How to Ace your Professional Life.5 min read

New Year Goals

New Year Goals are Ready. Now What!

January is usually a time when everyone gets enthusiastic discussing and planning New Year’s goals. Once we have invested our time in building goals and action plans, we need sustain it. Not just for 1 month or 2 months, but for the entire year. Most of the time we know what needs to be done. We have beat the colleague to that promotion, we must eat healthy. We must reduce online social garbage. We must stick to healthy work time. We must drop a few kilos. We even know how because we have a full-fledged plan ready. But the question is to take that first step.

4 Quadrant: Time Management Matrix

If we were to write our ‘to do’ list for the month, we could easily fit it into this famous four, a well-known and well researched Time Management matrix. Quadrant 1 : Urgent and Important,

Quadrant 2 : Not Urgent but Important,

Quadrant 3 : Not Important but Urgent and

Quadrant 4: Not important, not Urgent.

Quadrant 1: Urgent, Important: Do it Now

These are jobs that need your immediate attention. All the items in our ‘to do’ list that has to get done now comes in this box and the faster you plan a date to get it done the better. An ASAP or the first weekend can be devoted to these sometimes unpleasant sometimes boring jobs. Once it gets done and dusted, you will feel that relaxed sigh of relief. Your mind is cleared much like that of a computer when it is freed of wasteful memory and trash.

Some Examples: Clearing that huge laundry pile, taking your sick child to the doctor, the collection of documents that need filing, the pending project long overdue, preparing for tomorrow’s review meeting, responding to boss’s email.

Benefits: These tasks linger more on crisis management and emergencies and causes a feel of overwhelm, stress and burn-outs. Prioritizing these helps relax and feel more confident.

Quadrant 2: Not Urgent, Important: Schedule.

These constitute of work that does not have a specific deadline, but if you do not peg it down, can just pile up. Now take out your planner and spend every once a week, say every Saturday to plan and organize your week. Prioritize and time slot activities, meetings, and chores for that month, taking into consideration those that reoccurs in a daily/weekly or monthly manner. And prioritize the important ones first. When organized you will feel more on top of things, even if the week throws some surprises, you can handle it.

Some Examples: Attending an optional zoom sales seminar, remitting money to start a weekly gym routine, booking a dinner date, finding time for the IT class.

Benefits: This planning allows you to be more in control, be more organized, more efficient, get better and quality work life balance and helps with your perspective vision.

Quadrant 3: Not Important, Urgent: Delegate/Delay

These are time eater. They are tasks that do not majorly contribute to your work yet needs to get done. Delegating some work to your team adds trust and value from your team members, especially that which offer them flexibility in decision making. It empowers them with confidence to work more efficiently. Same with your children for that matter when your delegate some home tasks. While some other work just needs to get done.

Examples: You child calls you during work hours to clear a difficult doubt in her homework, your boss decides to have a casual team meet with no particular agenda, or your colleague needs IT help and knows you are good with it, your electric bill is pending and today is the last day.

Benefits: Helps you learn to say ‘NO’ sometimes, to delegate and understand what it is to let go sometimes.  While they are ok for short term focus, not handling them can easily lead to overwhelm and not being in control.

Quadrant 4: Not Important, Not Urgent: Declutter/Delete

They are what I call then ‘nani-nani’ activity. It keeps you engaged but not gainfully, especially if you are focused and an achiever. But it does give one the joy of procrastinating. While these are great activities to chill and relax our minds, planning them for later or defining that chill time helps. So, either keep the task for a leisure date or eliminate it from the list.

Examples: Working on the unfinished jigsaw puzzle, that addictive soap opera on Netflix, silly WhatsApp and Facebook forwards, clearing unwanted pics and re-organizing them in your computer.

Benefits: Dwelling in this quad, hovers around procrastination where you know you have a bunch of things to do but are giving it a blind eye. It does give a temporary happy feeling, relaxing a stressed mind. It is in fact a great ‘stress-buster’. But the problem is when we let it linger longer where it eats into our productive time.

Need more ideas to deal with Stress and Time- Management Tools?

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