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A few weeks ago, I fell in love with a time management app.
This is not as odd as it may sound for a yoga teacher.
I’ve been fascinated by organizational systems for as long as I can remember. I suspect it’s because I’m an Olympic level procrastinator, always in search of ways out of that particular Hell.
My new love is called Priority Matrix.
It runs on iPhone, iPad and Mac, synchs between all three, and gives you a fluid, customizable tool for working with my favorite time-management system, the one based on four quadrants.
You can make as many lists as you like, so each separate project can be analyzed into its own four quadrants. For the daily or weekly list, all you need to do is pull the top priorities out of each of your projects when you make your plans.
You can change the colors of the quadrants, pick different icons for different tasks, make quadrants larger or smaller, set deadlines, note the percentage of completion on a project: it’s an organizing geek’s dream.
Priority Matrix uses “critical” and “immediate” to define the quadrants. As their website has it:
- Critical & Immediate — DO NOW!
- Critical & Not Immediate — Start Planning…
- Not Critical & Due Soon — Red Herring.. can you avoid?
- Uncategorized — Lets put it in my agenda, and figure it out later!
My own system, adopted from Stephen Covey, uses “important” and “urgent,” to define the quadrants, and has, as quadrant four, “not urgent and not important,” a familiar place for procrastinators to find themselves.
By the time I had filled in my first weekly list – blog posts in quadrant one, yoga practice in quadrant two, and in quadrant four, Plants vs. Zombies (you’d be better off not clicking on that link) I was so in love that I wrote a fan letter.
As a result, I now have five iPhone and five iPad promo codes to share with the readers of this blog.
I’ll get to the details of how that will happen in a moment.
But first let me tell you about a fundamental shift in the way I think of yoga practice, and where it fits on the matrix.
When I was setting up the app, I confidently placed practice in the second quadrant, the spot for important tasks and activities with no deadline attached.
It seemed obvious, for all the reasons I outlined back in June: the benefits are huge, but no one will ever hold a gun to your head, literally or metaphorically, and demand that you do downward facing dog.
After two weeks of working with Priority Matrix, my practice now sits in Quadrant one.
Yes, this change has something to do with my commitment to 90 days of shoulder stand. (I’m on day 80 today, and all is well.)
I had added a daily deadline, which automatically makes it an immediate task.
But I don’t intend to move my practice out of Quadrant one after December 5.
What I’ve come to realize is that as far as yoga practice is concerned, there is really only the present. Our bodies are different every day.
Today’s practice can’t be moved to tomorrow, because the work of today will have vanished.
This is not, by the way, different from any other form of practice. What you would write today is not what you’ll write tomorrow. Your meditation practice of today won’t just move to tomorrow. Instead, your chance to process this moment, without reacting to it, will have vanished.
I’m not saying there can’t be yoga vacations, or planned days off.
But it’s a mistake to think of practice as something with no deadline attached.
There is a deadline. It’s midnight. It’s as unbending as the deadline for filing your taxes. It’s just not external.
• • • • •
If you’re interested in winning a copy of Priority Matrix, here’s what to do.
Like the Five-Minute Yoga Facebook page, if you haven’t already. You’ll find the box to the lower right hand side of the screen.
Then add a comment here, or on Facebook. Let me know whether you’re hoping for an iPad or an iPhone app. And give me a one-word description, or more if you’d like, of your organizational style, or your best organizing tip.
I’ll draw names from a hat on December 4, and announce the winners on December 8.
If this was your kind of post, you might also like:
Ninety days of shoulderstand: the end is nigh – or is it?
When it comes to yoga practice, how much is enough?
How to keep going when you’re practicing on a plateau
Comments on this entry are closed.
My organizational style is a work in progress. I am working on routines and scheduling in the important stuff. Writing it down helps.
An interesting site called Flylady.org, helps people overcome procrastination and perfectionism in organizing and cleaning their homes. Similar to your comment above, she also says “you can do anything for 10 minutes” and is a believer in baby steps toward any change or project. I would love an i-phone app.
I am a new yoga teacher in Calgary and will be teaching my first weekly class in January. I trained in the Iyengar style, although not Iyengar certified. I found your site a while ago and now I often suggest your site to my students and have been influenced by your articles in my teaching. Thank you for such a thoughtful blog!
I LOVE Flylady!! I used to follow her, don’t any more, but I still do “hot-spot fire prevention” and I still clean my sink first whenever I have to tackle a messy kitchen. Congratulations on starting your teaching career, and thank you for passing on my site to your students.
I like your take on shifting the truly important tasks to quandrant one – great idea. I’ve been using this iPad app and have managed to compile a pretty lengthy list in the ‘important but not urgent’ quadrant. But I haven’t managed to devote any time towards completing any of them….. Would love an iPhone app!
Ah Kris, there’s the rub. At least when you see those important but not urgent tasks every day, you can’t forget about them. I love having Priority Matrix on my phone as well as my computer – the synching is effortless, and it means if I’m waiting somewhere and have time to look at my list, I can update any time.
I don’t have an iPhone or an iPad, but I do have a Mac. My recent discovery for organizational success (in one word) is:
If I enlist a partner on a project or long-term commitment (like a daily practice), I’m much more likely to achieve my objective.
Ah, Victoria, yet another reason to retire that ancient cell phone. : )
I’m in total agreement with you on collaboration. My niece Kris and I are at work on a food blog – something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but put off. Now that I have a partner, there’s finally progress. In fact, we hope to be able to launch Ant and Anise (get it?) sometime in the next few weeks.
I look forward to your blog postings. One can always fit in five minutes into a schedule but alas it often turns into a longer practice. However, to keep me on time, I have incorporated the Pomodore technique and it is a keeper. The chaos theory model would best describe my organizational style. There is always an underlying order and the priority matrix would actually give a form to it.
Thanks very much and keep on posting.
Thanks so much for your comment. I love the idea of chaos theory as an organization style.
I don’t know about the “alas” though, for the fact that five minutes often turns into a longer practice. One of my best anti-procrastination techniques is to set a timer and say: “just five minutes,” or “just 10 minutes.” Then, by the time the timer goes off, I’m usually happily launched into whatever I’ve been putting off.
By the way, are you looking for an iPhone app or an iPad app?
The problem is that the 5 minutes of yoga turns into another 5 minutes and often longer. But as this is the morning session before work I often don’t leave myself sufficient time to actually get ready for work ! it can be a problem. I really like the strap idea it really improves posture.
I am interested in an IPad app. Thanks
Ah, Loretta, I see the problem. Time moves so quickly in the morning, doesn’t it? Every once in a while I find myself looking up from what I’m doing and realizing I have 20 minutes to get dressed, dry my hair and be out the door. Not nice.
Thanks for letting me know it’s an iPad app that works for you.
I’d love one for an Iphone. I will put it in the folder with my 5 Minute Yoga app. I’ve tried the Pomodoro method, but it isn’t really working for me. Thanks, Eve!
I think it’s a case of just keep trying with the Pomodoros. Remember, one of the rule of Pomodoros is: “The next one will be better.”
I find myself sometimes using it, and sometimes not. When I don’t pull out the timer it’s a sign that I have major resistance brewing. I know a Pomodoro would help, but I still don’t want to do it.
So I’m curious, what do you use instead to get yourself going on tasks you might rather put off?
Like you, I love any product that helps me defy my Olympic levels of procrastination. The thing that works for me best is to do the most important stuff very first thing in the morning! (That’s why I was meditating at 5:45 am today followed by 30 minutes of back exercises.) How I wish I’d continued on that roll and completed some of my most urgent work-related tasks — like ORGANIZING MY OFFICE!! Instead, I managed to fritter away several hours doing stuff that was not urgent and not even important. (Sigh). Time to refocus, now!!!
Ah, “organizing the office” – now there’s a task I can put off indefinitely, at least until I’m in the mood, and then it’s stray papers beware.
I was thinking today, after wasting time playing Plants vs. Zombies, that the appeal of activities that are neither urgent nor important, is that they are inherently soothing. In the tiny world on the screen I can feel enormously competent. In the real world, where the rules aren’t quite so straightforward and the outcomes aren’t so easy to predict, it’s a whole different matter. Perhaps what I really need is an affectionate cat.
it would be nice if I could figure out how to organize my time so that I have time to do yoga. I feel so good when I do it, but life creeps in (work, my elderly mother, etc). that there is no time for ME.
That’s one of the things I love about an organizing system that asks me to separate what’s truly important from what’s just urgent. If you don’t get time for you, and especially yoga time, you’ll be less able to care for your mother than you might if you felt truly nurtured by your own practice. (I’m speaking from experience here.)
Somehow seeing it in a clean graphic form makes it that much more real to me – and helps me do what’s best for everyone, including myself.
Eve, my comment is from Gretchin Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project, and it’s been life-changing for me. Don’t have here exact wording but it goes something like this: What you do every day is far more important than what you do often (or regularly, or something like that).
I love that quote too. I think it’s “What you do every day is far more important than what you do once in a while,” but I didn’t look it up either.
Somehow I think of you as someone who could devise organizing systems to help the rest of us. I am, for example, beyond impressed by your year of daily practice – and I’m inspired to keep going and find myself at a year of shoulder stands next September.