Important vs. Urgent
I was talking to someone earlier this month about how I balance out my life, and I kind of chuckled, because sometimes I just don’t think there’s any balance. And can you really balance a dozen or so high priority things? Or is it a shuffle? On my high priority list is managing the office, and that’s broken down into adjusting people, adjusting animals, coordinating staff, and handling all the business aspects behind that. And then there’s my responsibilities as an ICPA instructor, which involves traveling and keeping my presentation fresh and updated. Also on that high priority list is family, time with my husband and son (and dog) and home life in general. And then there’s the self-care, which includes working out and taking care of my health, including sleep and just personal time off, my personal “mental health” days as I call them. All of these things are high priority. And I have to manage them all. Most days one area is higher priority than another, and even within a day, things take priority over something else. Isn’t this something we all deal with? Or do most people not have as many “high priority” things?
I thought about a matrix I was taught close to 20 years ago, as a way to determine what needed to go first on the daily “to do” list. It’s the Important vs. Urgent matrix, and by using this matrix every day (yes, every day), I’m able to get things done, delegate things, schedule things, and put other things off (those are the 4 basic categories). I’m always planning it out the night before, making sure I go to bed not worrying about what I have to do. I have the list of things I need to do & calls I have to make, with time scheduled in for work, family, working out, personal time and so forth. Most of the time I follow my list, sometimes I cannot or do not for whatever reason. But having that day planned out the night before, is really key for me.
Regarding the matrix, first and foremost, I do all the things that are both “important and urgent”. If I’m at the office, I’m working to get them done before we open, at lunch, or even after hours. It could be working on patient files, phone calls, or staff training. Then I have the things that are really important, but not urgent. Those are things I need to get done, but I schedule time to do them, so it could be done another day or when I’m at home. And if it doesn’t get done, then eventually it gets moved to the “important AND urgent block”. Other things are “urgent but not super important”, those get delegated to someone else to do (if possible). Recently, that was decorating our office for Halloween, prepping for our candy counting contest, prepping our October birthday board, and things like that. We gotta get them done since the new month is coming, but if not, then it’s not horrible. And that gets delegated to the team.
On a personal level, working out is generally “important but not urgent”, and so those workout get scheduled into my day, almost always first thing in the morning. If you follow our “stories” on social media, you’ll see my cat also participating in my workouts (ha-ha!). And if you’ve known me a long time, you know that my workouts now are nothing like what they use to be. The working out six days a week and 5, 10 or 15 mile long runs are on hold for now (more on that some other month…). But I’m managing in weight lifting and swimming 4-5 days a week. And that’s okay….for now.
Early morning is generally the quiet time when I catch up on emails and whatever other work I have to do. Evenings usually include a walk with my dog and son, it’s our time to chat about his day and for me to listen to him, while Loka also gets her share of attention and exercise. Thursdays, Saturday afternoons and Sundays (if I’m not traveling), is family time – whatever that may be, and a little bit of whatever is urgent and/or important. Sunday night is generally catching up on emails and other work as well.
With the extra traveling that I’m doing, I’m learning to take some time off from work just because I need to and want to. Dr Haifa is now in the office and is fully capable of adjusting and taking care of patients, so I am able to take a Monday morning off after a long weekend of travel. And while I sometimes feel guilty of being at home while the office is open, I need that personal time to focus on me and my sanity. I need that time. I’ve been working way too hard and too much the past 2.5+ years, so taking that extra shift off is important. Hopefully people understand.
My life, like so many other people, is all about coordinating my schedule. And yes, fun time does happen, whether it’s going to a sporting event, going out with friends, getting a massage (not often enough), sightseeing while I travel, or something else. I’m the kind of person that likes to stay busy. Sitting home, watching TV while doing nothing, is not my style. I’d get too bored.
If you are having a hard time managing your schedule, look into the Important vs Urgent matrix. Click on that link to learn more, or just research it on the internet, there are plenty of articles to read or images that you can print off to help you every day.
And of course, getting adjusted should fit into that “important not urgent” category. So, schedule it. Put it on your calendar, get checked and adjusted on a weekly or every other week basis. Otherwise, you may get to that day when you are in pain, or have a health challenge, and suddenly it becomes “important and urgent” and you are scrambling to get adjusted and/or help yourself. Don’t let it get to that point. Don’t wait until you are in pain, or until you are sick or until that baby is in bad position. Schedule visits ahead of time because it is important for your health.
~ Dr. Pam