The Eisenhower Matrix
The Eisenhower Matrix, or the Urgent-Important Matrix, was a productivity strategy created by Dwight Eisenhower, the 34th president of the united states, who served two terms from 1953 to 1961. Eisenhower had an incredible ability to sustain his productivity for decades. Consequently, his methods for task and time management have been researched by many people and were helpful to all!
In this article, we will show you how to use it to be more productive in everything you do!
First of all, familiarize yourself with how it looks like by looking at the picture below.
Urgent and Important: tasks that must be done today or tomorrow the latest. These tasks are important for your life and career. If the list on that box is too long, make sure you give the right amount of time for each task. I usually use the pomodoro technique for this and it helps me a lot!
Not Urgent and Important: tasks here that are a little less important than those in box 1. Once you become a professional time manager, you will notice that you’ll have a lot more tasks on here than box 1 because it reduces stress and you will know how to narrow down your goals for the day. Make sure to schedule them for another day though!
Urgent and Not important: tasks that are less important than the ones in the top row. Ask yourself if you can let someone else do them for you. If not, Schedule them on your calendar. Perhaps, they will be important in the near future.
Not Urgent and Not Important: least important tasks; the tasks you can neglect today and still be able to sleep peacefully tonight.
While it may seem clearly simple, you must know where to correctly put the tasks or else the boxes won’t help at all. If you noticed, urgent tasks can be not important and not urgent tasks can be important… so how do you know the difference between urgent and important tasks? Simple! Important tasks are those that have long-term significance, while urgent tasks are ones that you need to fulfill right now! It can be tough separating the two because sometimes urgent tasks are closely associated with important long-term goals, but the Eisenhower Matrix will not only teach you to manage your time, it will also teach you how to make the right decisions by practicing how to distinguish between important and urgent tasks.
Now, how do you know if a task deserves to even be on the matrix? Imagine you have a day where you are overwhelmed with tasks! Both urgent and not so urgent, and since you’re feeling a lot more energetic, you urge yourself to fill the entire matrix with tens of tasks. While you may think you’re doing a good job, you are unfortunately missing the point of the matrix. You have a midterm tomorrow, do you really need to move your pictures from your phone to your laptop? Do you really need to go to the movie with a friend? Ask yourself this question every time you add task: “Do I really need to do this?” and trust me, your matrix will look a lot cleaner and more organized. Some of us are busy bees, and others love multitasking. But either way, you must not forget what you are working toward and what your core values are.
And that’s it! If you want to download or print out a template of the Eisenhower matrix, click here!