I’m going to start something new. Every week, I will post a Wonder Tech, Tool, or Toy that has made my life a little easier or better. These will be things that help me manage my family and raise my children in an organized and Christian manner. Hopefully you’ll find some solutions that help improve your life, as well.
We’ll start with an app I use on my iPhone and iPad to organize my seemingly infinite to-do list, Priority Matrix by Appfluence.
Priority Matrix is a system based on Steven Covey’s quadrant as detailed in his international best-seller The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Covey poses that traditional to-do lists fail because they do not take prioritization into consideration. It feels good to cross off tasks, but does eliminating “take out trash” from our to-do list really carry the same weight as “return call from doctor” or “clean out attic”?
Covey posed that we categorize our tasks based on how urgent and important they are in a quadrant, rather than in linear fashion. I tried using this quadrant on paper and with post-it notes for awhile, but quickly got frustrated because I’m not too good at remembering to maintain the system and carry it with me.
Enter Priority Matrix, an app, which is tucked neatly into the iPhone I don’t leave home without. The app allows me to separate my daily, weekly, and even monthly to-do lists into four categories: things that are:
· critical and immediate (grades at the end of the school year)
· critical but not immediate (going to the gym)
· not critical but immediate (returning phone calls and emails)
· uncategorized (preparing for a yard sale)
As a visual person, Priority Matrix is especially helpful because it color-codes each quadrant and allows me to use symbols for each task. As a procrastinator, I like that deadlines can be programed and that tasks turn red when time is running out. As someone who needs “gold coins” to keep me going, I’ve become better at pacing myself by checking in to track my progress, which is indicated by a bar underneath each task.
One of the best things about Priority Matrix is that it syncs to the Cloud so that I can access it from my iPad and don’t have to worry about losing my precious to-do list if I misplace my phone. I also receive email updates to remind me of my obligations and celebrate my accomplishments.
Another great feature of Priority Matrix is that you can create multiple quadrants for the different projects (or children) you are managing at home, work, or church. You could even create a quadrant for each of your children. We got more specific when we used a Priority Matrix quadrant to organize the repairs on our home after a tree fell on it.