“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” – Dwight Eisenhower

One of my favorite mental tools for organizing my to-do list is a simple strategy I learned from Stephen Covey. Basically, everything you need to do or might want to do in life can be organized by two questions: is it urgent or not, and is it important or not.

One way to look at this is by simply drawing two lines across the center of a page, one horizontal and one vertical, so that they cross in the middle and create four boxes, one upper left, one upper right, one lower left, and one lower right.

The upper left corner, which I’ll call “quadrant one,” contains things that are both urgent and important. Think of a huge work task that needs to be done by 5 PM today. They’re the top priority things.

The upper right corner, which I’ll call “quadrant two,”…

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