks must be finished first.
In the instance that no task contains an uppercase letter, you’d prioritize the roman numeral that is uppercase and closest to zero. Here’s a simple example of just listing tasks off the top of my head (which is the whole point to get these tasks off your mind and on paper):
- (AI)- Biology Test (Important & Urgent)
- (aI)- Schedule Dentist Check-Up (Not Important & Urgent)
- (Bi)- Workout (Important & Not Urgent)
This process of completing tasks is called “The Eisenhower Matrix”. It looks like this:
If you can get in the habit of applying this matrix to your tasks you’ll see a reduction in a lot of unnecessary stress and become much more productive.
Everyone wants less stress and to become more productive, right? I know I do.
Who does this best apply to? Anyone looking to be more productive and reduce stress from their to-do list in general. However, it’s highly beneficial to students, people who are task-oriented, and managers. That doesn’t just apply to managers in the job sense, but also to those people who wish to better manage their own life.■
This post was originally published 10/05/2018 on The College Stoic.