Maybe you’ve never heard of Eisenhower’s matrix. However, it is used by the most diverse decision-makers around the world — from education to the corporate world, from politics to personal life.
In this article, in addition to presenting the concept itself, we will show you how it is possible to apply it in practice in your business.
What is Eisenhower’s matrix?
Before becoming the 34 U.S. president, Dwight Eisenhower served as a general in the army and as supreme Commander of the Allied forces during World War II.
During his time in military service, Eisenhower faced many difficult decisions about the tasks in which he had to concentrate every day. This led him to invent a principle that helps us prioritize our tasks by urgency and importance.
Historians tell that Eisenhower had an incredible ability to sustain his productivity not just for weeks or months, but for decades. And for that reason, it is no surprise that their time management, task and productivity methods have been studied by many people.
Its most famous productivity strategy is known as Eisenhower Matrix (Eisenhower Matrix or Eisenhower Box), a simple decision-making tool .
How is the structure of Eisenhower’s matrix?
In practice, Eisenhower created a methodology structured in four quadrants guiding the prioritization of activities.
Check, in detail:
Quadrant 1: Do it now (it’s urgent)
Quadrant 1 contains urgent and importanttasks. These are tasks that you need to “do first” because they are critical and need to be finalized immediately. You want to accomplish these tasks as quickly as possible.
Normally, in this quadrant are the tasks that need to be done to avoid negative consequences.
An example of a Quadrant 1 task in a professional career can be responses to a customer’s time-sensitive emails.
Bringing to life personal life, an example of a task in Quadrant 1 can be a crying baby, a medical emergency or something burning in the oven.
Quadrant 2: Decide when to do (it’s important)
The tasks in Quadrant 2 are important, but not urgent. This is where people usually want to invest most of their time. The tasks of the second quadrant are aligned with long-term objectives.
What are some examples of these tasks? Well, exercising is important to your health, but you can decide when to start a physical activity.
It’s also important to spend time with your family, but again, this might be aligned with your schedule.
When it comes to a company’s daily life, acquiring a system that improves processes can be important for a company; But it doesn’t have to be done right away.
It’s important to remember here that everyone has different goals and goals, so just because something falls in Quadrant 2 for you, doesn’t mean it happens the same with other people. Hence the importance of collectively deciding what is urgent and what is important without urgency when it comes to a team project.
Also, just because these tasks are not urgent, does not mean that they are not important. People often associate urgent matters to be important, which is not always true.
In short, anything that is beneficial in the long run will fall into this second quadrant.
Quadrant 3: Delegue (may be urgent, but not important)
Did you ever feel that it gave a lot of importance to a task that, in retrospect, was not very important? Or do you think something needs to be done right away, and actually, no?
If so, you’re in good company.
This common error often occurs when someone asks you to do something that doesn’t directly benefit you or approximates your goal. Quadrant 3 reminds us how important it is to delegate certain activities.
When you think something is urgent, but it’s not really, it’s usually an external source of distraction. This can include constantly checking your email or phone, or replying to people as soon as they try to contact you. You might think it’s urgent at the moment, so what you’re doing to take care of the subject. But in reality, that could wait.
If you’re in the middle of a project and the phone rings, it’s not important that you answer. Then, you can delegate this task to another person — an assistant, a secretary, an intern.
Quadrant 4: Eliminate (not urgent or important)
Honestly, you want to avoid the tasks of Quadrant 4. They are simply a waste of time and should be excluded from your to-do list.
If you can identify and eliminate all tasks in Quadrant 4, you will release some time needed to invest in Quadrant 2 tasks, for example.
Some examples of quadrant 4 tasks in the personal life are: Video game, watch television programs you’ve seen or surf the web without thinking.
Does that mean that nothing in Quadrant 4 should be a part of your personal or professional life? No.
Having a balance between your personal and professional life is important, and downtime helps you regain your energy.
The challenge here is to spend most of the time in Quadrant 2 and just enough time in Quadrant 4 to survive/be competitive.
How do I apply the Eisenhower matrix to your company?
As you saw, not the Eisenhower matrix is not complex. It can be used in many respects within organizations.
From the creation (or adjustment) of processes to the planning and execution of projects, through the performance management of employees, among others, it is possible to hand this strategy to gain time and improve productivity.
The implementation of strategic planning systems, for example, can be carried out with this methodology as a horizon. Solutions such as Scoreplan, for example, facilitate the organization of time and prioritization of tasks based on the Eisenhower matrix.
Do you ever use the Eisenhower matrix in your day to day professional? Leave your comment!