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How You Can Make Sense of Your Priorities with an Eisenhower Matrix

If your time is anything like mine, you often find it taken up by task after task, with all these responsibilities fighting for your attention. You’ve probably found yourself staring at your to-do list, trying to figure out what to tackle next, more times than you’d care to admit.

To help prevent this from becoming an ongoing issue, I wanted to share a tool that can help you sort out your priorities called the Eisenhower Matrix.

Let’s take a few moments to delve into the history of the Eisenhower Matrix, and how it can be used to assist you in managing your responsibilities.

The Eisenhower Matrix, in a Nutshell

Back in 1954, President and five-star general during WWII Dwight D. Eisenhower made a speech where he said, quoting a university president who went unnamed:

“I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.”

Three and a half decades later, author Steven Covey used these words to create a task management system called—amongst other things—the Eisenhower Matrix, which appeared in his renowned book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. 

The system breaks tasks down into levels of relative importance and urgency. Important tasks are those that contribute to your long-term goals, while urgent ones are those that demand your attention at a given moment. By combining these aspects in different ways, you can assign different levels of priority to different tasks and outline how each should be approached:

  • Tasks that are both urgent and important should be done immediately.
    • For instance, a client proposal or responses to incoming client messages.
  • Tasks that are important, but not urgent, should be scheduled to be completed.
    • For instance, attending a networking event or otherwise improving your skills via training.
  • Tasks that are urgent, but not important, should be delegated for someone else to complete.
    • For instance, following up with a new client you are signing on.
  • Tasks that are neither urgent or important can be deleted, written off as distractions from your actual goals.

This gives you the means to properly prioritize your and your team’s responsibilities in a simple and effective manner.

Keep Track of Your Tasks with the Software We Help Provide

While the Eisenhower Matrix can help guide your schedule to be its most effective, S3 Technologies can help you acquire and equip the tools to keep your team members on track. Reach out to us at (505)242-5683 to learn more about the services and solutions that we can provide.