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Eisenhower Matrix for Prioritization
Eisenhower Matrix for Prioritization

The author's way to prioritize working issues

Alexander Sergeev avatar
Written by Alexander Sergeev
Updated over a week ago

The Eisenhower Matrix is one of the most popular time management tools used by many people around the world: from regular employees and middle managers to the heads of large companies and world-famous corporations. 

The founder of this matrix is the 34th President of the United States, Dwight David Eisenhower. As the very busy person, he had to perform many sorts of cases related to his activities and he constantly tried to optimize his daily work schedule. A special matrix for prioritization was the great result of his research.

The main idea of the Eisenhower matrix is mainly to learn how to correctly prioritize all tasks and issues, distinguish the important from the urgent, not urgent from the least important, and also to shorten the time for doing any act that does not lead significant results.

How does it work in practice?

The matrix consists of 4 quadrants, the bases of which are two axes - the axis of importance (vertical) and the axis of urgency (horizontal). It is rather consonant with the Value and Effort framework in Hygger, that can be visualized with the help of Backlog Priority Chart.

In the result, each quadrant is distinguished by its quality indicators. All tasks are placed in each of the quadrants, and a clear and objective picture of what should be done first is formed. You also understand what should be done in the second turn and what is not worth doing.

Quadrant A: important and urgent issues

Within perfect planning, this quadrant of the matrix should remain empty, since the emergence of important and urgent issues or tasks is the indicator of poor organization. Many people have this part of the schedule filled because of their laziness and incorrect prioritization. Of course, we all can face it sometimes, but if this happens daily, then it’s time to pay attention to self-discipline.

So, it's better to avoid placing issues into quadrant A. For this aim, it is necessary to fulfill the points of the other quadrants in time. However, there are something that is worth to be placed here: 

  • Issues whose failure adversely affects the achievement of goals

  • Issues whose failure may cause difficulties and troubles

  • Issues regarded to health

It is also important to remember that there is such a thing as “delegation”. It means that if there are issues in your A quadrant that you can delegate to someone, you should certainly use this opportunity to settle other important and urgent matters as quickly as possible.

It's also important, that the lack of urgency allows solving problems more deliberately and constructively.

Quadrant B: important but not urgent issues

The second quadrant deserves the most attention because the issues that are here have the most priority.

Typically, people who work with this quadrant achieve the greatest success in life and make more money.

It's also important that the lack of urgency allows solving problems more deliberately and constructively. However, we must remember that the issues from the quadrant B can easily get into the quadrant A, if they are not performed timely.  

Quadrant C: urgent but not important issues

The issues in this quadrant are usually distracting and they do not move a person to the intended results.

Often, they simply interfere with concentration on the really important tasks and reduce efficiency. 

The main thing when working with the matrix - not to confuse the urgent tasks of the C quadrant with urgent issues of quadrant A. Otherwise, what should be done first, remains in the background. Always remember about your goals and learn to distinguish the important from the unimportant.

Quadrant D: not urgent and not important issues

The issues related to the last quadrant do not bring benefits at all.

In many cases, it is useful not only to deal with them last but not to do them at all. Although you need to know about them as they are the “time devourers”.

Such issues are very attractive for many people - they are simple to perform and allow you to relax. Therefore, resisting the temptation to work with them can be quite problematic.

As soon as you master the Eisenhower matrix and learn how to correctly prioritize your tasks and issues, you will realize that you have a lot of free time and can manage to do everything timely without haste. It's all about organization and concentration.

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