Do you feel like your to-do list is never ending? Do you spend the majority of the day on small tasks and hardly get to the big important ones? Are you looking for a better way to organize your tasks and become more productive?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, I’ve got a great solution for you. It is called the Eisenhower Matrix. This is the productivity tool that can transform the way you see your to-do list. Let’s learn more about it.
Boost your Productivity with the Eisenhower Matrix
How The Eisenhower Matrix Came To Be
If you are thinking that the Eisenhower Matrix has something to do with our 34th president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, then you would be right. President Eisenhower was great with productivity. This helped him have two terms as president, where he had many successes. This matrix comes from one of the president’s famous quotes.
As you can see, the two major terms in this productivity tool are importance and urgency. In this next section, we are going to discover how the Eisenhower Matrix works.
How This Productivity Tool Works
The Eisenhower Matrix is made up of four different categories: important and urgent, urgent but not important, important but not urgent, and neither important or urgent. You categorize each of the tasks on your to-do list and place them in the matrix.
The great thing about this tool is that you can use it no matter how big or small your tasks and/or business is. It is simple to use as well. There are three simple steps to creating and utilizing your own Eisenhower Matrix.
- Write out all of your tasks for today.
- Look at each task and place them in the appropriate box.
- Get started on your to-do list by conquering the urgent & important tasks first.
The Four Quadrants
- First: Most Important and Most Urgent: These are tasks you’ll want to do first.
- Second: Most Important But Not Urgent: These are tasks that you can schedule to do at a later time.
- Third: Most Urgent But Not Important: These tasks can be delegated to save you time. Think tasks you would give to an assistant or services that you can get delivered, like groceries.
- Last: Neither Important nor Urgent: These are tasks you may find that you don’t even need to do.
My Experience Using The Eisenhower Matrix
I’ve only known about, and practiced, this productivity tool for a short time as of writing this. But, I have noticed my productivity increase. The Eisenhower Matrix has helped me give more of a focus and intentionality to my to-do list.
I will say that I don’t follow the matrix exactly as is. I have customized it to what works in my life. The major difference is what I call each quadrant. Instead of labeling them do first, schedule, delegate, and don’t do, I do away with the labels. The quadrants are still there, but they are more general. I see it more as an order of importance to get tasks done. This may not be what the matrix was made for, but it works for me.
- My first quadrant is tasks that must get done that day.
- The second quadrant is tasks that I aim to get done, but if they don’t I move them to the next day’s matrix.
- For the third quadrant, I place tasks that I would like to get done, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if they didn’t get done. These tasks include cleaning out my email, reading a personal development book, etc..
- My last quadrant is not a list of items that I delete. I like to think of it more as a forecast. Big projects and long-term tasks are what I place here. This not only keeps me aware of those deadlines, but it also helps me get the tasks done little by little over time.
Tips To Try It For Yourself
If you’d like to try the Eisenhower Matrix yourself, but are still not sure how to start, here are some tips for you.
- Try this productivity tool the way it was intended to be first. If you find that you would do better by adjusting some things, I’d say go for it.
- Create your matrix the night before. That way it’s ready for you when you start your day.
- Try combining the Eisenhower Matrix with the Power Hour method. You could do one hour of work then take a break and start again. You could also spend one power hour in one quadrant.
- Put your matrix on the same page as your to-do list. I’ve found that this helps me determine which tasks go in which quadrant when I’m unsure.
- For even more tips, check out the Eisenhower website.
- If you are more of a digital planner, there are apps based on this productivity tool. My favorite one that I’ve found so far has been Focus Matrix.
I’m grateful that I have found the Eisenhower Matrix because it has helped shape the most productive form of planning I have tried. If you try it after reading this, let me know what you think.