Dwight Eisenhower was an army general and the thirty-fourth president of the United States, known for his outstanding achievements as a commander, national leader, and university professor. His phrase “not all urgent matters are important and not all important matters are urgent” was the basis of one of the methods of time management and time management. It is called the Eisenhower matrix. The technique allows you to get rid of the “garbage”, to deal exclusively with effective cases.
What is the Eisenhower matrix?
Lattice, Matrix, Eisenhower Square is a popular method of time planning. It allows you to divide cases into three categories:
- urgent for me personally;
- may be performed by others;
- not pertaining to me.
Often a person who works a lot, performing a huge number of tasks, notices that he does not get any satisfaction from what has been done, has no opportunity to rest. Finishing a working day, he realizes that tomorrow he will have a lot of things to do.
The technique allows you to prioritize, freeing up time in the schedule, having time to do more, getting results worthwhile for you. It can be applied to business planning, daily life.
The Eisenhower Matrix – how it works
The tool is a template of four squares in the form of a simple matrix. At the top are the important, at the bottom the unimportant, on the left the non-urgent, and on the right the urgent. The idea is to fill in the squares.
Allocation is made on the basis of urgency. A sober assessment of the situation is necessary. The organization of priority tasks is obliged to answer the questions: “Who should do it?”, “Why now?”, “What will happen if I don’t do it?”, “Will it benefit me?”.
The principle works as follows:
- The priority cases are those in square A.
- Not urgent – B.
- Tasks not of high priority but requiring urgent intervention – C.
- Can be forgotten and never done – D.
This arrangement allows for the allocation of time during the day to senior executives, managers, employees, housewives, and self-employed (freelancers). The question may arise only regarding the last square, but here it is necessary to compare the usual and the work situation.
Eisenhower Matrix – how to properly apply in time management?
To use the Eisenhower matrix as a tool for prioritizing work processes is necessary for the following parameters:
- Red Sector. Only “My Business” of primary importance. This should never include extraneous items, for example, a colleague asking for help with a quarterly report when he is “burning” with deadlines. Definitely refuse to do such tasks. Don’t become the person on whom other people’s “bumps” are dumped.
- Orange Sector. Exclusively strategic tasks, aimed at proactive work in order to obtain a successful result, beneficial first of all for you. For example, as an employee of a large company, you want to be promoted, and the next opportunity becomes a presentation, which will take place in a week. You can prepare little by little every day for the upcoming important event, leaving a couple of days in reserve to double-check everything.
- Yellow Sector. Consists of unimportant matters that become urgent. It is quite difficult to define such, but in relation to time management, they are the most important and dangerous enemies. These are chronophages, which many people confuse with the red square. The main difference becomes that these tasks have no value to you/the employee personally.
For example, your printer breaks down in the office and you have to print a report. Some people try to solve the problem themselves instead of telling the employee responsible for calling the service company. Send the report by e-mail, informing your management in advance of the reason for it, and, go about your business.
- Green Sector. The most comfortable and seductive. This includes talking on the phone, on social networks, playing mobile games, and frequent trips to the coffee room. Many people lose a lot of time doing these things, constantly getting a frenzy in the workplace. Eliminate distractions altogether. There’s a lunch break for that.
The method can be used in personal time management. In such a situation, the last sector is allowed, but only after items from squares A and B. Have tea with a friend, watch your favorite soap opera. This is something that a relieved housewife can do, but not an employee in the workplace.
Eisenhower matrix criteria
Learning to manage your own time correctly is an opportunity to finish things on time, to be highly productive, and to become successful. To achieve this, it is not enough just to make a matrix, it is necessary to apply the Eisenhower “grid” correctly. This can be done using the following criteria:
- Red sector “important and urgent” list reduction. If after mastering the matrix the cases from it do not decrease, then either do not know how to distribute the execution of cases from the orange square (B), or can not give up the distractions from D.
- Adding to your list in the orange “important and not urgent” section signals that things are almost standing still. To prevent this from happening, set up a timeline and progress bar.
- The yellow and green sectors should not affect work in any way. Ongoing business is always put at the top of the list.
Similarly, you can determine how effectively you handle your assigned duties. Using a matrix, you can turn the chaos of a multitude of tasks into an organized schedule where everything is itemized and ready by the deadline.
The Eisenhower Matrix is a powerful time management tool. It seems simple, easy, obvious, but the clear number of tasks in each square allows you to assess yourself and reconsider your priorities. In just a couple of days, you will understand what is preventing you from becoming focused, practical, and able to do everything.
Video lesson on time management with the Eisenhower matrix