The Priority Matrix Tool for Prioritizing Your Life – Free Template Download

many-targets-multi-taskingIn my latest Smart Lemming Rundown podcast, I discuss how much I love a new tool that I discovered in the book, Passion at Work by Lawler Kang and Mark Albion.

Creating Structure in Time Management and Workload

I have seven projects that I spend my time on. I found myself feeling randomized, since I didn’t the structure I was looking for.

What should I work on Saturdays and Sundays? What’s job number one during the work week? Does family trump everything else? I needed answers, so I could be more productive. I needed to create order out of chaos.

Over the weekend, I created a simple spreadsheet by adding my projects and family in the row and column headings. Using 1 for priority and 0 for not a priority, I was able to identify how I should allocate my time.

priority-matrix

Priority Matrix Findings with Action Items

After reviewing my matrix, I learned the following order of my priorities with three action items:

  1. Family (7 points): I’ll have a weekly commitment from Thursday night through Saturday, starting this week. This ranks higher than anything else on my list. Family always comes first.
    • Block out Thursday night through Saturday on calendar
    • Identify documentary to watch for Friday night and tutoring activities
    • Record podcast on Friday with family members
  2. Project 1 (6 points): this is my top priority project that I’ll work on workdays, until I’m comfortable with the results I’m expecting over the next 90-days. I’m managing the project in my 90-Day action plan template.
    • Block out 6 hours per work day for this project
    • Work on business strategy deliverables
    • Work on competitive intelligence deliverables
  3. Stakeout Podcast (4 points): a weekly podcast with Sarah that we now record on Fridays.
    • Identify content for the week
    • Identify quotes and record
    • Record podcast on Friday
  4. Project 2 (3 points): my second top priority in work, but ranks below the commitment I made to Sarah.
    • Review 90-day action plan
    • Work on top priority deliverables
    • Review and edit content
  5. Rundown Podcast (3 points): the Smart Lemming Rundown podcast feels like a higher priority until I saw the results in my matrix. Actually, it doesn’t conflict with my other projects since I think about the content in advance and record the podcast on Saturdays.
    • Identify content for the week
    • Storyboard/outline the content
    • Record the podcast
  6. Smart Lemming Blog (2 points): I’m limiting my content to only Smart Lemming Diary and podcast posts for now. My project #2 is related to this type of content, so I needed to allocate less time to the blog itself.
    • Post Smart Lemming Diary post for each work day
    • Post Smart Lemming Rundown on Mondays
    • Weekly Twitter Digest (remember to tweet)
  7. Personal Blog (1 point): I have my Dance Mix series that are quick posts, acting as my creative outlet (and is an excuse to listen to my old dance music). I’m trying to move this blogging to the weekends or evenings so it doesn’t conflict with Projects 1 & 2.
    • Post Dance mix series on each workday, but write content on weekend
    • Random posts
  8. Podcast #3? (0 points): I’m considering another podcast, but we don’t have the bandwidth until after mid-February. I’m taking a wait and see approach on this priority.
    • Brainstorm new series, but depends on bandwidth
    • Review again after Mid-February
    • TBD

Are you having the same problem that I am in prioritizing your time with too many competing projects? Then try this spreadsheet; it’s easy to create and kind of fun to do. Use the Data Filter so you can sort the Priorities column from largest to smallest to discover your ranking order of priorities.

I recommend that you take the Kang and Albion’s advice and identify three action items for each priority so you can schedule your time and monitor for results.

Free Dowloadable Template

[ilink style="download" url="http://smartlemming.com/tools/priorities-matrix-template.xls"]Download Priorities Matrix template[/ilink]

2 comments

  1. Thx for the template. I was going to make one on my own after listening to the Rundown, glad I wanted so I could down download yours. I’ll also check out the 45 Mistakes book. I’m sure I’m still making stupid mistakes at the office.

    • Cool, glad the template was helpful. I think you’ll be amazed at your own priorities findings. Sometimes we need to use Excel to identify what really matters to us by assigning rank and/or weight.

      As for the mistakes at work? We’re never perfect, even after reading this book or accumulating years of experience. I still make mistakes occasionally, but at least they’re not career damaging like they could have been earlier in my career.

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