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I heard a quote recently that stood out to me: “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” I feel often like the days are flying or moving faster than I would like. This quote reminded me that I am in control. 

Controlling your time and schedule isn’t easy and something that takes constant adjustments and awareness.

Dwight D. Eisenhower shared a matrix that he used to help with tasks and prioritizing his time. It can help you with that list as you:

1. Identify at a glance what needs to be done.

2. Move tasks around based on how important or urgent.

3. Have an overview of where you need to focus your attention in the short and long-term.

4. Stay on top of all your to-do lists.

Let me share an example from my own life.  While working from home I knew I would miss the movement that accompanies my usual daily tasks. I am not often confined to a desk and I prefer moving around.  I look forward to classes at the gym for the movement and socialization.   Using Eisenhower’s model I went through each step with my movement and working from home concerns in mind.

Identify at a glance what needs to be done: I need to work some walks and movement into my new workday, as well as other times throughout my day.

Move tasks around based on how important or urgent: I will start my day with a workout; an exercise video or a run. I will also take a stretch break in the afternoon and stand to complete some of my work tasks.  I can listen to music and I gave myself permission to dance.  Occasionally, I’ll even invite my new “coworkers” join. 😉

Have an overview of where you need to focus your attention in the short and long-term: I set reminders on my phone and log my workouts in an app to track progress. 

Stay on top of all your to-do lists: each week I look at my tasks, my needs and make any necessary adjustments.

Image created by Courtney Woelfl

With so many of us moving our offices to our home, some kids schooling from home, gyms closed, activities reduced and more it can disrupt our normal routines. These disruptions can throw us off balance and create extra obstacles to overcome.  Using these to guide your priorities and the matrix to determine your schedule and to-do list can help with any changes you might be dealing with related to staying home and other battles.

I am no Dwight D.  Eisenhower commanding the Allied forces in Europe or a president making decisions for the entire United States, BUT I am in command of my own time and to-do list, and you are too!

Writer: Alisha Barton, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Miami  County, barton.345@osu.edu

Reviewers:   Courtney Woelfl, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Chuyahoga County, woelfl.1@osu.edu

References:

Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle: Using Time Effectively, Not Just Efficiently; http://commonhealth.virginia.gov/documents/wellnotes/UsingTimeEffectivelyNotJustEfficiently.pdf.

Midgie, BillT, Mind Tools Content Team, Mind Tools Content Team, & Mind Tools Content Team. Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle: Using Time Effectively, Not Just Efficiently. Retrieved from https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_91.htm

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