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Paper folding fun

Time management tips

Two super-fun paper folding techniques

I’ve been making a series of videos on time management and I promised you some paper folding! You don’t really have to fold paper to do this but it kind of makes you remember it especially if you’re a kinaesthetic learner. You can do this with A4 paper but A3 paper gives you more space to write on the paper afterwards. If you missed the other videos in this time management series you can find the first one here and follow the links to watch the whole series.

Here’s me explaining how these two techniques work. The transcript is underneath. I’ve included a couple of pictures of my folded paper so you can see what I’m folding in the video:

Important Non-Urgent

Focus on the Important Non-Urgent tasks (you need four boxes for this exercise)

The 8 boxes exercise

Use the back of the same piece of paper for the 8 boxes exercise

Important non-urgent

Okay so first of all, get your piece of paper and fold it in four. If you fold down the lines – you could just draw this but there’s something about, like I said, actually folding it that makes you remember afterwards – you end up with four boxes on your piece of paper and then you label them. I’ve already labelled mine! You label the boxes:

  • important and non-urgent,
  • urgent and not important,
  • important and urgent,
  • not important and not urgent

Now the important things that you’re going to write on here are going to be the ones that fit with both your values and with your goals. Now you might think why would anyone do anything that’s not important and not urgent? I’ll just address that one straight away. Well, that might be something like, maybe you collect comedy tea towels or comedy mugs. I used to do when I was younger! Not the tea towels, the mugs. It wasn’t that important. It definitely wasn’t urgent. I don’t do that anymore, by the way, I’ve got far too many mugs.

So that kind of thing, that’s not part of your work, it’s not exactly in line with your values, it’s just something that you do, would go in a box like that, you might want to carry on doing it, you might not, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. So that’s that box.

Anything that’s urgent and important you’re going to put in the ‘important urgent’ box and get those written down first. You need to schedule time to do those things straightaway because they’re important and urgent. If it’s urgent and not important, you’ve got to question why you’re doing it and why it’s become urgent. But if it is urgent and not important, again, you need to schedule time to do it.

The Important Non Urgent Box

You’re working towards is the ‘important and not urgent’ box, so write down everything’s important and not urgent, remember this is in line with your values and with your goals, put that in that box, and you’re working towards, only doing things that are important and not urgent. Most of the time. Yes there might be some time that you dedicate to your comedy towels, but most of the time you’ll be doing ‘important non urgent’.

Why? Because if you do ‘important non urgent’ most of the time it never becomes urgent and ‘the urgent not important’, you can schedule time for things like that, if they exist in your life, or you can delegate them. So it’s good to know what they are. And it depends again on those life roles, which is why I suggested doing the mind map of the life roles, but you’re aiming to do ‘important non urgent’ most of the time then it never becomes urgent and then it really feels like you’re on top of things. You do have to schedule things in the other boxes, though, when you start doing this.

It also really helps, just as an exercise to see, okay, how are these things chiming with my values and with my goals, and what do I want to prioritize in my life?

Eight boxes

Okay, one more paper folding technique so this time you fold the paper down the middle, and then you fold it in thirds. I’ve got eight boxes now. So, in the first six boxes of my folded piece of paper. Again, you could just draw boxes, but there’s something about folding it makes you remember it , or maybe I just like origami, one or the other.

So in each of the first six boxes, you can write ONE priority. The one thing you want to prioritize. You could do it for a week. You could do it for your weekend. You could do it for a month. It doesn’t matter what time period so much you can decide that.

What do you want to prioritize?

What do you want to prioritize? You’ve only got six so these can be categories, it could be time with family, for instance. So you see how again they’re chiming with your values, but also with your goals? I might write in time working on my novel. So you’ve got six priorities you can write down you can decide on the categories and then underneath the categories write specific actions you’re going to take with regards to that.

So, for my novel I know that I need to research nurses because one of the main characters is a nurse. Rather than just writing ‘research nurses’, which doesn’t really tell me what to do, I could write phone Blah Blah, because I know my friend is a nurse and I could schedule the time to talk. Her name isn’t really Blah Blah – I just didn’t want to say her name in case she doesn’t want me to mention her.

Try and make the task that you need to do as specific as possible in other words. And then you’ve got two boxes left at the bottom of your piece of paper, that’s for everything else. Everything else that wasn’t the priority. And again, it helps you to see what you do want to prioritize and what you don’t and to work out how you’re going to fit those things into your week. Hope that helped. See you soon.


The paper folding techniques I suggest here are inspired by an exercise from 18 Minutes by Peter Bregman and another in Your Best Year Yet by Jinny Ditzler.

More soon. Until then, happy writing,

Louise xx

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