Setting Priorities the Eisenhower Way

Working moms have many priorities that take over their everyday lives. Prioritizing time is crucial because for most moms, balancing work, kids, and everyday tasks can seem impossible. Setting priorities is a great way to make it clear what you need to do to make the most of your time. 

The first step to setting priorities is deciding what needs to be done and what is most important to you. A great way to organize your priorities and figure this out is to use the Eisenhower Quadrant method. This method not only helps you visualize your priorities, it gives you a smart way to triage your activities according to their level of importance and sense urgency. 

The Eisenhower Quadrant is broken up into four sections: 

  1. Urgent and Important – the first quadrant contains tasks that are most urgent and important to you, like getting your quarterly team report done in time for the staff meeting. Do these tasks first, as efficiently as possible. 
  2. Not Urgent but Important – The second quadrant contains tasks that are not necessarily urgent, but they are certainly important to you, such as requesting a mentor. Make sure you make time for these by blocking time on your calendar, otherwise they tend to slip perpetually. 
  3. Urgent but Not Important – The third quadrant contains tasks that are urgent but not important, like when your partner asks you to pick up his or her dry-cleaning needed for their trip tomorrow. These tasks are best delegated or declined when possible. 
  4. Not Urgent and Not Important – The last quadrant contains tasks that are not urgent and not important, such as lingering on social media. Do your best to eliminate these. 
from Mental Models for Software Engineers

By deciding what is the most important and determining the sense of urgency, you can delay and even eliminate certain tasks that felt imperative before using the quadrant to evaluate them. 

Setting priorities makes life easier and more rewarding for everyone, especially for working mothers. By using the Eisenhower Quadrant, every day can be a little less stressful and a lot more purposeful. 

Contributed by Carrie Davis. 

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