A huge factor in burnout is the stress related to feeling like you do not have enough time to get everything done in a day. It can feel like everyone wants you to attend to things immediately, even things that are not really that important! Our bodies are not machines, and it is important to remember that we cannot treat them as such. This is why learning how to set priorities is so important.
Surprisingly, there are many people who do not know how to do this effectively. In what follows are methods to set priorities in your life.
"The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities." – Stephen Covey
Stephen Covey has created a quadrant grid that is helpful in determining where you are currently spending your time, and where you should be spending your time.
According to Covey, tasks can be separated into:
1. Urgent and Important
These are the things that absolutely need to get done right away. For example, if you are at work and a report is due by 2 p.m. when you have a meeting to attend, that becomes the priority.
2. Not Urgent and Important
These are the things that most people do not spend enough time doing. These are the kinds of tasks that are important for long-term growth and development. An example may include wanting to create a more efficient system of getting your work done, but it always seems to get thrown to the bottom of the pile because the urgent tasks (both important and unimportant) always get attended to first.
3. Urgent and Not Important
These are the things that are not important, but someone else wants you do deal with it immediately. An example may be that your television, which you never watch, breaks down, and your spouse wants to go out and buy a new one immediately even though you don't feel the same way about the situation.
4. Not Urgent and Not Important
These are tasks that you do, but are often time wasters or meant to be a distraction. A good example might be Facebook.
Now, you want to create a list and figure out where your "to-do" daily tasks fit in these categories. You can get back more hours in your day and week by simply tweaking what you are already doing, and reorganizing and regrouping your list. This can result in less stress, and less chance for burnout in the long run.