“I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent”
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1954)
White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Eisenhower was one of the greatest leaders of the 20th Century.
Sometimes life can be overwhelming, and multiple tasks come at you from different directions. Consider that Eisenhower was not only a US president but also the general in charge of the D-Day landings in 1944. On many occasions, he had to make many quick decisions under extreme pressure, often life-and-death decisions.
One of the tools he used to make decisions, later popularised by Stephen Covey in his bestselling book the seven habits of highly effective people, was the Eisenhower matrix.
Although the tool is quite old, it is still effective in prioritising tasks and improving your productivity in the areas that matter.
What is the Eisenhower Matrix?
The Eisenhower Matrix is a productivity tool that uses a simple 2x2 grid to help individuals and organisations prioritise tasks based on their importance and urgency. The matrix has gained popularity due to its versatility, as it can be applied to various situations and industries. For example, it can be used in a corporate setting or by soldiers to plan a military operation.
The matrix is divided into four quadrants:
- Important and Urgent tasks
- Important but Not Urgent tasks
- Not Important but Urgent tasks
- Not Important and Not Urgent tasks.
Important and Urgent tasks, such as a deadline for a critical project or a medical emergency, are our top priority and should be completed immediately by key stakeholders.
Important but Not Urgent tasks, such as long-term planning or relationship building, are also critical to the mission’s overall success but can be scheduled for a future date.
Not Important but Urgent tasks, like responding to non-critical emails or attending unnecessary meetings, should be delegated to outside agents to free up time for…