Don’t stop at ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, think ‘How?’

Action requires doing. So how are you going to follow through?

One key tool in time management is the Eisenhower box, or the Important/Urgent box. I first came across it from and have added my own twist to it to make it easier to remember:

When we receive requests, it’s easy for us to assume that what’s important is also urgent and immediately go into action without thinking exactly how. We assume that we have to do it right now, or that we have to do it alone. Here are some How’s to consider when you’re unsure whether you can take something on or you know you can’t and need to work out a solution with your boss.


  • How is this important to what I’m trying to achieve?

If it’s not important to you, then you need to figure out the bigger picture. Ask your boss. How does this contribute to the aims of the project? Remind me which objective this one’s about again? Sometimes even our bosses forget why they’re doing something. Is this the most efficient, useful course of action or is there another way?

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  • How soon do you need this by?
  • How do you want me to prioritise this against projects A, B and C?

These two questions determine the level of urgency, enabling you to choose between doing it now or deciding when in your own schedule. What if you can’t fit it in your schedule? Again ask how, plus who.

  • Who can I delegate this too?
  • How can I separate tasks so that I focus on key items that require my expertise and delegate other tasks to someone else?
  • How can we play to our strengths as a team? Who is better or quicker at certain tasks?

If it’s not important and not urgent, then delete, destroy, disembark. Stop wasting your time on things that don’t matter to you.

Focus on what’s good, and keep going for it.

Find my brain at .

Thrive Global

More than living. Thriving.

Jen Mak, A Space For

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Effectiveness Coach. Sick of feeling A.R.S.E’d? Not got time to be Annoyed, Reactive, Stressed or Exhausted?

Thrive Global

More than living. Thriving.