When you see your 'to-do' list growing longer and longer, it's tempting to sit there and wonder just how much longer it might get. Is there a Guiness World Records category for procrastinating? There ought to be. The closest thing I could find was Longest Marathon Hugging. Really? I love a good hug as well as the next person, but for 24 hours and 44 minutes? I'd have run screaming!
We've all procrastinated, and it's like running up a credit card, easy to ignore until the bill comes due. When I was younger, that task debt was constantly nipping at my heels. Often, it was simply a matter of trying to figure out where to begin! Fortunately, becoming an adult often comes with a realization that getting it done now pays off handsomely later. When I worked in an advertising agency, back in the '70's, one of the owners had a favorite expression: "do it now". It got the eye-rolls that you might expect from us at the time, but as I got on with my life, the wisdom of those three little words stuck with me. I've wondered, in later years, if somehow Nike poached the "Just Do It" from Chris.
We had a wonderfully talented copywriter at the agency back in those days, but we all understood that he could get bogged down by a 'too broad' topic and never make the deadline. The joke was as follows: Don't ask him to write about 'seasonings'. His desk would be covered with dozens of scraps of paper, each on a separate aspect of the topic. Tell him to write about Salt. Then, Pepper. Then, Basil. All of it would be brilliant. And, it would be on schedule.
Later, I discovered the Eisenhower Decision Matrix. It was actually more life-changing that you might think. It saved me from indecision and wasting time, and I became far more productive and happier over-all. Let me show you what it is, and how I use it in my everyday life.
The brilliance of this matrix and method lies in its' simplicity. Faced with a decision, you can quickly draw it out on the back of an envelope, or the back of your hand, work it and get on with the thing. It's one of those hacks that I'd encourage every parent to teach to their kids.
These days, being a Mac user, I have four Mac Stickies on my 'desktop' all of the time. They're labeled: URGENT/IMPORTANT, URGENT/LESS IMPORTANT, LESS URGENT/ IMPORTANT and LESS URGENT/LESS IMPORTANT - or, as I call it 'WHENEVER'. You can also think of them - and label them - Must Do Today, Must Do This Week, Must Do This Month, Delegate. Once you get the 'sense' of this, design it any way that works for you.
So, if you'd like to be more productive, and have more guilt-free time to relax and play, why not try this simple method for a week or two. It's free and what do you have to lose?