Monday's Musings: The Eisenhower Principle: What are my Priorities?

by Mary Denman

Priorities in life....what's really important?
After taking some time off from blogging to try and evaluate how I get things done, or not done as the case may be, I came to a conclusion. I need to build in time to think. Regular time.

And, I need time to clarify what’s really important in life and where I spend my energy.

Part of what I looked at was the Eisenhower Matrix of time management.

It really helped me start thinking more clearly. Not just about time, but about my priorities. I’m not totally there yet, but it’s been a good start!

It’s different than writing out goals or dreams. While both of those are very important, I struggled to implement them.

This is where the Eisenhower Principle of decision-making came in. So, what is this methodology?

Eisenhower was quoted as saying, “I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent."

Which eventually led to four categories. Any given task falls under one of them.

Important & Urgent
Important & Not Urgent
Not Important & Urgent
Not Important & Not Urgent

Guess which category jumped out at me? Important and Not Urgent. You know, the one that says PLAN.
As I read examples from this category, I realized I don't PLAN very well. I’ve neglected this category and lived in the other three….

But when you live in the quadrant of Important and Not Urgent (PLAN) and get rid of Not Important and Not Urgent (STOP), the other two (DO & DELEGATE), become smaller and more manageable. Then you can get on with what’s really important.

What did I learn from reading about all this?

I confused “time wasting” activities with the true rest of “rest and relaxation.”

There are time wasters (escapes) I need to jettison from my life. Then, I need to add in the long-term taking care of me and actually do strategic planning towards my dreams.

I’ve started analyzing what I do. There’s definitely time I can recover in my life from doing mindless things and add that time to the mindful column.

I know this can’t happen all over-night. But it has started. And I’m excited about that.

I want to just enjoy a sunset
One change is that I’m going to take Sundays off from my computer. I've noticed other bloggers doing this and think it's a great idea!

I want to spend this day at church, with my family, reading, and thinking. I’ll give myself a short window of time to join the blog hops I normally do, but overall, I want to go electronic free. 

To take a breath and have room to think.
To use a pen and pencil if an idea strikes.
To play board games.
To sit on the sofa and read if I want to.
To go old school and ponder the universe.

And then come back refreshed on Mondays. Ready to write, blog and do my photography all week long!

How about you? Is there an area where you need to rethink your priorities? Or change the way you're living life right now? 

TWEETABLE: Using the Eisenhower Matrix to Evaluate Priorities & have more Productivity (click to tweet)

TWEETABLE: Figuring out what's most Important in life (click to tweet)


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  1. Very powerful, something I have been struggling with also. Would love to talk more about this with you.

    1. I'd love to talk about it more Patrick. I think those of us who struggle with management of our time can learn a lot from each other. One post I read was about not managing time but managing energy. I think that applies to me a lot. I'm going to research that some more and I ll share what I learn.

  2. Mary, you are forever challenging me! First it was with the goals - I'm still stuck at two! Now with this challenge to organize my life. Wasting-time activities are my biggest no-no. I waste lots of time and yet don't feel restful at the end of the day. I have a feeling that this organizational tool will help me identify a few more goals. Love you, girl!

    1. That's my job...Sherry challenger!! ;) While I haven't acted on everything yet, it's helping me figure out what's really important instead of just urgent!

      I love you too Sherry!

  3. I have also wanted to take time off on Sunday from anything electronic. I haven't totally succeeded yet, but that is my goal. I also love the chart. It's very helpful to prioritize. Thanks!

    1. Let me know how you do this week Barbara about taking Sunday off! I'm going to work towards that end this week!

  4. Great post Mary! I spend to much time wasting and not doing things I need to be getting done, then rushing around and getting stressed about time! I need to plan better,,

    Thanks for sharing at Creative Mondays

    1. This chart really has helped me visualize my time usage better! It's helping me think more clearly than just lists alone. Glad it helped Claire!