How I use an Eisenhower Matrix
How I use the Eisenhower matrix
Every day I wake up to a long list of todos. More than I could ever do. So how do you not just freeze, overwhelmed by the ridiculous amount of work ahead?
I’ve tried ordering them by priority, time boxing them, last-in-first-out, etc. I’ve also read about the Eisenhower matrix many times. But never fully tried it. I just didn’t know when to use it. Until something clicked a few weeks ago:
Make the matrix
The core idea is easy, you make a 2x2 matrix. One axis is Urgent and Not Urgent. The other is Important and Not Important. Now order all your tasks into these quadrants.
- Urgent means it needs to be done NOW.
- Important means it’s priority 1. Nothing else.
When to use the matrix
Do this in morning before you start work. To figure out what you need to do.
Which order to work in
1. Urgent & Important
When you’ve sorted your tasks you first work on the ones in the Importan & Urgent quadrant. Only those. Hide and forget the rest. Anything new comes in? Sort it into the matrix. Just because someone asks for it does not make it urgent.
2. Important but not Urgent
When you’re done with that quadrant, and only then, you can move on to the next one: Important but NOT urgent. Yes, that’s right. You are avoiding other urgent tasks now. That’s because these are the tasks that will get you ahead of the curve. These are the tasks that matter. That very soon will end up in important and urgent, or worse: lost opportunities…
3. Urgent but not important
Only after you finish these are you allowed to move on to the urgent but not important.
4. Not Urgent & Not Important?
And honestly, I’ve never gotten to quadrant not urgent and not important.
Does that help you? Try it. It helped me. Though I still need to remember to do this every morning.