The Eisenhower Matrix – How to Manage Your Time Rationally

Have you ever noticed that some busy people rarely come across rubble, find free time and often succeed, while others cannot get out of the business cycle? As a rule, these circumstances depend on the ability to plan and prioritize their cases.

In today’s article we will talk about effective time management, as well as how to distinguish between urgent and important matters. The article is based on the Eisenhower Matrix.

How do important cases differ from urgent ones?

Urgent tasks require a quick response. Often they are accompanied by narrow-minded thoughts, haste, defense tactics.

Important tasks often involve a long way to go. When people focus on such tasks, their brain triggers a response mode, which allows for calm and rational reflection.

The difference between the above two variations is intuitive. Often, people take important activities as urgent. This trend is due to the peculiarities of evolution, because in ancient times people often focused on sudden and urgent cases.

Media and social networks only increase the focus on urgent and non-emergency cases. Because of this, important events can be overlooked by spending time on something that did not require so much effort.

Composite matrices

There are four key components of the matrix:

  1. Urgent and important.
  2. Not urgent and important.
  3. Urgent and important.
  4. Not urgent and not important.

Suitable cases are recorded under each item. In this way it becomes clear which tasks should be dealt with in priority and which should not be. The listed items shall be divided into a square and filled in as plans and tasks appear.

Let us consider each of the above items in detail.

  1. Urgent and important

Ideal is when this item remains mostly empty. With proper distribution and planning of cases, the probability of failure is minimized. If the section “Urgent and important” is often filled in, it means you need to optimize your organization. To keep the item empty in most cases, you need to execute cases from other sections in time.

There are cases when filling of this cell is objectively justified:

– Unexpected health problems.

– Removal of factors that may prevent the main objective from being achieved.

– Unscheduled call to work or school for a child.

  1. Non-emergency and important tasks

This cell requires increased attention, as it concentrates strategically important and promising tasks. Experts who have studied the matrix claim that people who prioritize this item have a better chance of promotion. They also earn enough money and have free time, for example, on weekends at the expense of a thoughtful organization.

Since there is no urgency, there is time to reflect well on the tactics of accomplishing the tasks, to find the best approach for their implementation. But it is important to initially plan an approximate time to complete them. If they are not done on time, they will fall into the first sector.

This item may include career advancement plans, regular sports activities, budget planning, and major purchases.

  1. Urgent and unimportant

This cell is for urgent but not important business. They require an urgent response, but do not play any role in achieving important goals. Often, activities related to other people fall into this cell.

Urgent and not important things can be answers to messages, household troubles, fulfilling other people’s requests. Cases from this cell do not solve anything important, but can slow down the implementation of key goals and take time.

  1. Not urgent and not important

Actions from this paragraph do not bring significant benefits. They may be the last thing to do or even deleted from the plans. They objectively take time and effort. The insidiousness of the tasks from this point is that they seem to be easy at first sight and allow to relax.

The fourth cell includes conversations with friends on the phone or in social networks, games on the console, watching non-intellectual TV shows. Of course, it is necessary to have a rest and relax. But there are two important nuances. First, it is better to do intellectual things, for example, to read an interesting book. Secondly, you can talk to your friends after work or meet at the weekend.

Tools for task distribution

For convenient application of the Eisenhower Matrix you can use the same name applications for cell phones. You can also do on your computer and print a table or use a marker board.

Ability to divide tasks by importance promotes rational distribution of the time. This approach also helps to better plan your business and increases your chances of success in achieving your goals.