Thursday, March 3, 2011

What Avon Representatives Can Learn From President Eisenhower

This is the 4th post in the series a Time Management System for Avon 
Representatives. Here I will cover the Eisenhower Matrix and how to prioritize your tasks.

The Eisenhower Matrix is one of the simplest tools that a Avon Representative can use to quickly improve their time management skills. Although this method was made popular by Stephen Covey in his book "First Things First", the concept is originally credited to US President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who stated;

          "What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important."

The method is sometimes called the "Urgent/ Important Matrix". The Eisenhower Matrix can guide a Avon Representative through a process of classifying tasks according to urgency and importance. And identifying where to schedule your tasks within your day and helping you to straighten out your priorities.

Eisenhower was a busy man. Whenever confronted with a new task or project, he would ask himself two questions. First "is the task important?" Second "is the task urgent?". 

Based on these two questions, the task would end up in one of four categories:

      Urgent and Important--the kitchen
          catching fire, an appointment,
          a baby crying

      Not Urgent and Important--doing
           exercise, ong term planning,
           working on a project

      Urgent and Not Important--interruptions,
           facebook updates, distractions

       Not Urgent and Not Important--activities
            that waste time, procrastination, busy

There are real emergencies and deadlines in the Avon Representative's world, but these are also a lot of interruptions, distractions or trivial waste of time. The Eisenhower Matrix encourages you to consider which tasks such as; long-term planning, preventative maintenance, and skill development fit into your larger business and personal goals. 

It also helps you decide when to make time for your tasks. Planning and preparation are key to the Time Management System for Avon Representatives. And in the end, an above average life.

When we talk about "important" things, we often confuse them with urgent things. As a general rule:

  • Important things are important, regardless of when they are done. However, they absolutely need to be done.

  • Urgent things need to be done in a time period that is short.

In addition, tasks can be urgent and important at the same time. Or one of them. Or be neither of them. If important things are delayed for too long, they can become urgent.

  • Importance is related to how relevant a task is to your goals.

  • Urgency is related to how much time is available to act upon the task.

This method doesn't go much deeper than asking "what is important?" and "what is urgent?". Which is appropriate, because for a Avon Representative to exercise effective time management they have to decide what to do. When to do it. And how soon to get started. 

Spending to much time over analyzing the importance or urgency of an activity can simply mean that it is not that important or urgent at all. 

The idea of the Eisenhower Matrix is that you should list all of your tasks and put them into a matrix using the following definitions:

Important---tasks to do that will lead you to your goals and support your values.

Urgent---tasks you have to do as soon as possible. Most often done for others. Which do not necessarily support your goals.

The point of putting tasks into a matrix is to make sure you schedule for the important tasks. If you are like most people, you tend to focus only on the urgent. Which will not help you reach your goals.

Another thing worth mentioning here is that many of the tasks that are urgent have simply grown into this urgency by being postponed for too long. It is a fact that the act of postponing things is itself a barrier for reaching your goals. Simply because when tasks become urgent they draw attention away from the important tasks.

If a Avon Representative organizes their working timne with reference to the Eisenhower method, they will learn to distinguish the important from the urgent. And to act appropriately. Ask yourself about everything you have to do and place them into the following diagram:

How this method will help the Avon Representative

The Eisenhower Matrix is a very powerful way of thing about priorities. Using it helps overcome the natural tendency to focus on urgent activities. So that you can keep enough time clear to focus on what's really important. This method helps you move into a position where you can grow your business and in your personal life.

When consciously filtering all incoming distractions based on their importance, you end up doing less of the not important things. Thus becoming more productive in your work.

The Important and Not Urgent box is where you want to spend most of your time. For example, exerxcising, working on projects, plannning, ect. It's a peaceful place to be. And you will also have enough time to finish these tasks.

Achieving this is not hard. First, only do tasks that are important. Second, plan ahead. If you look ahead and take control of the way you spend your time, you can finish all your tasks before that becomne urgent. This way you will become more focused and bcomme more productive in all the things you need to do to achieve your goals.

Applying this simple method described here will not only help you become a more effective business owner, but also bring you closer to efficient time management.

In the next post on my Time Mangement System for Avon Representatives I will discuss the 80/20 Rule and how you can produce more results by doing less.

Links to previous posts in the Time
Management System for Avon Represesntatives.

Do you think this method will help you? what do you think of the Time Management System for Avon Representatives so far? Is there something you would like to add? Please Comment and let me know, good or bad.

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