The Eisenhower Matrix (also known as the Urgent/Important Matrix) is one of our favourite time-management tools. Simple and extremely efficient, it has helped thousands of people schedule their time better on a day-to-day basis!
This tool is based on former US President Dwight Eisenhower’s idea of drawing a distinction between two elements: importance and urgency. Important tasks are those that help you achieve your goals, while urgent tasks demand attention right away and contribute to somebody else’s objectives. In Eisenhower’s words, “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.”
How it works: Draw/print the matrix on a sheet of paper. Make a list of all your activities. Plot them on the matrix as per their importance and urgency. Each activity will fall in 1 of the 4 quadrants.
Prioritisation: The activities in quadrant 1 are top priority – these should be tackled right away. Those in quadrant 2 are high priority – schedule enough quality time to complete these. Tasks in quadrant 3 are distractions that keep your from focusing on your goals – delegate these to someone else or opt out. Quadrant 4 contains time-wasters – activities that should be minimized or eliminated from your workday.
Use this tool to prioritise your work tasks and be more effective. There is even an Eisenhower Matrix app you can download onto your smartphone or tablet!