We all have millions of things to do in a day. Out of these, some of the activities have a direct effect on success while some are not so important. The best part is, our efficiency can be increased by dividing our to-do list into urgent or non-urgent tasks.

Eisenhower matrix to increase productivity

Eisenhower Matrix is known to be very effective in making a person more effective if he/she learns how to divide the tasks into the urgent and non-urgent activities.

What is the Eisenhower Matrix?

Eisenhower Matrix, also known as Urgent Important Matrix is used to prioritise the tasks according to their urgency and importance.

How this term was formed?

Dwight D. Eisenhower was the 34th president of the United States. Before becoming the president of the United States, he served as the General in the United States Army and served as the Supreme Commander of Allied forces during the World War II including the successful invasion of Germany and France from the western front.

He is considered to be the most efficient president of the United States. In his lifetime, he had to take many tough decisions continuously every day. This led him to invent the principle of dividing the tasks into different categories or quadrant. This way he was able to give the required importance to the tasks.

Not only the tasks, but he was also able to find time for his hobbies of golf, oil painting reading and poker also. His productivity methods are well researched nowadays and Eisenhower matrix is considered to be a very simple but efficient productivity tool.

According to Eisenhower Matrix, tasks can be divided into 4 quadrants.

Urgent and important

These are the tasks that are important as well as urgent. These type of tasks cannot be put on for another time and should be completed as soon as possible.

  • For example, a crying baby who wants your attention immediately
  • Medication for any illness.
  • Deadlines you have to meet

You cannot miss these tasks because these activities have a direct effect on your performance.

2. Urgent but not important

Some of the tasks are very important for your overall success but are not urgent. These kinds of tasks don’t have any deadline and can be completed anytime. Even when they are not urgent, but they have overall importance for your successful life.

Examples are exercise, family time, study or upgrading your skills. These should be scheduled for a specific time.

3. Delegate

These are the tasks which are urgent but not important. These tasks can be delegated. For example, answering emails, meetings which someone else can do for you, scheduling meetings.

You can ask somebody else to do these type of tasks to do for you. The reason is that you may have urgent and important tasks to do which cannot be delegated.

4. Eliminate

Some of the tasks are not important as well as not urgent. These types of tasks are just time wasters. If eliminated, these can have a profound effect on productivity. It is important to sift through your tasks and to-do list and eliminates such tasks which are not important at all.

For example,

  • Checking social media updates and email, again and again,
  • Attending every call even if it is not important
  • Checking your phone every 5 minutes (this is the hardest to control)

These are just some examples of time wasters. Try to eliminate these activities or give them a specific time to carry out so that your urge to carry out these activities is diminished.

It is not easy to break your normal routines and work towards productivity. But with patience and little changes in your working style, you can increase your productivity tremendously.

Moreover, sometimes it really becomes difficult to distinguish between urgent and non-urgent tasks. To make the decision about a certain task, you have to think about how this affects your long term or short term goal. This will give an insight on how to divide the tasks.

I hope this will help you in maximising your productivity by dividing your tasks into required quadrants.

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Eisenhower matrix for productivity