Tools and tactics to become more productive
Most people love a bargain.
The idea that you can get pretty much the same product or service but for less of your hard-earned cash. We’ve probably all had a situation where we have bought something and then a week later spotted it on sale somewhere else for a fraction of the price. Tough to take!
What we all share is that our days are 24 hours long.
What sets us apart is that some people can get discounts on their time every day getting more done in less time.
Have you heard of the expression busy fools?
Stephen Covey, author of '7 Habits of Highly Effective People', discusses the “activity trap” (busily climbing the ladder of activity without realising it's against the wrong wall).
This is where your day either gets filled with urgent and non-value driving activities or worse still, procrastination and other activities that waste your time.
So outside of the Eat the Frog and our Habit Tracker what do we do to keep efficient with our time?
The Eisenhower Matrix
One of our favourites is the Eisenhower Matrix, formalised by Stephen Covey, based on principles developed by Eisenhower.
Eisenhower was a busy dude, a general in WW2 and the 34th president of the US.
He said “I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.”
How do you know the Eisenhower Matrix is for you?
- need more mental space for your goals
- are a busy fool
- spend your day putting out fires or getting pulled away from your actual role
- have a difficult time prioritising your tasks
- have a giant workload
- are partial to bit of procrastination
Research by Meng Zhu in 2018 showed that people tend to prioritise urgent, unimportant tasks above non-urgent important tasks. An (albeit extreme) example Zhu cites is ‘choosing to visit a store for its soon-to-end annual sale might lead one to postpone a routine medical check-up, which could be potentially lifesaving by diagnosing cancer at an early, curable stage’.
There’s a couple of potential reasons why we may end up prioritising tasks in this way.
- Important tasks are often more difficult
- Urgent tasks often come from others so there are social pressures
- Payoffs from Urgent tasks are typically realised sooner
- Payoffs from important tasks can be more uncertain
Know your enemy though. Being self-aware and reflective is often half the battle.
If you can be more present and aware of how you are being pulled away into urgent tasks it will help you prioritise your time and get more out of your days.
So that leads us on to the Matrix.
What are the four types of tasks in the Eisenhower Matrix
Urgent, not urgent, important and not important.
Credit – Todoist Blog which breaks down each step in more detail. Eisenhower Matrix template
Give the Matrix a go and let us know how you get on!
The two minute rule
Top tip from us… we think it works best when accompanied with the 2-minute rule.
David Allen, productivity guru explains “If an action will take less than two minutes, it should be done at the moment it’s defined.”
The reason I love using this rule myself is twofold.
Firstly, it stops procrastination and prevents the build-up of small tasks which have the tendency to overwhelm you.
Secondly, its way more efficient.
If something takes 2 minutes or less to complete where is the sense is in logging it in at the bottom of your to-do list for you to then forget?
We hope you found this useful.