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The Eisenhower Matrix

Synonyms: urgent-Important matrix, eisenhower box, eisenhower decision matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix is a method that can help you to prioritize your tasks and focus on the most urgent and important issues.

 

Principles

All tasks should be sorted by the criteria of important/not important and urgent/not urgent and then placed in quadrants accordingly. After that let the matrix work as your personal planner:

 

  1. Important and urgent tasks should be done immediately and personally. (crises, deadlines, problems)
  2. Tasks that are important but not so urgent should be scheduled and postponed due to the deadline that you can personally establish. (relationships, planning, recreation)
  3. Urgent but not important tasks should be delegated. That’s all, you don’t need to worry about them by yourself. (interruptions, meetings, activities)
  4. Not urgent and not important tasks can be just removed from your schedule. (time wasters, pleasant activities, trivia)

 

The most valuable advantage of the Eisenhower Method is that putting things on the list can truly free your mind. Also, this principle is the best way to identify tasks that can be crossed out of your to-do list at all. As Kevlin Henney once said, “there is no code faster than no code.” You can save your time by removing not urgent and not important tasks from your personal matrix.

 

Who can define for us with accuracy the difference between the long and short term! Especially whenever our affairs seem to be in crisis, we are almost compelled to give our first attention to the urgent present rather than to the important future 
— Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961 address to the Century Association 

History

Urgent-Important matrix was invented by Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States from 1953 until 1961. Before he became the country leader, Eisenhower served as a general in the United States Army and as the Allied Forces Supreme Commander during World War II. Due to his responsibilities, he had to make vital decisions constantly and choose what problem to focus on. This led him to create the Eisenhower principle which helps us today to classify our tasks by priority, using urgency and importance as criterias.

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