Your coworkers are all stressing about upcoming deadlines in your department. You’re bogged down by emails, and there is a pile of paperwork overflowing from your inbox. As the day turns into afternoon you plod through the day’s tasks and daydream of eventually getting home to your kids.
To get out of the office (or classroom, in may case) in a timely manner, I brainstorm all the tasks that I feel need to get done. Then I sort them into the 4 quadrants of the Stephen Covey matrix, and rank them in order to importance.
When you are faced with a task, it can be categorized as
- Quadrant 1: Urgent and important. This includes crises and last-minute deadline changes
- Quadrant 2: Important but not urgent. Things like exercising and preparing things ahead of time belong in this quadrant
- Quadrant 3: Not important but urgent. Facebook distractions and phone or email interruptions fall into this quadrant.
- Quadrant 4: Not important and not urgent. Time-wasters like Pinterest browsing and playing candy crush go here, and are not at all helpful when you’re trying to get your work done quickly.
When those last few hours of the workday seem like they take forever, yet you feel like you didn’t finish all that you needed to in the day, maybe you’re not taking the right approach to completing your tasks. To be the most effective in the shortest amount of time possible, you really have to prioritize. It’s how a busy mom like me gets stuff done!