Looking at your massive to-do list and feeling like everything has to be done now? How do you prioritise? Where do you even begin?
I’ve got a magic wand to make it better – my Magic Matrix Action Sheet!
This is a new spin on an old favourite (by productivity guru Stephen Covey) and it works every time. You’ll get a clearer picture of what’s really important – and what can wait.
Have a stack of these handy so you can whip one out whenever your head’s in a whirl.
‘But it all feels important and urgent!’
It won’t feel that way once you’ve done this:
Step 1: Click here to print your Magic Matrix Action Sheet.
Step 2: Put your tasks into the relevant quadrants. (Write down everything on your list plus what’s taking up valuable headspace.)
Q1: Important and Urgent
This is the JUST DO IT box. If it needs doing today or latest tomorrow (and only you can do it) put it here. Having too much stuff in this box is stressful as it means you’re in fire fighting mode. You ideally want to spend as little time in this box as possible.
Example: Calling the plumber to fix the blocked toilet, buying a birthday present for the party this afternoon, taking sick pet to the vet.
Q2. Important But Not Urgent (Yet)
Here’s where you put the stuff that’s not screamingly urgent yet, but will be if you leave it too long. It’s also the place for planning and organisation. This is where you want to spend most of your time each day.
Examples: Meal planning, sending cards, paying bills, booking flights, making appointments, figuring out the costume for your child’s school performance (instead of the night before).
Q3. Not Urgent and Not Vitally Important (but you still really want to do it!)
Put stuff here that you don’t want to forget and it’ll stay on your radar. Later when you’re out of overwhelm, start to break bigger projects down into smaller steps so you can block off small chunks of time to make some headway on it.
Examples: Organising your photos, creating albums, clearing the clutter, home decorating projects, travel research.
Once you’ve identified it as not urgent or important right now, stop thinking about it. This is the ticket to getting out of overwhelm. It’s here on your list and doesn’t need to be taking up room in your brain.
What doesn’t have to be done by you? When your head’s in a spin and you’ve got waaaay too much on your plate, it’s time to delegate. Don’t be a martyr. Ask for help. It’s all about how you ask. Can another mother from school collect your kids? Can your friend run an errand for you at the same time she’s running her own? Can your hubby / kids pitch in? If you admit you’re snowed under and you ask nicely, people are generally happy to help out. (Wouldn’t you?)
I hope this Magic Matrix helps clear your cluttered brain and gives you some perspective on what you need to focus on now – and what can wait.
Going forward, guard your Q2 time like a mother tiger. Operating within this quadrant is the key to feeling less like a headless chicken and more like a productivity ninja. When life throws you a Q1 style curveball (which it will) you’ll have the time and head space to deal with it easier.
Want more help getting on top of your endless to-do list? Click here to Master Your To-Do List!
In the comments below, let me know how you keep it together when you’re swamped.
Mixing practicality with self-awareness, Kelly helps mothers get on top of their endless to-do’s and see life beyond the laundry pile. Grab her free Life Wheel Tool for discovering what needs your focus first.
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