“What is important is rarely urgent, and what is urgent is rarely important.” These are the words of the 34th President of the United States, who is said to have created the famous matrix that bears his name. This time and priority management tool is particularly appreciated for its ease of use and versatility. Like any tool of its kind, it is not perfect, but a few tips can help you get the most out of it!

Who is the Eisenhower Matrix for?

The Eisenhower Matrix is for anyone who wants to optimize the management of their time and effort in both their personal and professional lives.

What are the benefits?

The matrix is a relatively simple to use tool that allows you to take a step back and, first and foremost, to separate the important tasks from the unimportant ones. It also helps plan important non-urgent tasks so that they do not turn into major emergencies. The tool also helps identify which tasks are to be delegated and which are to be eliminated or requalified.

What does it consist of?

It is a classification to prioritize tasks according to two criteria, importance and urgency, which are represented by two axes. The matrix has the following four distinct quadrants:

  • Quadrant 1: Important and Urgent Tasks
    These tasks are to be carried out by yourself within a short time.
  • Quadrant 2: Important but not urgent tasks
    These tasks are to be planned and then executed by yourself.
  • Quadrant 3: Unimportant but Urgent Tasks
    These tasks should be delegated quickly.
  • Quadrant 4: Non-Important and Non-Emergency Tasks
    These tasks are to be eliminated or requalified.

URGENT NOT URGENT
IMPORTANT 1. Do 2. Plan
NOT IMPORTANT 3. Delegate 4. Delete or requalify

How do you classify your tasks?

  • Importance takes precedence over urgency. For each of our tasks, we must first ask ourselves if it is important. If it is, we then ask ourselves if it is urgent.
  • When a task falls into quadrant 3 and is therefore not important but urgent, we see if it is conceivable to delegate it to someone who is capable of carrying it out.
  • Tasks that are neither important nor urgent can be eliminated or retained for re-qualification – for example, if a future factor is likely to make it important or urgent. When in doubt, they are set aside, ensuring that their importance is reassessed at a later date.

What do you need to know to make the best use of them?

  • Try to be as objective as possible when evaluating each task. It is true, however, that it can be difficult to assess the importance and urgency of some tasks, especially when they have no deadline. In this case, one should not hesitate to rely on one’s own feelings to decide (Is this task important for my well-being? Will postponing it cause me stress? etc.).
  • Determining whether a task is important is based on our objectives, which are established according to our values, aspirations and responsibilities.
  • The tasks that will be classified in quadrant 2 are those that will require more attention since they are to be performed in the medium or long term. It is, therefore, in their judicious planning that we have the most to gain in terms of efficiency and personal satisfaction.

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Catherine Meilleur

Author:
Catherine Meilleur

Creative Content Writer @KnowledgeOne. Questioner of questions. Hyperflexible stubborn. Contemplative yogi.

Catherine Meilleur has over 15 years of experience in research and writing. Having worked as a journalist and educational designer, she is interested in everything related to learning: from educational psychology to neuroscience, and the latest innovations that can serve learners, such as virtual and augmented reality. She is also passionate about issues related to the future of education at a time when a real revolution is taking place, propelled by digital technology and artificial intelligence.