How To Do Your Scheduling & Difference Between Urgent vs Important Tasks

Putting things in your diary is a great way to carve out some space and time for them. As any coach will tell you nailing down a commitment to take action on goals is a key part of the activity when working with a client.

There’s a formula for coaching called the GROW model and the “W” stands for will or way forward. At this stage in the session the coach will work hard to get the client to commit time and energy to the activity they want to work on.

Great coaches know that the more specific the client is about when and where they will take action the greater the chance of success. Making time and space in your diary to work on something greatly improves the chances of you doing actually doing it. Universities and educational institutes already share the benefits of scheduling with their students to help them avoid cramming.

Scheduling is a great tool for making you become more productive without having to do anything extra. Using scheduling you can;

  • Work when you are at your best
  • Batch tasks together
  • Have in and out days – which help focus your mind
  • Avoid distractions
  • Work in focussed bursts
  • Achieve a state of flow (heightened productivity)

Imagine you wanted to head to somewhere you had never visited before and it involved a journey by car. Would you set off with no idea of how to get there? I suspect not. Most of us would plan the route, program the satnav or look at the map if you are old school like me.

When it comes to organising our day we often head into our working space, whether that be our place of employment or self employment without a clear plan for the day. In such conditions it’s easy to see how we can end up frustrated at the end of the day, feeling that we have been very busy but not exactly sure what we have achieved.

Scheduling means making decisions about which activities to prioritise and which activities should be done first.

At this stage of the program my advice is to do the following;

  • Start tracking your time over the next week while you work through this program.
  • Use RescueTime over the next week to monitor your activity online.
  • Work through the rest of this coming actionable blog posts and then follow the implementation tool at the end.

URGENT VS. IMPORTANT

Urgent tasks often feel like they are important, but often they are not. The problem with urgent tasks is that they often demand much our attention and they often have a looming deadline and a sense of pressure.

Their urgency does not give us the space to do our best work and they also require much moving round of other projects and activities to accommodate them. Urgent tasks come with a heavy price when it comes to being effective and productive.

In this section let’s discover;

 

  • How to decide if something is urgent or important, or both

 

Spending time on urgent activities means there is never time to focus on the strategic, the planning, the meaty important stuff that means the most to us. This tool is often referred to as the Eisenhower decision matrix – it takes its name from Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States.

This is a great tool to use when planning where to spend time and focus.

By moving away from urgent tasks we create space to work on the things that are really important.

Remember urgent stuff is often the most stressful type of work. It can often mean we are working under pressure and that can use up a great deal of our energy and personal resources. It’s this type of work that can feel frustrating and exhausting.

Before you can start scheduling your time you need to make some decisions about what is important and what isn’t.

The matrix below gives suggestions on how you should deal with tasks that fall into each category. The aim of the activity is to spend most of your time on the Important Not Urgent stuff that often gets overlooked as we fire fight all the urgent things.

Don’t worry about when you will be doing these things for now. Simply use the matrix to start looking at your current workload. This will help you decide how you want to schedule your time later on in the program.

Important and Not Urgent     Urgent and Important

Schedule       Deal with   

Urgent and Not Important     Not Urgent and Not Important

Delegate       Ditch

Use the following template to help you planning. Don’t worry if you don’t get it right first time. Tasks that often feel important initially can, as part of this process, reveal themselves as urgent and not that important.

Once you have worked through the planning exercise answer the focus questions at the end of this session.

 

Urgent and Important Important and Not Urgent
Urgent and Not Important Not Urgent and Not Important

Some questions to think about:

What did you notice as a result of completing this exercise?

How comfortable are you with the idea of delegating tasks/responsibilities?

Is there anything that might stop you delegating tasks/responsibilities?

What type of tasks do you currently spend most of your time on?

What type of tasks would you like to spend most of your time on?

 

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