March 04, 2012

The Four Quadrants of the To Do list

Stick to the important, before it becomes urgent.

Here’s another way to manage the ‘To do’  list when there are many tasks that need to be taken care of , immediately, or in the long run. This method is also very useful when we find ourselves doing nothing but putting out fires. 

Instead of just putting out the fires, and constantly chasing after the daily tasks, we should stop for five minutes, and even without knowing time management theories, simply present our tasks in a visual way. That way we can start working on what’s REALLY important, and stop the constant crisis breaking out.

So what DO you do?
Start off with KISS. Keep It Simple.
Now, how can we manage the task list better?
Let’s divide our tasks into four, like below:

Now, start adding your tasks to the board, each task according to how important and urgent it really is.
(Of course, when it comes to Agile Kids, we do this as a family).
This way, the task board appears much clearer, and we know what needs to be done.
This is known as the Eisenhower Method.

Now, when you want to complete a task, just follow these simple rules to determine if it’s REALLY what you need to do next.

1.     Stick to the important
Sometimes you find that what’s really important as a family - like reading a book to your children, or talking to them - isn’t urgent, so it keeps getting postponed. Don’t forget that what you don’t do today, will come to haunt you in the future as a crisis. So if the task is important  - make sure you complete it. 

2.     Start with those that are due soon and assign them with a date and an owner.
3.     Then work on those tasks that may be due later.
4.     Delegate urgent and non important issues.
5.     Make sure to review your tasks from time to time and see if their position in the four quadrants has changed.


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