A very good friend of mine rang me last night to say that she was feeling frustrated and unmotivated. Although she had written a To Do list in the morning and had ticked off a good number of the things on it, she still felt that she wasn’t moving forward and achieving anything. I quoted Peter Drucker, “Efficiency is doing things right, Effectiveness is doing the right things” and suggested that whilst she had efficiently got through a good part of her list, if she was still feeling like she wasn’t moving forward, maybe the things on her list weren’t the things she should be doing and consequently she wasn’t be effective.
I’m a member of 4Networking and last Friday I did a new 4Sight at one of the meetings I attend regularly (for non-4Ners, a 4Sight is 10 minutes talking about something useful or interesting). My 4Sight was based around The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss (a book worth reading if you want to reduce the number of hours you work) and one of his points is that we have to ‘eliminate’ work that we shouldn’t be doing. I used this same quote from Peter Drucker and also shared a time-management tool from Dr Stephen Covey called the Important vs. Urgent Matrix.
One side of the matrix indicates the level of importance and the other indicates the urgency of the task. If you split your To Do list into these 4 squares, you will probably find that little of what you are doing is in spare 2, which is the ideal place for you to “live”. If that is the case you need to think about delegating the unimportant tasks and managing things better to avoid fire-fighting.
I have found an article which explains this well, so rather than re-inventing the wheel I will point you to there if you’d like to investigate this tool further – click here.