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What is the Eisenhower Matrix… and How Can it Help You Get All The Important Things Done?

What is the Eisenhower Matrix

Have you ever ended your day wondering what you actually accomplished in the 12-14 hours you were functioning? During that time, it’s easy to feel like we wasted the day when we realize how much we still have on our to-do lists. This can feel seriously disconcerting but, fortunately, there is something that can help improve a person’s organizational skills.

The Eisenhower Matrix is a tool that was created to help business owners and other everyday people manage their daily tasks and stay on top of important due dates. This matrix is especially effective in prioritizing your daily tasks and responsibilities.

In this article, we’ll break down the Eisenhower Priority Matrix into parts and tell you everything you need to know about how to successfully utilize this organizational method.

What is the Eisenhower Matrix?

The Eisenhower Priority Matrix is a task management tool that is also commonly referred to as the “Urgent-Important” Matrix. The purpose of this tool is to help you sort through all of your tasks and give them specific designations depending on the order of urgency.

With the Eisenhower Matrix, an individual can look at a certain task and decide whether it’s important to take care of right away or if it can be left until a later time.

The matrix got its name from the 34th president of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Before his presidency, Eisenhower was also a military commander during World War II and was also NATO’s supreme commander.

With his pre-presidency accolades and his strategy during his presidency, Eisenhower was constantly sorting through what was urgent and what wasn’t worth the time. This skill led to his creation of the Eisenhower Principle, which later inspired the idea of the Eisenhower Priority Matrix.

The Eisenhower Matrix was created by author Stephen R. Covey. In the matrix, there are four quadrants for prioritizing your tasks: Do, Plan, Delegate, and Eliminate. Let’s discuss each quadrant in a little more detail.

The “Do” Quadrant

The “do” quadrant is going to be the home for your most urgent tasks. These tasks are things that are on a strict deadline with that date quickly approaching. It’s important to tackle these tasks first before you move on to any other quadrant.

The “Plan” Quadrant

The “plan” quadrant is the home for any important tasks that don’t need your immediate attention. You can schedule these tasks for completion at a later time to take some of the stress of the day off of your shoulders. Tasks that live in the “plan” quadrant will eventually migrate to your “do” quadrant.

The “Delegate” Quadrant

Travel one level lower and you’ll end up in your “delegate” quadrant. In this section, the tasks are important but you don’t necessarily need to do will sit until you delegate them out.

Find someone you trust to get them done correctly and efficiently. By delegating certain tasks, you free up more of your time for more important quadrants.

The “Eliminate” Quadrant

Last, but not least, we’ve reached the “eliminate” quadrant. Any tasks that aren’t worth completing or giving any of your attention to should move into the eliminate quadrant. In other words, the tasks that live here are things you can always find other tasks to replace them with.

Differentiating Your Tasks

Sometimes it can be difficult to differentiate the tasks you have on your to-do list. If this is the case, it might be time to sit yourself down and assess everything you need to do. By giving yourself the time and space to fully look at each task, you can make better decisions about the urgency of each one.

For example, let’s pretend we’re graphic designers for a prestigious marketing agency. Each of the four quadrants in our Eisenhower Priority Matrix might look like this:

Do

  • Submit final design edits by end of day.
  • Deliver preliminary sketches to team leader.

Plan

  • Meet with design team to discuss layout.
  • Finish second-round edits by next week.

Delegate

  • Fill in and submit progress report.
  • Respond to non-urgent emails.

Eliminate

  • Lunch break coffee runs.
  • Doom scrolling during work times.

Conclusion

Regardless of your profession or lifestyle, the Eisenhower Priority Matrix is an excellent tool to maximize your productivity and minimize negative feelings at the end of the day.

By spending a little bit of time each day to assess that day’s to-do list, you can prioritize what needs to get done and throw away what doesn’t serve you.

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