Everyday, we stare at a list of things that need to be done and we just know it ain’t gonna happen!
The best way to prioritise and deal with the tasks that need to be done is by using Eisenhower’s Priority Matrix (the quadrant method.)
The Eisenhower Matrix is a productivity, prioritisation, and time-management framework designed to help you prioritise a list of tasks or agenda items by first categorising those items according to their urgency and importance.
Important and urgent. For example adding safety features for your baby or pet. These are a priority.
Proper home maintenance will diminish the number of things in the first quadrant and that is good because these are the most stressful.
While we’ll never be able to completely eliminate urgent and important tasks, we can significantly reduce them with a bit of proactivity and by spending more time in Quadrant 2.
Q2 tasks are typically centered around strengthening relationships, planning for the future, and improving yourself.
Here are some specific examples of Not Urgent but Important Tasks:
- Weekly planning
- Long-term planning
- Family time
We should seek to spend most of our time on Q2 activities, as they’re the ones that provide us lasting happiness, fulfillment, and success.
Unfortunately, due to the lack of a deadline and urgency, these tasks often sit in the back burner.
Q3 tasks are activities that require our attention now (urgent), but don’t help us achieve our goals or fulfill our mission (not important).
Most Q3 tasks are interruptions from other sources (often unavoidable) like bringing in the clothes because it decided to rain. Totally unexpected!
These things are most often not on our to-do list.
As far as possible try to delegate these tasks as they don’t usually require your personal attention.
Q4 activities aren’t pressing nor do they help you achieve long-term goals or fulfill your mission as a person. They’re primarily distractions.
At this point, I kind of deviate from Eisenhower’s approach of eliminating
these liberties we take. I prefer to limit them to
- When you need a break from your daily grind
- When you actually have time to spare
- Time you have allocated to yourself
While I agree we should not waste too much time on these activities or tasks, I also see Q4 as Self Care. Things we do because we feel like it! Watching a movie may be a useless task but after a long day, we want to unwind and relax.
planning carefully will allow you to be centred in Q2.
Q1 should be your priorities but too many tasks in Q1 is a sign of a weak strategy.
Q3 needs to be assessed carefully or you will be busy all day but nowhere nearer to your goals. As much as possible, delegate these tasks.
Those that cannot it should not be delegated, are bumped up to Q2.
And Q4, should be limited to self care for an allocated time span. So, don’t while away time that can be used more productively.
Note: This is my variation to the Eisenhower Priority Matrix. I use this for clients and for myself. In no way am I undermining the distinguished matrix but am instead adapting it to better suit homemakers who I believe do benefit from Q4.