Think back to your biggest goals and dreams of the last 12 months.
Did you accomplish them?
Did you come close but fall a little short?
Or did you really not get much of a start at all?
Listen, we all have books we want to write, businesses we want to start, skills we want to learn, and masterpieces we want to create.
The problem is that most people get so bogged down with all of their daily “musts”, “shoulds”, and “need to do’s” that they never make time for their most important work.
This leads to a vicious cycle of anxiety and stagnation that can feel impossible to overcome.
But it’s not…
In fact, I’m about to show you how to achieve your BIGGEST goals and accomplish those “crazy” dreams with nothing more than a pen and sheet of paper.
Then let’s get started.
The Most Important Box on the Planet
The strategy that I’m about to share with you, although it was first introduced to me by the late great Stephen Covey, is nearly a century old.
In fact, it was first made famous by Dwight D. Eisenhower who, as you’re about to see, was absolutely legendary with regards to his productive output.
Not only was he the 34th President of the United States, a 5-star general in the U.S. Army, and the Supreme Commander of the Allied forces during World War II, but he was also responsible for launching programs that directly led to the development of the Interstate Highway System, the internet (DARPA), space exploration (NASA), and the implementation of alternative energy sources (Alternative Energy Act).
Oh, and he somehow managed to carve out the time to serve as the President of Colombia University, pursue hobbies like golf and oil painting, and raise a happy and well adjusted family.
So I think it’s safe to say that Mr. Eisenhower knew a thing or two about how to tap into GSD (getting stuff done) mode.
But the “crazy” thing about Eisenhower’s success is that his productivity system wasn’t all that complicated.
He didn’t use Pomodoro timers, agonize over 80/20 analysis, or spend hours trying to optimize his schedule and work flow.
In fact, Eisenhower credits his success to little more than four boxes and a pen.
Here’s how it works…
First, you’re going to complete a quick “brain dump” and write down all of the tasks and activities that you have to do or would like to do on a weekly basis.
Include EVERYTHING, whether it’s:
- Going to the gym
- Date night
- Weekly meetings
- Deep work slots
- Picking up oil painting
- Learning the guitar
- Starting a side hustle
Get it all out of your head and onto paper.
From here, you’re going to draw a box (like the one pictured below) with 4 quadrants.
- Non Urgent/Important
- Non Urgent/Non important
- Urgent/Non important
Now before I explain the power of this box, I want you to go ahead and fill in this box with the items from your brain dump.
Anything that you wrote down that is essential to your business and mission and needs to be done NOW, goes in the “Important/Urgent” box.
For example, recording a new Instagram story to promote your new sales program, showing up to the podcast interview you scheduled to promote your new book (I’ve been doing a LOT of these recently!), or hosting team meetings to make sure that your organization is on track.
Items that need to be done soon but are not essential to your brand or business fall under the “Urgent/Not Important” box.
Things like sending a refund request for that high ticket course that didn’t meet your expectations, sending out a “Thank you” email to a podcast guest the day after an interview, or booking a flight for an upcoming trip would go here.
Next, you’ll want to fill in the “Not Important/Not Urgent” box, my least favorite of the four.
For example, clearing out your spam folder, replacing the lightbulb in the guest bedroom that never gets used, or watching a new TV show all fit the bill.
And finally, I want you to fill in the most important box of all, “Important/Not Urgent”.
This is the box that you are going to fill with all of those tasks and to-do’s that are an essential part of your mission and vision but that don’t necessarily have to be done today.
For example, you might put: Follow my new exercise program, write the first draft of my new book, or begin researching side hustle strategies.
Go ahead and take a minute right now to fill out this box… I’ll wait.
Believe it or not, this simple box explains exactly why most entrepreneurs and top performers never reach their full potential or hit their biggest goals.
Now let’s change that.
How The “Eisenhower Matrix” Can 10X Your Productivity and Success
If you take a look at the matrix in the last section, it’s pretty easy to see where most of the population lives with regards to how they manage their time.
They’re stuck in the “Not important/Not urgent” box
They waste spend hours on social media, video games, TV, and other time vampires that don’t get them any closer to their goals or dreams.
But you aren’t like most of the population. You’re not a mediocre performer and you aren’t willing to settle for an average life.
So why do you still struggle to accomplish the things that you really want?
Because you’re spending too much time on tasks that are urgent and not enough time on tasks that are important.
Every serious entrepreneur is faced with a daily barrage of new problems to solve, fires to put out, and obstacles to overcome.
It’s just part of the job description.
The problem is that most entrepreneurs get stuck in this “firefighting” mode and run around like a chicken with its head cut off, spending plenty of time in motion but failing to MAKE time for the activities that will lead to momentum.
The reason for this is that many top performers mistakenly think that urgency is correlated to success.
But it isn’t.
There’s no one telling you that you have to write your book, start your side hustle, hire that new assistant, or launch that new product today.
These tasks and activities, although important, are rarely urgent.
As a result, most entrepreneurs and high achievers never actually get around to doing the things that will really move the needle in their life and business.
They waste all of their time and energy putting out fires and desperately trying to tackle the urgent tasks (that never seem to end) but they seem unable to get around to the tasks that will really lead to growth and achievement.
So how do you actually attack all of the items in your matrix so that you can make time for the things that are most important?
Let me show you…
Follow This Process → Do, Delegate, Schedule, Delete.
Once you’ve filled out your four quadrants and taken an honest look at the tasks and activities that you need to conquer each week, the process for accomplishing them actually becomes pretty simple.
You ready? Here it is…
- Not Important/Not Urgent: Delete it. It doesn’t need to be done and it certainly doesn’t need to be done by you.
- Not Important/Urgent: Delegate it! Hire an assistant, assign it to an employee, give it so SOMEONE other than yourself who can make it happen without your input
- Important/Urgent: Do it and do it NOW. Get it off your plate and cross it off of your checklist so that you can move on to other matters.
- Important/Not Urgent: Schedule it in your calendar. Make it one of the “big rocks” in your Perfect Week Schedule. Treat these tasks the same way that you would an important doctor’s visit and NEVER allow them to go unaccomplished.
So now, your box will look something like this…
I know that this might seem simple, maybe even too simple.
But I promise if you will actually take the time to do this exercise and then take action on the lessons that you learn from it, you will be able to accomplish far more than you ever have before.
It isn’t a perfect system (and there are no perfect systems… Except for the Perfect Day Formula 😉 ) but it IS effective and it WILL help you achieve the life that you want.
Let me know what you think about it in the comments below and, if you need help implementing any of these strategies and making massive progress in your business and personal life, shoot me a DM over on Instagram @realcraigballantyne.
Until then, take what I’ve taught you today and use it to go out and live your Perfect Life.