The Eisenhower Matrix: The Essential Tool For Prioritizing Tasks

Last updated by Lauren Hart

For a long time, I was a specialist at the chaotic process of meeting deadlines just on time. I’ve always respected it, but beforehand I was very disorganized. Hello stress! For some time now, I’ve been learning to prioritize my tasks, which gives me a hell of a lot of peace of mind. I took inspiration from the Eisenhower matrix to do this. But how does it work? Is it really effective for sorting your tasks? Let me tell you all about it.

The Eisenhower Matrix: The Essential Tool For Prioritizing Tasks

What is Eisenhower’s principle?

“I have two kinds of problems: urgent problems and important problems. Urgent problems aren’t important, and important problems are never urgent.”

This sentence was uttered by a former President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Stephen Covey then used his speech to develop the Eisenhower matrix. How does it work? Classify our tasks into the 4 quadrants that make up the matrix: priority tasks, tasks to be planned, tasks to be delegated and tasks to be abandoned.

Thanks to this system, we can better visualize and prioritize tasks according to their importance and urgency. The result? We improve our productivity and manage our time better 🤗.

What are the 4 quadrants of the Eisenhower matrix?

OK, I’ve given you a quick overview of the 4 quadrants (or categories) of the matrix, but what does it look like in detail? Firstly, here’s how to visualize the matrix so that you can classify your tasks more easily👇:

1st quadrant: Important AND urgent tasks

This is the most important category. These are tasks that require a great deal of attention and ultra-quick action, and which will also have an impact on our objectives. These tasks are generally easy to identify, because they’re the ones we’re most concerned about and which can cause us stress. We know that we can’t move forward without them 😅!

⚠️ Crises and problems that need solving can also fall into this category. It depends on the impact it’s going to have in the long term, but generally, we know it’s going to go here.

👋 You may be interested in this article: Techniques on how to manage hypersensitivity

2nd quadrant: Important but not urgent tasks

These tasks have the same degree of importance as the first, because they have an impact on long-term objectives, but they’re still less urgent. These are the tasks that need to be planned, to avoid them falling into the first category.

Once you’ve finished the tasks in the first category, you can devote yourself to these ones. What’s more, as these tasks are less urgent and therefore less stressful, we can learn to improve our productivity using other tools, such as the Pomodoro method or the Pareto Law 📈.

3rd quadrant: Urgent but not important tasks

Tasks in this 3rd category are always a bit tricky. They’re urgent and therefore give the impression that they should be in the first category, except that they have little or no impact on long-term objectives.

This is where we need to learn to delegate, so that they can be entrusted to others, as they don’t require any specific skills 😉. This could be a request for information, whether in the form of an email or a phone call, or training a new colleague.

4th quadrant: Non-important and non-urgent tasks

It’s legitimate to wonder what kind of tasks fall into this category. We often think that our work is necessarily important or urgent. But having classified the tasks in the first three categories, there are often a few little things that are really insignificant.

They have no impact on our progress, but they’re part of what we associate with “work”. For example, organizing a team building day or celebrating a colleague’s birthday. It’s not important, but it’s part of the professional world.

A tool to be adapted

This method is very interesting, because it allows us to take a step back from our tasks. However, we can sometimes make mistakes about whether a task is urgent or not. You shouldn’t hesitate to talk to your team to see how others feel too, to avoid being seen as a toxic manager 🤐. In fact, it’s mainly a tool for people with responsibilities and team management.

However, it can also be used if you have fewer tasks and no management to do. Personally, I only use the first two categories of the Eisenhower matrix. It already allows me to classify what’s urgent and what isn’t, so I can organize my tasks better, while planning my breaks from work, which is just as important.

So don’t hesitate to adapt the Eisenhower matrix to your needs! As with all tools for improving productivity, keep the best bits to add real value 😁!

Editor’s note - A method worth testing!

There are a whole host of productivity methods, and it’s always worth knowing about them and trying them out. Generally speaking, they make all the difference and help us balance our work better. However, it’s not easy to apply principles, especially without someone to guide you. If you want to improve and need support to boost your productivity, why not try coaching? In just a few sessions, you’ll change the way you prioritize your tasks for the better!

🤗 Understanding yourself, accepting yourself, being happy... It’s here and now!

#BornToBeMe

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Article presented by Lauren Hart

Writing is a beautiful means of expression that I cannot do without. It has allowed me to channel my hypersensitivity, plus I love writing about psychology and personal development. For me, self-understanding is the best way to move forward!

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Wengood's playlist

wengood

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  14. What A Wonderful WorldLouis Armstrong
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  15. With Or Without YouU2
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