Welcome to Post #2 of the #SimpleSummer series!
Okay, it’s time to pull out the list you made last week. I told you we would be doing something with that. 😉 Remember the one? The list of your summer dreams, expectations, and wanna-do projects? If not, that’s okay. Go back and read the post, then make your list and come back here.
This week we’re going to get into how to prioritize that list and set you on the best path to creating your #SimpleSummer.
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The Eisenhower Matrix
The Eisenhower Matrix is a method of prioritizing tasks which is attributed to former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower. He has been quoted as saying, “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.”
Using this process, you will divide your lists of tasks and projects into the following categories:
Urgent and Important — DO
These items will help you reach your goals AND are time-sensitive, so you need to do them immediately.
Important, but not Urgent — SCHEDULE
These items will help you reach your goals, but they do not need to be done right away. However, if they are important enough to be in this box, then you need to schedule a time to complete them as soon as possible.
Urgent, but not Important — DELEGATE
These are the things that take up so much time, but don’t really get you closer to your goals. Think “interruptions” like phone calls, certain household or business tasks, etc.
If you work from home, I can guarantee you have a LOT of these. They SEEM important, but that’s only because we allow them to take up so much mental real estate. It’s vital to learn to delegate these tasks.
Neither Urgent nor Important — DELETE
You’re going to have these. Watching television, browsing the internet and social media, dwelling on problems instead of finding solutions, etc.
Since we’re talking about having a relaxing and enjoyable summer, it does make sense that you will want to kick back and read more or watch some mindless television. BUT, if you find you can’t complete the important things on your list, then these items need to GO — at least until you feel less stressed about the more important things.
Suggestions to Make It Work
So how do you use this and put it into practice?
First, let’s talk about a couple of ways you can go about dividing your tasks.
Use a whiteboard or poster board with sticky notes
If you have a difficult time deciding, make a big board divided into quadrants. Write all of your tasks on sticky notes and place them where you FIRST THINK they belong.
Once everything is in a quadrant, go back and look at them again. You probably have a lot of things in the Urgent/Important quadrant that don’t actually belong there. Do yourself a HUGE favor and move them to where they actually belong.
Printable blank matrix pages
If you’re not up to creating a big board, you can do the same thing with mini sticky notes on a regular piece of paper, or print out some blank matrix forms from the Filling the Jars Resource Library.
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Use your results to create a master plan for the summer. Then break things down into a daily or weekly plan.
If you use Trello, here is a good article about how to turn the Eisenhower Matrix into a Trello board.
Take your family into account. Part of your #SimpleSummer is a happy family.
First, some tasks on your list probably can and should be delegated to family members.
Second, ask for their input on what projects or summer plans would make the most difference to the family as a whole. Just remember it’s okay to say “no” if their suggestions are too outrageous or overwhelming.
If your matrix is jam-packed with plans and projects, take some time to think about each thing and make a decision about whether it’s really necessary or not. Remember, your goal is to SIMPLIFY, not to see how many things you can put on your list to accomplish. This matrix is supposed to help you prioritize and reduce the number of things you think you “need” to do.
Release. Refresh. Relax.
Keep this summer’s phrase in mind. Don’t work so hard PLANNING your #SimpleSummer that you forget to start LIVING it. The entire point of using the Eisenhower Matrix is to make it easier for you to concentrate only on DOING the things that will help you have your best summer.
Remember to take some quiet time every day for yourself. Schedule this in the Important, but not Urgent section.
Learn to let things go. Don’t feel guilty! You can’t do a good job at accomplishing anything or helping others if you are spread too thin.
Your summer list may look nothing at all like your autumn or winter list. That’s okay! Your only focus right now is creating a #SimpleSummer.
Don’t forget to subscribe to Filling the Jars for more #SimpleSummer encouragement!