Eisenhower Matrix or Urgent-Important Matrix is a task management tool that helps you prioritize correctly and increase your productivity. The matrix is based on the following concepts: urgent – not urgent and important – not important. It is the intersection of these concepts in the matrix that determines your priorities for the successful achievement of the goal.
The scheme of working with the matrix:
- Evaluate tasks
- Assign them the status
The matrix is named after the 34th President of the United States and military figure Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower, who successfully applied the Urgent-Important principle in his activities. Stephen R. Covey became interested in this theory and in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People described the matrix in detail.
One of the advantages of the matrix is its versatility, as it can be used both in various areas of business and in everyday life.
The Eisenhower Matrix consists of 4 quadrants:
Quadrant 1. Urgent and important (Do)
These are the tasks that are not planned but require a quick response, since failure to complete such tasks may delay the achievement of the main goal or even prevent its implementation. Such tasks have deadlines and they need to be done. Ideally, Quadrant 1 should be empty, but in the real world, such a situation is quite rare, since unforeseen situations always arise that need to be addressed. Often these are crisis events that are accompanied by stressful states, so a permanent stay in this quadrant will negatively affect your productivity. Try to minimize the list of tasks in this block.
Quadrant 2. Not urgent but important (Plan)
These are the tasks that are aimed at achieving your goal. You have drawn up an action plan to achieve the goal, which specifies specific steps and deadlines. These are really important things for you that bring a sense of satisfaction. Do not break the deadlines, as you risk transferring tasks from Quadrant 2 to Quadrant 1.
Quadrant 3. Urgent but not important (Delegate)
These are the tasks that take up your time and usually benefit other people, but not you. You are distracted from your goal by switching your attention to this kind of activity. The main focus is urgency, so such tasks can be confused with Quadrant 1 since urgent is often perceived as important. Carefully evaluate your decisions and, if possible, transfer such tasks to other people for execution. If this is not possible, then try to optimize your efforts and devote minimal time to such activities.
Quadrant 4. Not urgent and not important (Eliminate)
These are the tasks that bring you temporary pleasure, but which do not carry much value in achieving your goal. They are distracting, you spend a lot of time, but you do not get practical benefits. Everyone needs free time, but at the same time it is worth keeping a balance, otherwise, you will feel disappointed, as you will have really important and urgent things to do.
In Eisenhower Matrix, the order is important, it is after completing tasks in Quadrant 1 that people should spend most of their time on Quadrant 2, and then only move on to the next blocks, but often the opposite situation turns out, Quadrant 3 and 4 take up most of the time.
Your goal is to launch a new advertising campaign on social networks. You have made a plan, schedule, and budget. This is your Quadrant 2. It is this task that you should devote as much time as possible. At the same time, your management asks you to make an urgent presentation for a new client. You need to do this, as this is a large customer who can bring great financial benefits. This is Quadrant 1.
Your colleague asks you to help them with some project, since they do not have time to meet deadlines, and you are a great professional in this field and have already been engaged in a similar project. This is Quadrant 3. You need to buy a new pair of shoes, and you decided to relax a little and make a purchase in an online store, but at the same time, you began to check the news, and other possible purchases and so spent several hours in a row. This is Quadrant 4.
The Eisenhower Matrix is a convenient and fairly simple technique that will help you analyze your activities and increase productivity. Make use of it!