The Eisenhower Matrix

References

  1. J. Willink, L. Babin - Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win
  2. S. R. Covey - The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

The Eisenhower Matrix, also referred to as the Urgency-Importance Matrix, is a time management tool which allows the user to categorise tasks in terms of urgency and importance. It is an effective method of drawing focus towards the execution of tasks which are critical to success and defining which tasks should be delegated or even just forgotten about completely. In the wise words of Jocko Willink [1], it is a good method of helping one prioritise and execute.

Eisenhower Matrix

I am a classic ENFP; organisation, forward planning and rapid decision making do not come naturally to me. I’m more likely to be found “winging-it” under pressure than following a carefully planned schedule. In an attempt to balance these tendencies, I’ve tried several time and productivity management tools over the years. The basic to-do list and the Eisenhower Matrix are now the only day-to-day tools I use. The power of the Eisenhower Matrix lies in its simplicity and ruthless approach to categorisation. I learnt about the tool during a project management training course in which The 7 Habits for Highly Effective People [2] was referenced. I haven’t read the book, so I can’t comment on whether it’s any good; however, I have found the tool to be efficient, effective and unlike other methods of time management, not a total ballache to put into practice.

How it Works

There are two axes representing importance up the left-hand side and urgency across the top. There are four quadrants for assigning tasks against their relative levels of urgency and importance. The tasks are placed into either of the four quadrants based on a current snapshot in time. See Figure 1 for a high-level summary.

There are two axes representing importance up the left-hand side and urgency across the top. There are four quadrants for assigning tasks against their relative levels of urgency and importance. The tasks are placed into either of the four quadrants based on a current snapshot in time. See Figure 1 for a high-level summary.

Downloadable Template and Personal Tweaks

How it Works

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