priorities

meta Apr 5, 2022

I had a busy week, a busy weekend, and I'm two days into another busy week. Busy, busy, busy.

I've always been a pretty busy guy, but I like to tell myself that my busyness is for a good reason. When I was bored, back in the good 'ole days (which, as one of my favorite readers put, were "just the days when your world revolved around you"), my grandmother would pull out a kitchen drawer and let me organize it for her. I'd spend at least an hour making sure everything I had everything lined up and ordered just right.

These days, I'm able to make my own entertainment. In my free time, I have all kinds of projects in the works, some of them more important than others. Strangely, though, I looked up and realized I'd skipped several days of critical meditation. I didn't realize it until it was too late: my quiet time is the only time during my day when I take stock of my priorities and consider if my time is worth what I'm doing.

I tried making an ordered list of what's most important to me in a day (which I think I've done on this blog beforeā€¦ but I can't find the post. If you can find it, please let me know!). That didn't work for me this time.

I did like any good engineer should and made a matrix! I've read posts like this one about the Eisenhower Matrix. It's a tool I've used in the past and one I've come to love.

You start by listing everything you want to do. You take those things, then rank them by how "important," "impactful," or "significant" they are. Next, you take all those things and give them a deadline if they're a one-and-done kind of thing. If they're habitual things... you just kind of make it up (this is an art, not a science).

Finally, you put the most important things at the top and the most urgent things on the left. It looks something like this:

Adapted from https://www.productplan.com/glossary/eisenhower-matrix/

This is always a fruitful exercise for me. It forces me to admit what my priorities actually are and what I consider to be "urgent." As it turns out, I actually have pretty strange priorities, but hey: that's what makes us individuals!

I'm in a strange mood of openness today, so here's what my matrix looks like right now (note that it changes on at least a daily basis):

It's so interesting to note that the things that fall at the top left of my matrix are the things I write about most on my blog. Funny how that works. See those diagonal lines? That's my way of measuring how I should spend my time. I have to finish the top left corner before moving on to the next one. Once I finish that one, I can move on to the next stripe, then the next, then the next, until I finally end up doing random internet searches and browsing YouTube.

I put all my things on stickers because they move around a lot during the day. The stickers let me pull them off the page and put them in a new place. Since I'm writing this blog post, you know I've already taken care of my lab work, classes, and cleaning. Unfortunately for all my fans out there, those things have to come first!

Long story short, if I interrupt my consistent blog schedule, rest assured that I did it for a better cause! In the meantime:

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