Using the Eisenhower Matrix Can Keep Attention on Critical Tasks

The modern worker has a lot of challenges and one of them is a laundry list of tasks to accomplish. For this reason, it’s best to have a plan for tackling your to-do list. One of the most effective ways to prioritize tasks is through what is called the Eisenhower Matrix. Inspired by a speech given by the former President of the United States and the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in World War II, the Eisenhower Matrix simplifies complex task lists to make getting through them more effective. Let’s take a look at how it works.

The Eisenhower Matrix

Dwight D. Eisenhower was a productive guy. In a speech, he quoted an unnamed university president, stating:

“I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.”

Years later, author Steven Covey used this quote as the impetus to build a time management system, which he called the Eisenhower Matrix. Essentially, every task that is assigned has importance and urgency compared to the other tasks on the list. The most important tasks contribute to long-term goals and urgent tasks confront immediate problems. If you consider these two factors in one decision-making process, you can quickly create task lists that represent the true priority of things. Let’s take a look at how you can use this theory to better prioritize your tasks. 

  • Tasks that are both urgent and important should be done immediately.
    • For instance, a client proposal or responses to incoming client messages.
  • Tasks that are important, but not urgent, should be scheduled to be completed.
    • For instance, attending a networking event or otherwise improving your skills via training.
  • Tasks that are urgent, but not important, should be delegated for someone else to complete.
    • For instance, following up with a new client you are signing on.
  • Tasks that are neither urgent or important can be deleted, written off as distractions from your actual goals.

By going through your task lists and following this process, you will have a good idea of what is priority and what isn’t. 

Technology Can Help Too

After using the Eisenhower Matrix to establish the priority of your tasks, you can then use a task management system to help your staff know what exactly needs to be done in what order. If you would like more information on technology that can help your team be more efficient and productive, give Nexela a call at (215) 525-3223.