Productivity Monday is devoted to sharing tricks of the trade and law school survival skills
Before there was GTD, Evernote and Omnifocus, there was the productivity matrix. I came across this as a kid reading Seven Habits for Highly Effective Teens by Sean Convey, and it has carried me throughout high school into adulthood. In many ways, this was the foundation of all my productivity skills. I would scribble this on a weekly basis into my day planner (yes, I was one of those girls in school).
While gadgets and apps are great for time management, productivity is ultimately about getting things done, not setting up a complex system. As Lifehacker’s tagline states: don’t live to geek. Geek to live.
The basic concept is this: draw a 2x2 diagram. Across the top is “important/not important” and on the side “urgent/not urgent”. All of the tasks we need to accomplish fits into one of the boxes.
Why this works
Part of the reason why we feel frazzled and overwhelmed has to do with our ability to prioritize and focus on tasks. In college, I had this incredible professor who remains one of my greatest inspirations today. He runs a hedge fund, teaches in three colleges at NYU and is an active philanthropist. (Here he is speaking at TEDxNYU.) He once famously walked into class one day and before distributing back 150 mid term papers, apologized for any messy handwriting because he graded them on a flight from India. We handed them in only a week ago.
As any incredibly productive person will tell you, it boils down to knowing what your priorities are and systematically attacking your tasks with a focused mind. The one resource in the world that is common to millionaire CEOs and the average Joe is time. Some people are able to make every minute count. Figure out what your priorities are, and you’re on your way to reducing stress and becoming a productivity ninja