When approached with a dilemma there is a systematic way to decide what to do. Especially when it comes to which task to prioritise
My mentor taught me this technique back in 2013 when I was launching my first “proper” company. It was in a program set-up by Prince Charles to help young entrepreneurs start businesses. My mentor was taking about Eisenhower Decision Matrix. Fancy name right? Here is how it works.
Every task falls under one of 4 categories:
Non important, non urgent
This is where most fun things are. For example, Gaming and Netflix.
Not important and not urgent
Not all urgent things are actually important. This category is actually the most distracting one. Because it’s urgent, our mind somehow thinks it’s also important. It usually isn’t. For example: Texts and WhatsApp messages. Unless they’re in a business environment, we really don’t need to worry about them if we have tasks from the next two categories
Important but not urgent
This is the golden category. The more we focus on these the more we get done. For example: Creating content, working on your business plan, marketing strategy, cleaning the kitchen, and the list goes on. If we do the tasks in these categories, nothing should ever get to the next category
Important and urgentEmergencies. Tasks that don’t purposely find their way on to your calendar or to-do list. If anything comes under this category then you’re either about to make an immediate loss. That loss can be a physical injury or even monetary. For example: A fire, business/school/life deadlines that you left too late.
Always prioritise importance over urgency unless the task is important and urgent at the same time.If you let a task linger around too long in any category, it will upgrade itself to the next one. For example: taking a break to play some games is not important and not urgent. However, if you wait long enough it will become more and more urgent/important
So how to make a decision?
Step 1. Break down your options. Usually you will only have 2-3.
Step 2. Work out which option is more important (not urgent).
Step 3. Do the important tasks first.