Are you struggling to stay productive and meet your deadlines? Have you tried many task prioritization tips and tricks and nothing worked? We live in a crazily busy world filled with endless to-do lists, important tasks, and thousands of responsibilities. Sometimes it seems like you’re not good enough or strong enough to survive in this hectic world. Take a deep breath and calm down. There’s a way out to get yourself back on track with the help of the Eisenhower Matrix. Read on to learn how you can incorporate this technique into your daily life in order to become more focused, productive, and organized.
What’s the Eisenhower Matrix?
The Eisenhower Matrix is a technique of prioritizing your tasks in accordance with importance and urgency. The tasks that help us reach our goals are called important tasks. You should always remind yourself of your goals and ask if what you’re striving for is supporting your long-term plans and your mission. Urgent tasks are considered as time-sensitive and require immediate action.
How does the Eisenhower Matrix work?
There are four quadrants of the Eisenhower Matrix:
- Do First or Important and Urgent;
- Schedule or Important but Not Urgent;
- Delegate or Not Important but Urgent;
- Don’t Do or Not Important and Not Urgent.
The first quadrant, which is called Do First or Important and Urgent, involves accomplishing tasks that are critically urgent and important to you. Since these tasks are urgent and important, they do require instant reaction and actions. You should do these tasks today or, at the latest, tomorrow. It might feel like a pressure at first, but calm down and stay focused.
You might want to use your phone timer to help you stay organized and focused. Plus, a timer will help you meet your deadlines and get as many of the tasks accomplished as possible. Maybe it’s a document that you have to review today or tickets that you should book in an hour or less. Take a look at your to-do list and mark what you should do first. Learn how to prioritize your tasks and ask yourself, “Is it so urgent and important?”
The second quadrant, which is called Schedule or Important but Not Urgent, involves doing tasks that are highly important but don’t require immediate reaction and actions. Depending on when you need these tasks to be done, schedule each task – one at a time – and think about the way you’re going to accomplish them. Don’t give these tasks too much attention though, as you have to complete the tasks from the first quadrant.
It might be anything from beginning your gym membership, starting a blog, or going the extra mile at work. But since you have more urgent tasks right now, you can just schedule them. Successful people leave fewer tasks unplanned and undone and thus they strive to complete most of their tasks in the second quadrant, eliminating stress by doing important and urgent things on time in the nearest future as soon as a new task pops up.
The third quadrant, which is called Delegate or Not Important but Urgent, involves tasks that aren’t important to you, but still, you need to get them done quickly. In this case, you can find someone who will do these tasks for you. You can delegate these tasks to your employee, or a freelancer, or even a friend or a family member. For instance, you need to go to the Internet provider’s office to pay your bill but have a more important task to accomplish right now.
You can ask your family member or a friend to pay that bill for you. Another example is, your boss is giving you a new project but you don’t feel like working on it as you have a more important project or task right now. You can ask your boss to give this new project to your colleague who is really interested in completing it.
The fourth quadrant, which is called Don’t Do or Not Important and Not Urgent, helps you figure out the tasks you shouldn’t do at all. Once you write your to-do lists, think about the tasks that are neither important nor urgent to you.
Is checking your social media feed important and urgent? Is gossiping about a new person in the office so critical? Will the projects you couldn’t say no to when your boss gave them to you bring you joy, or money, or promotion? Before you even add those things to your to-do list, consider whether or not they’re urgent and important.
How to work with the Eisenhower Matrix
If you’ve never worked with the Eisenhower Matrix before, it might be difficult to adjust to this method of getting things done. However, there are a few tips and rules that will help you to make your acquaintance with the Eisenhower Matrix simpler:
- Write down all the things and tasks you should or want to accomplish today/this week/this month. Ensure your to-do list includes both private and business tasks so that you could complete the most important and urgent things to your work and family alike.
- Rank them according to 4 quadrants. Select no more than 8 tasks per quadrant. Focus on more important and urgent tasks and ensure they’re truly so critical.
- Avoid distractions and don’t let others prevent you from sticking to the tasks from the first quadrant. Emergencies happen, but remember, you have to complete those tasks today no matter what.
- Avoid being too hard on yourself and make sure you don’t procrastinate the tasks from the first quadrant. Procrastination is your biggest enemy here.
The Eisenhower Matrix has already been recognized as one of the most effective methods of working more efficiently, more productive, and more organizing. If your busy life brings a lot of stress into your life and stops you from living a happy and healthy life and building a long-term relationship, consider trying the Eisenhower Matrix. It does still require some discipline and effort, yet it will all be worth it in the end.