Show Notes

Episode 79: Getting to the Important Stuff

This week’s episode topic was suggested by a reader who said she she gets distracted by little things when she’s trying to accomplish bigger and more important goals. In this episode, Janine and Shannon take you through some strategies for keeping your eye prize and finding time for the things that are important to you.

Discussion topics include:

  • How easy it is to avoid the important items on our task lists by getting distracted by the little things
  • The sense of accomplishment we get from getting little things done
  • Putting a time limit on important things to create some urgency
  • Finding a buddy to help you work on important things (even if that buddy is an app)
  • Setting low goals so that your accomplishments are easy to achieve (and count)
  • How poorly defined success can be demotivating
  • The importance of identifying what success looks like
  • How Shannon is trying to create a practice (as well as cultivate a skill) with her cartooning class
  • Understanding why a commitment or a project is important to help keep you on track
  • How the Eisenhower Matrix can help you get the important (but not urgent) stuff done
  • Waiting to commit to something before putting it on the front burner
  • Letting go of the idea that the thing you’re trying to do has to be perfect
  • Our suggestion to not wait until all your ducks are in a row before you can get started on the important, but not urgent things
  • How working on rewarding things can make it easier to do the mundane things


Note: In Episode 18 we included a truly imperfect rendering of The Eisenhower Matrix in the show notes. In this episode, we promised a more careful rendering complete with lettering by Janine and a cartoon drawn by Shannon. We’re women of our word so here you go:

1 thought on “Episode 79: Getting to the Important Stuff”

  1. A year ago this fall I was in the hospital for an extended period. I had someone bring me a composition notebook and started listing all the undone things that I needed to accomplish. Several pages later, I was completely overwhelmed. I read about the Eisenhower Matrix and created a four-cell table in Word and started putting all those tasks in the cells. I didn’t try to order them in terms of priority within each cell but just attacked them as I had the energy and motivation to do things. Within a few weeks, I was AMAZED at how much I had accomplished during my recovery period. This is a very powerful tool to use.

    Just one thing: I thought that the cells were flipped in the matrix. I always saw it with an axis going up and across to the right with Importance on the N/S axis and Urgency on the E/W axis. (I can never remember my mathematics as to which one is called the x axis and which one is the y axis.) The idea was that Important and Urgent would be in the NE corner and Not Important and Not Urgent would be in the SW corner. I don’t think it really matters, though. That’s just the way I’ve seen it presented before.

    Love the hand lettering and the cartoon, ladies!

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