Do you feel overwhelmed by your to-do list?

I came up against this again recently and my usual skills weren't helping me much this time around. Through a class, someone introduced me to a time management tool. They attributed it to Stephen Covey and his Time Management Matrix (just do an internet search and you'll get loads of information on it. I found one such article written by Shana Lebowitz on Business Insider, posted December 30, 2015. Take a look and you'll see how the approach I used differs).

A prioritizing and "time-management matrix" aapted from Stephen Covey's "time-management matrix"This is how I learned to use it: create 4 quadrants and label them "Urgent", "Not Urgent", "Important", and "Not Important". Then list all your projects or activities in the quadrant where you think they fit best. Here's where I departed from the standard approach. I was encouraged to come up with my own definition of what those 4 categories mean to me. I also decided to add 2 categories within those 4 quadrants: "Personal" and "Professional". My goal was to sort my commitments and other activities (like time with family and friends, or exercising) in the hope that I could better decide in what order to accomplish tasks. I defined "Urgent" as "things that need to get done this month" and "Not Urgent" as things that will happen within the next 2 months or later. "Important" and "Not Important" were based on what my current values are.

This helped me see where I needed to focus my attention most, and in which areas I had a bit more time. This gave me some much desired breathing room and helped me refocus my attention.