You’ve probably experienced a time when life felt overwhelming. You have so much on your plate that your to-do list rolls over day after day. When everything starts to pile up, what do you have the tendency to do? If you’re like me, sometimes you have so much to do, that overwhelm sets in and you end up getting nothing accomplished. Or you get half of each thing done, but never completely finish one thing. I’m going to share with you the “Eisenhower Matrix” – a productivity tool that will help you change your habits, stay focused, and accomplish more!
Balancing all the things
Currently, I have found myself on the job hunt. At the same time, I’m also publishing a weekly episode on the podcast, helping my husband with his startup company, and of course trying to be a somewhat decent wife and cat mom. But let me tell you, some days…it takes a toll. Some days, I have so many thoughts swirling in my mind that I momentarily shut down. (Also, Youtube and Instagram definitely do not help)
Your situation probably isn’t identical to mine (And if it is identical, that’s a little weird!). But I think all of us have a million little things going on, and can relate to high stress scenarios.
So let’s get out you of this cycle! The stress is always going to be there, so how can you develop better coping skills to break through and be productive?
Notes, checklists, and a matrix – oh my!
I make a lot of notes and checklists on my phone. When I have very specific tasks that need to be accomplished that day, I put them all into a task list and check them off as I complete them. It sounds stupid but it actually helps my stress level go down because I can see what I’m accomplishing. But I want to take it a step further.
Meet the Eisenhower Matrix. You may have created one of these in school, at work, or perhaps your day planner utilizes one similar.
What is the Eisenhower Matrix?
The Eisenhower Matrix is a great way to organize and prioritize your tasks! It was named after the 34th President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Under his command (as you can imagine), he made a lot of decisions, and created this chart to help prioritize his tasks by urgency and importance. It worked so well that it’s still a popular method used today.
How do you use the Eisenhower Matrix?
The Eisenhower Matrix is divided into 4 quadrants. Each quadrant takes into consideration 2 key bits of information – importance and urgency. Add your to-do list items to the 4 quadrants:
Quadrant 1: Tasks that are important for your life and career and need to be done immediately.
Quadrant 2: Tasks that are still important, but not as urgent and can be scheduled for the near future.
Quadrant 3: Tasks that are urgent but not important can be delegated (if possible).
Quadrant 4: Tasks that are not important or urgent can be saved for later or tossed out of your list completely! Let go of items that don’t serve you in any way.
How to make your own Eisenhower Matrix
You can create your own Eisenhower Matrix many different ways. Think of what form would work best with your lifestyle and productivity style. Here are a few ideas:
- Print this free handout I’ve created and put it on your fridge so you see it every morning
- Get a mini whiteboard to act as your reusable command center. Wipe it clean and add new tasks!
- Use sticky notes and hang them on your mirror, office wall, on your computer – wherever you’ll see them.
- Draw 4 quadrants in your planner or journal (I like this Panda Planner)
- Get a pack of colored popsicle sticks and physically sort your tasks into 4 containers (just don’t forget to look at them and complete them!)
Increase your Productivity with the Eisenhower Matrix
Having a plan always makes me feel better and alleviates some of my stress. The notes and checklists on my phone apps work wonders, but what I really like about the Eisenhower Matrix is that everything is in one place, and it’s very simple to look at. I don’t have to bounce around between apps, and I know exactly what needs to be accomplished every day based on the tasks I have decided to focus on. If you try this method out, let me know how it works for you!
Share your Eisenhower Matrix with me! Tag me on Instagram @adult_struggles – I’d love to see it.
Looking for more? Check out these books on Productivity!