A friend of mine introduced me to the Eisenhower matrix yesterday. Although I’ve always intuitively known to put urgent and important tasks on top of my to-do list, I hadn’t looked at the matrix before. (Check out this YouTube video for a quick introduction.) I love this idea. I truly do! Basically, according to the matrix, all work-related tasks can be divided into four quadrants: urgent and important (green), not urgent but important (blue), less important but urgent (yellow), and not urgent and not important (red).
Sounds great, right? But I have two problems with the matrix:
(1) I have no one to whom I can delegate tasks. Oh sure, I have an editor and a cover designer, but those are very specific/specialized tasks. I don’t have a PA or anything like that. *pouts* It looks like I have no choice. Until I win the lottery, I will just have to do those tasks. *Sigh* Truth be told, I’m pretty awful at delegating anyway, which is one of the reasons I went the self-publishing route.
(2) My second problem is deciding which tasks are important. Take social media as an example. On the one hand, it seems as if being on social media doesn’t sell any books. (Please social media gurus don’t crucify me!) But is that really true? How can I be sure? What if I let my social media accounts become rusty and then realize it was important? What then???!!! With regard to social media, my answer is a timer. It may seem childish but whenever I go on Twitter or Instagram or Facebook, I set a timer to five minutes. It’s entirely too easy to get sucked up into social media otherwise.
I’m still struggling with the idea of not doing those tasks that aren’t urgent and aren’t important. It’s sometimes difficult to categorize items as not urgent and not important. For example, despite clearly indicating on my website that I’m not currently accepting books for review, I still get review requests. Do I just categorize those emails as not important and not urgent and thus don’t respond at all? I don’t want to come off as a big fat meanie. And I don’t want to lose possible connections to other writers and readers. Ugh! It’s a dilemma. (FYI: For requests that are obviously mass produced, I have no problem hitting that delete button.)
What tools do you use to manage your time and tasks?