Keeping the main thing the main thing makes sense only if you know what’s the main thing. Many a times we are drifting like a falling leaf, going where life takes us, blissfully unaware of where I’m going and what I’m doing.

Many years ago, during my Jesuit days, I was introduced to the ‘4-Square’ method of prioritization, which is also referred to as the Eisenhower Grid. President Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” This quote is the inspiration for the Eisenhower grid, a system that helps you decide the urgency and importance of different tasks, and prioritize them accordingly. This method can be used for prioritising daily tasks as well as long term goals.

Below is the 4 square grid with the labels important, not important, urgent and not urgent

Add your tasks/goals into these four squares based on importance and urgency. As shown in the table, each square has a corresponding number, and this is the order in which you should prioritize your tasks/goals.

Focus on the most urgent and important tasks first in Square I, and then move to squares II, III and IV. This does not mean that you should not spend time on not-urgent tasks, but in a high-stress situation, this method can be important in determining what needs to be completed first.

For daily tasks, you could replace the Roman numerals with actions.

The tasks that are important and urgent: DO. Do them today, or as soon as possible. For tasks that are important and not urgent: DECIDE. Decide a specific time in the future that this task will be completed, as it will eventually be Important and Urgent. You could DELEGATE tasks that are urgent but not important and DELETE or DELAY tasks that are neither important nor urgent.

This is just one example of many different prioritization techniques. You must find the system that works best for you, a way that helps you keep the main thing the main thing.

Do you use any other methods to prioritize your tasks and goals? Let me know in the comments below!

Here’s a lovely video illustrating priorities

Amidst our busy lives may we always make time for a cup of coffee or a drink with friends! ❤️

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