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Priority matrix

To be able to manage energy and time, you first need to have an overview of everything that you have on your plate. Your brain is a really bad place to store everything. Your brain is great at coming up with ideas and putting plans together, but it can only actively hold onto a few things at a time. Only once your head is clear and you can look at a list of everything that is going on will you be able to make choices and set priorities.

Create an overview

If you want to have a clear view of how you spend your days and weeks, the first step is to write down everything you want and need to do in the next week. While doing this, include both

tasks that give you energy and tasks that cost you energy. Put every task on the list, including housework and what you do in your “free time”. This avoids you ending up with a list of jobs at home, one in Outlook, post-its on your computer and yet more tasks in your diary. You can treat your job as one task, or break it down in more detail if you find it is a stumbling block. The important thing is also to define how much time you spend on doing each of these tasks. Now you have made a great long list, and your heart has probably plummeted. Relax, the first thing you need to learn is to carry out this brain dump regularly.

Setting priorities

Sometimes you want to do more than is possible. To live a more relaxed life, you need to make choices. This means: define what your priorities are, based on the targets that are really important to you. If your health and weight are important to you, then you need to make time and space for them. To give a direction to your own life, you have to set the right priorities for yourself. If you don’t

do this, then very likely someone else will do it for you. Using the priority matrix (developed by Dwight Eisenhower) you can identify what your priorities are. This matrix is a proven, effective method. It is a model that is taught on every time management course. The priority matrix consists of combining two different concepts. All activities or ways of spending time can be assigned to one of the four quadrants:

  1. Urgent and important > Do it right now
  2. Important but not urgent > Plan it in your diary or put it on your to-do list.
  3. Urgent but not important > See if you can get someone else to do it for you.
  4. Not urgent and not important > Remove it from your list.

The essence of the priority matrix is to help you distinguish major issues from minor issues. If you don’t do this, then you run the risk that you will find yourself being side-tracked by activities that are not important in your life. You will then constantly be busy with things

that you think need to be done right now. If this goes on for too long, you run the risk that you will never get round to the important things in the second quadrant (if you ignore things in the second quadrant for long enough they will often move into the first quadrant).

Author: Nina de Rooij, PSV lifestyle coach