Dwight D. Eisenhower once said: What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important.
Most people spend huge chunks of their time managing other people’s priorities. When you spend your days putting out fires that other people started, you will most likely feel exhausted and without energy while at the same time disappointed since you did not accomplish anything significant to yourself.
To be more productive, you need to make better choices about how you spend your time. If you want to improve the way you prioritize your time and your tasks, you should implement a time management technique like the Eisenhower Matrix.
Who Invented the Eisenhower Matrix?
Dwight D. Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States. Before becoming the President, he was a general in the United States Army and served as the Allied Forces Supreme Commander during World War II. After the war, he became the first Supreme Allied Commander of NATO.
Because of his important positions, every day he had to make tough decisions about which tasks he should focus on. This led him to invent the time management technique we know today as the Eisenhower Matrix.
What Is the Eisenhower Matrix and How Does It Work?
The basics of the Eisenhower Matrix comes from the quote mentioned at the beginning of this post. It is a time management technique that can help you get things done by radical prioritization. Long-term, the Eisenhower Matrix should help you shift your mind to think more strategically.
The Eisenhower Matrix helps you separate all your activity levels into four priority levels. One of the priority levels – Not Important & Not Urgent should be immediately eliminated, so basically you are left with three categories of tasks you should focus on.
Types of Tasks Based on the Eisenhower Matrix
Important and Urgent tasks – These tasks are of the uttermost priority and like that, you should do them as soon as possible.
Important but Not Urgent tasks – These tasks are most often your long-term goals – tasks that are important to you and that you should do, but at the moment you do not have a deadline. However, make sure you schedule a deadline as soon as you can and do them after you have completed all your tasks from the Important and Urgent quadrant.
Not Important but Urgent tasks – These tasks are those you should delegate to other people. If you cannot delegate them, you should complete them yourself but only after you have finished the tasks from the first two quadrants.
Not Important and Not Urgent tasks – These tasks are placed in the Delete quadrant because you should not do them. While this depends on your exact situation, most of the time you should not do them at all as they are considered a waste of time.
How to Practice the Eisenhower Matrix
The best way to incorporate the Eisenhower Matrix into your life is to use our illustration as a template that you can refer to when a new task comes into your life. In addition to referring to the illustration, you need a way to keep track of your tasks. You can write them down on a piece of paper, in a spreadsheet or in the simple docs. .
But, you can also use software like Insightful which has time tracking with screen capture features that allow you to much quicker organize the work you have to do. In addition to helping you capture your work, our software for time tracking with screen capture can help you pre-screen all your tasks by showing you how you spend your days and which tasks take most of your time. Only then will you be able to better see how you spend your time and which of your tasks are important. Each time you create a new task you’ll be able to set the urgency level for it, which will help you keep your Eisenhower Matrix in place.
How Can the Eisenhower Matrix Benefit You?
The Eisenhower Matrix can help you make better decisions about which of your tasks are important. It works by helping you reevaluate the importance of the work you do and whether or not it is something you do important or not. Additionally, the Eisenhower Matrix can help you practice self-analysis and teach you how to be more self-aware about the work you do. By using the Eisenhower Method, you can become better at making decisions quickly.
When you are faced with a lot of tasks, you have to decide how you are going to tackle them all. Not all of the work you do is both important and urgent at the same time. Figuring out which tasks to do first is a lot easier if you use the right time and task management technique.
If you want to get better at task prioritization, consider the Eisenhower Matrix. While at first, it may seem that the technique is too complicated, but it all boils down to you sitting and taking a closer look at the work you do. Also, consider using software for time tracking with screen capture features as it can help you get a better overview of how you spend your time.