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How to 10x Your PRODUCTIVITY (Urgent / Important Matrix)

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The 10 Minute MBA, is a no-fluff daily podcast that teaches you practical business lessons you can use to grow your business immediately.

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Welcome to the ten minute MBA. I'm your host, Scott Dclary, on the ten minute MBA. You know what it is, daily podcast where I break down tools, technique, strategies insights that you can use immediately to start grows scale ten x your business. Today I'm going to be talking about one of the most important time management principles I've ever come across, I've ever used that has helped me maximize every single hour in my week, in my day, because, let's face it, we all have lists. Entrepreneurs usually have longer lists, and we need to figure out how to get the most out of every single day and we all think we're great at time management. When we first start a business, you have the list of things you know you have to get done and then life happens, family happens, extracurricular happens, you get sick, you're tired, perhaps you're starting a side hustle and you...

...still have a main job regardless. For most of US normal human people that aren't robots, stuff falls through the cracks and this is where I found a lot of stress when I was starting my first business. I've gone through multiple iterations of entrepreneurship I've done consulting, I've built a PODCAST, I've tried to start tech companies, I run a newsletter, I blog, I build my own brand, I post on and social I do all the entrepreneurial stuff and some of it's worked out, some of it's not. But I've always struggled, especially in the early days, with time management and this is where the urgent important Matrix, otherwise known as the Eisenhower Matrix, really helped me and I think it will help you because it is truly timeless. So first let me just give you a little bit of a history, lesson and context around the urgent important matrix or principle. The goal of this, this strategy when...

...it comes to organizing your day, is to use this principle to help you understand which tasks should be prioritized in a day. So everybody has tons of stuff, everybody has things going on all the time. This principle should help you prioritize what you should do that day, why you should do that week, that month, that quarter, that year, so that you know that the most important things are being done, the things that really move you forward, and without properly thinking through which things should move you forward, and which things are the most important or which things are the most urgent. You're just going to take on whatever comes across your desk next, or you're going to take on whatever email comes into your inbox or whoever calls you next. That's the thing that you start working on. That's how things important things slip through the crack. That's how you get stressed out, that's how you get burnt out. So the urgent important Matrix comes from a speech that President Dwight D...

Eisenhower, who is actually quoting Dr j Roscoe Miller, who was a president of northwestern university. He was speaking to the Second Assembly of the World Council of Churches and he said, quote, I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgents are not important and the important are not urgent. That was the speech that the Eisenhower principle stemmed from, and the Eisenhower principle was said to be how he organized his workload and his priorities based on the urgency in the importance. So this of course evolved over time, but this essentially led people to categorize the various tasks that you have in a day into a list a priority sequence so that you know what's urgent and what's important. And when you break down this principle and how it has evolved today, what you are quite literally going to do is you are going to create a matrix. By a Matrix I mean like draw one line vertical and...

...then draw another line horizontal, so you basically have a tea, I guess. Or Yeah, so one line vertical, one line horizontal, and then you're going to have four quadrants, right, because you've drawn a tea. So you have top left quadrant, top right quadrant, bottom left quadrant, bottom right quadrant, and you're going to label top left quadrant quadrant one, top right quadrant, quadrant to, bottom left quadrant, quadrant three, and bottom right quadrant quadrant for and quadrant one will be important and urgent quadrant too will be important, but not urgent. quadrant three will be not important but urgent, and quadrant four will be not important and not urgent. And I hope you have a pen because you're going to have to write this down, but I'll say them one more time. So quadrant one is important and not urgent. quadrant too is important but not urgent. quadrant three is not important but urgent, and then quadrant for is not important and not urgent. So...

...take a second, if you need to pause and write this down. So now you have four sections for quadrants, and what you will be doing is you will be writing a list of everything that you have to get done throughout the week. You can do it, you can choose how you want a segments, you can do things you have to get done through the day. I personally plan my week, so I do this every single Sunday night, so you're actually hearing this on a Sunday night if you listen as soon as it dropped. And what you're going to be doing is you're going to start taking that list of everything that you have to do throughout the day or the week, or the quarter, I would suggest week to start, and you're going to start putting those things into quadrants. So the first quadrant that you're going to start putting things into is, of course, top left, number one, important and urgent. So in the important and urgent category, generally you don't love having a lot of stuff here because that means that your week's going to be hell. What's going to happen is you're going to try and...

...better prepare and perhaps understand what ends up landing in this quadrant and then you can prepare better going forward. So these are activities that you may have not foreseen, that have come up last minute, or their activities that you've left until last minute. That our mission critical for your business, for yourself. So they have to be done a sap. So you can't always predict things that are going to pop up fires that you're going to have to put out. So what you really want to do is you actually don't want a lot of things in this category because there's going to be things that they're going to manifest and pop up and they're going to hit your desk over the week that are going to come into this category. So try and make it so that when you're starting your week you don't have too much in this category so you leave some discretionary room to breathe a little bit when the inevitable things pop up. And as you go forward, you want to perhaps avoid procrastination on things that are sitting in quadrant too so that they don't turn into quadrant one, because when you have too many things from quadrant to turn into quadrant one because...

...you procrastinated on things that are important but not urgent. Remember quadrant too. Then you'll notice that with those things that pop over from quadrant to to quadrant one, plus the fires that Spring up in your business, you're going to get stressed out. Now let's move on to quadrant too. So what are you putting in quadrant to will important, but not urgent. These are things that are going to move the business forward, going to move your life forward. These are things that can help you achieve professional goals or they can help you achieve personal goals, but they are things that do not require immediate attention. Now, that does not mean that you can procrastinate on these things, but it does mean that you can devote the energy require to them, you can devote the mental bandwidth so that they're done properly and make sure that you know what your main KPI's milestones tasks are that are really going to move the needle. So big things. You got to figure out those. Going too quadrant number two and now going to quadrant number three, things that are not important but urgent. These are things that perhaps you have said yes to,...

...or these are things that you have potentially taken on that you shouldn't be taking on, or you're not the best person for it. These are the things that you should reschedule or you should delegate to people who are better suited. If you took something on because you just think that you're the best person, but realistically you have five other people that could be doing this thing better than you, and you just have to get out of your own head. That's when you delegate. Or perhaps you said Yes to something that you shouldn't have taken on. That's not your specialty. You have to start saying no two more things. So it's okay to say no and that's actually going to free up more again energy and mental bandwidth for those number two categories. So try and delegate and then say no to some of these number three categories if possible. And these are generally not things that will generally break a business. So I'll give you an example. I have a whole bunch of expenses that have to take care of. I promise somebody that I would pull the receipts for...

...it. There's actually somebody that's better suited for that that I could actually ask to pull all the receipts. I can track all my expenses, but I said yes to it, so that's something that's actually sitting in my number three category because months and I have to pull expenses for June. But realistically, I should have said no and I should have delegated that task. And you have to be mindful that sometimes other people are maxed out as well. But if you do know that there's somebody who's better suited, try and say no, try and delegate, try and help them understand why you are not the best person to be doing this, to free up some of your life and some of your time. Also, this could be calls that you've taken on that you perhaps shouldn't have taken on. Are Calls that could have been a meeting. Or if there's people that always try and book calls with you, try and set designated time slot so it doesn't take as much of your day away. Like just try and delegate and just try and say no or try and reschedule so that your day is a little bit more organized for the tasks that sit in number three. And then, lastly, number four, the not important and not urgent. These are things that you may have taken on...

...that have no bearing on your business. Perhaps you're jumping on a call with a sales or from another company trying to sell you something just because you felt bad and you wanted to help them out. Or perhaps you said yes to a meet and greeter, a coffee with somebody who, realistically, you have no plans of ever doing business with, but you just said yes and you regret it immediately. You have to protect your time and sometimes it is okay to say no and you have to set your boundaries. Say No so that you are not taking on not important and not urgent, because if activities, so there's any activities that are sitting in quadrant number four, focus on finding a way to get out of them because they're not beneficial for your business. You can devote more mental bandwidth, you can devote more creativity, more energy to things that matter. Nobody ever is successful if they are maxed out. A maxed out schedule is not a good thing. So find a way and if you can't find a way out of the things that are sitting in that category now, number four, now that's fine, just be cognizant of them going forward. So now you have your entire week mapped into one of four...

...quadrants or categories one, two, three or four. And what I want you to do for your first time, because you're not going to be honest with your felt yourself the first time. You're going to be lying to yourself and you're going to be saying things are more important than actually are or they're more urgent than they actually are. I want you to take your quadrant, your want to take your list of tasks and your quadrant and your tasks organized into your quadrant and take them to somebody who is not involved with your business, could be a spouse, could be a parent, could be a friend, and just ask them to quickly review your quadrant and ask them to challenge you on where you have segmented all of your tasks for the week. Because, for we are biggest our biggest issues that we always think everything is important, especially if we're not used to doing this exercise. So, unless you can promise that you can be very honest with yourself, most people have a hard time really saying that one thing isn't important or isn't as important if they've taken it on already and they've already committed to it, because nobody wants to let other people down. So talk to somebody who doesn't have any interest or...

...any any stake in what you're doing and ask them to challenge you on things that you say are important and urgent or are important but not urgent, just to make sure that you're being honest with yourself. anyways, that's how you should segment your week. That's how you should segment your tasks into those four quadrants, so that you can claim a little bit of your time back. You also know what to prioritize and you can free up again more energy, creativity, mental bandwidth for things that really matter. I hope that helps. I hope that helps you get a little bit of your life back. Please, please, please. If you don't do it tonight, take it into account for next week. Just Start Asap, because the sooner you start writing these things down, the sooner your life will start to organize itself, the sooner you will have more free time, you will be happier, you will be in a better spot. This is such a powerful, important tool and it's something that has helped me immensely, so I hope it really helps you. anyways, this has been another ten in MBA. Whatever business problems you're...

...having, don't worry, I got you. Have a great day. I'll see you tomorrow, the Great Day. I'll see you tomorrow, the Great.

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