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Escape the tyranny of the to-do list: how to schedule your priorities, not your time | The JotForm Blog

The Planning Fallacy

We all have busy schedules, but we are incorrectly planning our day around the time we have, not around priorities.

Our estimates on how long certain tasks will take are almost always not realistic.

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Escape the tyranny of the to-do list: how to schedule your priorities, not your time | The JotForm Blog

Escape the tyranny of the to-do list: how to schedule your priorities, not your time | The JotForm Blog

https://www.jotform.com/blog/schedule-priorities/

jotform.com

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Key Ideas

The Planning Fallacy

We all have busy schedules, but we are incorrectly planning our day around the time we have, not around priorities.

Our estimates on how long certain tasks will take are almost always not realistic.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight D. Eisenhower

“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important."

The 4 Kinds of Priorities

The Decision Matrix on how to approach tasks has 4 quadrants:

  • Quadrant 1: The Urgent Problems which are important.
  • Quadrant 2: Not Urgent but important tasks
  • Quadrant 3: Urgent but not really important
  • Quadrant  4: Distractions and time-wasting tasks. 

Prioritize the important (Quadrant 2) to attain maximum benefit from your work.

Prioritize your Peak Energy Time

There are certain times of the day when you are at peak productivity. For some, it's early morning, and for others, it can be the quiet night time.

Reorganize your tasks to engage and benefit from your peak times.

Maker or Manager

Creative people have a different schedule than managers.

Managers work on a time-based scheduled calendar, but makers or creators cannot be bothered with time. They go deep in their work, forgetting any schedule.

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3 areas of life to clarify

You need to have absolute clarity over 3 fundamental facts:

  • Your goals (the destination)
  • Your current situation (your coordinates)
  • The path that connects both of them (the route).

A very simple, but crucial principle: if you don’t know where you are, you can never reach the place where you want to be.

The world of the status quo bias

Making an alternative choice is hard because we are neurologically wired to favor the default solution, even if it brings suboptimal results.

As the complexity of a decision increases, so does our tendency to stick with the answer we know.

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There are no productivity hacks

There are no productivity hacks

Habits and work systems can produce the best return on your time.

Getting more work done is about knowing what to do, when to do it, and how to get it done in order to maxi...

Unimportant task are really just distractions

Urgent but unimportant tasks = distractions.

Urgent tasks put us into constant “reply mode.” Important work is related to planned tasks that move us closer to our goals.

Interruptions break your flow

Anytime you are pulled away from your tasks, it takes time to readjust to them when you jump back in (sometimes it can take up to 25 minutes).

Interruptions (notifications, loud noises, social media, checking email etc.) harm your concentration.

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1. Time-Blocking

Time-blocking consists of assigning individual tasks to manageable time slots.

Instead of writing out short tasks alongside hours-long tasks on your list for the day and hoping you ha...

2. If/then Lists

To set reasonable goals make a list for high-energy days and another for when you are reluctant to work. Both lists should follow an “if/then” model.

The first lists should have the more involved tasks, while the second list should feature more mindless tasks like cleaning out your inbox, organizing your desk, or even napping.

3. Eisenhower Matrix

An Eisenhower Matrix breaks a to-do list into the four categories below:
  1. Has items that are both urgent and important, is to be tackled immediately.
  2. Items that are important but not urgent, can be scheduled for a later time.
  3. Tasks deemed urgent but not important can be delegated to others if possible
  4. Tasks that are neither urgent nor important should be crossed off the list altogether.

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