One of the things that make people feel stressed out and overwhelmed is having too much to do and too little time to do it
In a previous post we shared a simple calendar hack to make it a great day before it even starts. In this post, we will look at a simple change to your to-do list that can help you maximize productivity and lower stress.
All tasks are not created equal. When people tend to write a task list, they are actually performing a “brain dump”. This means they simply write down everything that comes to mind that needs to be done. The problem is that this list gets long quickly and isn’t in any specific order. This causes stress as you then try to sift through it and accomplish what’s most important.
This simple hack will organize your to-do list, removing all stress and helping you get the most important items done first!
Prioritize your to-do list using a “2×2 Matrix”.This system was popularized by Stephen Covey in his book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. The “2×2 matrix’ is simply a box divided into 4 grids like this:
This simple system allocates tasks based on 4 categories:
3. Not Urgent
4. Not Important
After you perform a “brain dump” of all tasks on your mind, you can organize them each day using this system. The break down would look something like this:
– Grid 1 contains items that are “Urgent and Important”: These are your most important tasks for the day and should be focused on first while your focus and energy are high.
– Grid 2 contains items that are “Not Urgent but are Important”: These tasks are important but don’t have to be done today. You can’t ignore them forever, but today is not the day to do them. Try to plan time in the future to get to these items so you don’t put them off too long.
– Grid 3 contains items that are “Urgent but Not Important”: These items are all the “fires” we must put out each day. If we aren’t careful, they will keep us busy all day long and leave us feeling exhausted and overwhelmed at how little we accomplished compared to how busy we were. Usually these can be delegated, so try to pass them off so you can focus on what matters most.
– Grid 4 contains items that are “Not Urgent and Not Important”: This is where everything else goes. This is also the most dangerous part of your list. It contains things like books to read one day (good for you) as well as checking social media feeds (potentially bad if done at the wrong time). Typically, these items can suck up lots of time and will yield no positive results in your productivity, so beware!
A day’s to-do list matrix might look like this if you are a writer for a living:
This simple system can be adjusted on the fly as new tasks arise, creating focus, maximizing productivity and reducing stress. It will leave you energized and feeling successful at the end of each day. This will build forward momentum from one day to the next, making every day a great day!
Make it a Great Day Today and Hack your To-Do List for Ultimate Stress-Free Productivity.
Don’t let those inferior items on your to-do list take up space un your head any longer. Try a 2×2 grid and let the little things wait. With this simple hack you can Make it a Great Day. For more tips on how you can let go of the little things check out the full post on 7 Ways to Chase Stress out of Your Life!.