I am an eternal optimist. As the pandemic goes on, my tolerance for an onslaught of bad news has diminished considerably. Instead, I have found myself gravitating more and more to the positive changes people and companies are making during the pandemic. I have heard many people talk about this as an opportunity for a giant “reset” button for their lives, their careers, and their businesses.
As a result, I have found myself thinking regularly about the Eisenhower Matrix and how our team has navigated different stages of the pandemic to date.
The Eisenhower Matrix is a legendary 2x2 for managing priorities, invented by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and popularized later by many others, including Stephen J. Covey in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It frames your priorities as either urgent or not urgent, and either important or not important. The suggested strategy is generally to focus on what is important and urgent and to also eventually make time for things that are important, but not urgent.
Early pandemic on the matrix
In the first few weeks of the pandemic, it felt like everything was URGENT AND IMPORTANT… ALL THE TIME! 🔥
- Do we close our physical offices?
- What happens if people get sick?
- Does everyone have what they need to work remotely?
- Can we produce podcasts fully remotely at high-quality?
- How do we handle podcasts pausing production?
- How do we handle new clients wanting podcasts in market ASAP?
- How do we manage staffing and capacity when everything is changing on a day-by-day basis?
It was CHAOS.
And it all honestly felt URGENT and IMPORTANT… ALL THE TIME.
Thankfully, our team has been absolutely amazing during all this. They’ve been ridiculously flexible and agile and we are fortunate to have figured out answers to all these sorts of questions, and many, many more.
Mid-pandemic on the matrix
And now we find ourselves in somewhat of a new stage. Some projects are moving slower than usual, some projects are still in pause-mode, and we are finding ourselves in a window where we can move into a different quadrant of the Eisenhower Matrix — important, but not urgent.
It feels like such a unique opportunity to have capacity to do important things for Pacific Content that we have not been able to prioritize because of the tyranny of the urgent. (And yes, I 100% recognize we are exceptionally fortunate to be in any situation where we have jobs, where we have ongoing work, and that we can even consider putting our time and energy into non-urgent projects.)
So what sorts of things do we classify as important, but not urgent?
- Branding updates for Pacific Content (huge thanks to our colleagues at Rogers!)
- Updating the digital marketing strategy for our own company
- SEO audit and updated strategy for our own website
- Pacific Content website refresh (coming soon…)
- Update the copyright footer on our website and marketing materials from 2017… to 2020 :-)
- Creating a master database of everyone we have ever reached to as a potential guest or expert speaker for a podcast
- Creating a master database of all the freelancers we have ever worked with, mapping out their location, their gear, etc.
- Finding software to more accurately help us map and manage production calendars and staffing capacity
That’s our list… for now.
How about other podcasting ideas? Here are some things that all podcasters could consider that are important but not urgent.
- Step back and do a program evaluation of your podcast. What can you do better? Is this the right format? Who are the guests you could approach now that you couldn’t before? What stories will create the most value for your listeners?
- Update your podcast art
- Update your podcast metadata
- Update your podcast trailer (or add one if it doesn’t exist)
- Make a podcast playlist of your show’s greatest hits
- Update your podcast website
- Explore cross-promotion, promo swaps, etc with other podcasts
- Market your back catalogue
- Dig into your podcast stats and see what you can learn about listening patterns, how people discover the show
Are there any experiments you’ve been wanting to do that you haven’t had time for?
Personal life on the matrix
I’ve even found the same patterns in my personal life! After urgently stockpiling, figuring out online school for kids, and figuring out a home office in the first several weeks… I cleaned out my garage this past weekend, which I’ve been wanting to do (and putting off) for about 5 years!
And of course, outside of work, I MAY be indulging in non-urgent and non-important projects like binging Tiger King, Ozark, and The Last Dance. All important, and no non-urgent and non-important makes Steve a dull workaholic.
Where are you spending your pandemic time on the Eisenhower Matrix? Have you found your priorities shifting or your focus moving to new quadrants?