We all know the Eisenhower Matrix.
Just in case you’ve never heard about it, here you can find a useful site to learn what it is and how you can implement it to manage your time better and improve your productivity.
The problem is what usually happens. Everything works perfectly on paper but, when you try to implement it in your life, it sucks.
Life’s not easy today. We’re all day running, rush is our most common word, our priorities change every minute.
Stress, anxiety, frustration, all kind of negative feelings start emerging from our deepest inner self.
Stop it, my friend, you will soon die if you keep on going that way. Take it easy. Your health is your most critical asset, and life doesn’t depend on an order, a sale, or a payment.
It’s time to reflect, to calm down, to deeply analyze your life, your feelings, where you want to go.
I’ve done and feel all this throughout my life. The typical situation is that we only focus on urgent things, forgetting about the important ones.
Days, months, and years pass, and we haven’t done anything important to us.
We’ve just managed the urgent things, the ones that are important to others, the ones that give us money (or, at least, we think they do, because that’s what reality is usually).
We only look at the short term, and medium-long term issues never get done. They’re abandoned in a “Someday/Maybe Later” list.
Here I will share my vision on this issue because focusing on urgent and forgetting about important goals was my daily routine for many years.
I’ve fought to get out of that rabbit hole, and I made it. It’s been a life-changing process, and I hope this article can help you move one step forward.
The first step is sitting down one weekend, alone, without phones, without an Internet connection, and without watches surrounding you.
Without anyone waiting for you.
Just you and an endless amount of time ahead. You don’t mind if this process will take you 1 hour or 1 year. You don’t care about time.
Stay calm, breathe, and start thinking.
- How do you evaluate your whole life?
- Do you like your job?
- Your relationships?
- Are you doing the things you want to do?
- How’s your health?
- How are your emotions, your feelings?
This sounds a little bit surrealist, kind of too philosophical, but I recommend doing this at some point in your life.
If you don’t do it, you will keep on “an urgent basis life”, doing other priorities, ending up with a sense of emptiness.
When you think about all these types of issues, think about how you will like to see yourself within 3, 4, or 5 years from now.
How would you like to see you then?
Write it down everything. Be precise. Don’t just focus on spiritual or philosophical things. Say all the things that really matter to you.
- If it’s a Ferrari, write it down.
- A yacht, write it down.
- A mansion, write it down.
They will be your existential principles. Your ambitions. What really matters to you. What is IMPORTANT to you.
Those should be the things that rule your life because if you don’t live looking at them and doing the tasks you need to achieve them, what are you living for?
As you can see, it’s just common sense.
We try to look for excuses, say that we have responsibilities, expenses, and things that stop us from doing the things we should do.
If that’s the case, then you’re wrong about what is really important to you. Those responsibilities and expenses are the ones that are. Admit it. They’re ruling your life. So focus on them.
If you disagree, then make as your IMPORTANT thing in life, to get rid of them. Start working towards that future self who won’t have those responsibilities, expenses, or things.
If you start working in that direction, it’s just a matter of time to achieve your goal.
I have made lots of big mistakes, and be sure everything can be solved. Maybe it’ll take you years, but, in the end, you’ll accomplish it.
Now you have a list of your important things in life. You will see we don’t have too many REALLY IMPORTANT things in our lives. It’s incredible how our brains fool us.
In my case, to give you an example, this is what drives my life:
- Taking care of my family, friends, and people who depend on me.
- My health.
- Learn. Being a better self. Evolve.
- Meeting new people everywhere.
- Feeling common sense into my life. Doing the things I should to achieve my goals. Organization and control based on processes and tech systems.
As you can see, a handy figure. Just 6.
6 things that are really important. The rest is not. It can wait. It’s not a priority.
Now we have to set goals to achieve those important things.
Goals give us a direction, they motivate us because we’re seeing them in our future. We can draw a picture. The picture we are looking for.
Start with high-level goals, ambiguous, not very well defined, and think how to transform them into low-level goals, those that you can measure, quantify.
- High-level goal: to be on fit.
- Low-level goal: to walk every day for 30 minutes.
Now, create tasks to achieve that low-level goal. Whenever you have too many related tasks, you can include them inside a project.
Remember: tasks and projects always have due dates. Something that hasn’t a due date is never scheduled. Things that are not scheduled, they’re never done.
Now comes reality.
Urgent things appear all over the place and attack you daily. You start focusing on them, and your important tasks, projects, goals are never achieved.
What to do then?
I always follow these steps to tackle the situation:
- Pay attention to your urgent things. Are they really urgent? Can they wait for tomorrow? If the answer is yes, delay them. No problem. It’s not a tragedy to delay something that is not important but urgent. Remember: Your focus is IMPORTANT things.
- Force yourself to do every day at least one task based on your IMPORTANT goals. I always try three because that guarantees I’ll do at least one.
By doing so, you will see you’re moving towards your goals.
Compound interest will do its job.
Working daily, without stopping, you will be surprised of all the (IMPORTANT) things that can be done just in a month.
Imagine in 3 or 6 months.
Imagine in a year.
That’s the way you will evolve. You will avoid that emptiness sensation. Your life will have sense to you.
There’s nothing more URGENT in your life than your IMPORTANT existential principles.