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A New Way to Prioritize

Have you ever been faced with the challenge of trying to prioritize all of your tasks?

You’re sitting there stuck with a hundred tasks to complete, and there’s no way you can do them all. So which tasks do you take on, and which do you forget? How in the world are you supposed to decide?

There are many different ways you can go about trying to decide, but in today’s article, you will learn about one in particular.

The Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower matrix is a time management tool that ranks tasks based on their urgency and importance. Thus, the Eisenhower method of making your to-do list allows you to manage your tasks efficiently.

The matrix is named after Dwight Eisenhower – the 34th president of the United States. Eisenhower divided his tasks into urgent and important ones, and this strategy became known as the Eisenhower method.

Urgent vs Important

What makes a task urgent, and what qualifies a task to be important? Here is how these two terms are defined regarding the Eisenhower Matrix.

Urgent

An urgent task requires your immediate attention. You should avoid delaying urgent tasks because of the impending deadline.

Important

These tasks have pressing long-term consequences if they’re not fulfilled. They might contribute to your long-term goals and quality of life.

The Four Quadrants

After each task is labeled as urgent, important, or both, it is placed in one of four quadrants. These four quadrants are listed below.

Urgent & Important – The “Do” Quadrant

This quadrant has the highest priority. It includes activities that require immediate attention. So, this quadrant includes deadlines with weighing consequences – you can’t afford to put these tasks on the back burner.

Here are some examples of tasks that would fall in this quadrant.

  • Completing a class project that is due tomorrow and worth 50% of your overall grade
  • Taking a shower because you just finished a workout and have a first date in 2 hours
  • Paying your rent because it’s the first day of the month

Not Urgent & Important – The “Schedule” Quadrant

Tasks in this quadrant may not have defined deadlines. They can be long-term missions and goals, which can be scheduled for a later date.

Tasks in this quadrant may not be as pressing as in the “Do” quadrant, but you should still aim to complete them within a reasonable time. If not, these tasks may end up moving to the “Do” quadrant instead.

Here are some examples of tasks that would fall in this quadrant.

  • Getting your haircut as it starts becoming too long
  • Developing a new skill for a job promotion
  • Routine medical checkups

Urgent & Not Important – The “Delegate” Quadrant

The quadrant can be dangerous water – it’s tempting to prioritize these tasks because of their urgency. However, they should never be prioritized over tasks in the “Do” quadrant.

Also, since these tasks aren’t as crucial, you can delegate them to others instead.

Here are some examples of tasks that would fall in this quadrant.

  • Double checking your website for small spelling and grammar mistakes
  • Responding to a few emails or text messages
  • Cashing in on limited-time offers like coupons or discounts

Not Urgent & Not important – The “Eliminate” Quadrant

This last quadrant consists of tasks that are neither urgent nor important. Since they rank so low on both scales, they don’t require your attention.

If you have tasks in any of the three prior quadrants, these fourth quadrant tasks can be taken out entirely.

Here are some examples of tasks that would fall in this quadrant.

  • Binging your favorite Netflix show
  • Mindless scrolling on social media apps
  • Spring cleaning when there are more pressing tasks that require your attention

Build Your Own Eisenhower Matrix

If this new methodology sounds like something that may work for you, try building your own matrix and give it a go.

If you need a place to start, you can download the Eisenhower Matrix Google Sheets template available right here at Spreadsheet Life.

This is a template that you can download and use right away. All you have to do is add your tasks, mark them as urgent or important, and the template places each task in the appropriate quadrant automatically.

Eisenhower Matrix - The Matrix Page

I hope you enjoyed reading this article, and if you have any thoughts, questions, or concerns, feel free to leave a comment down below!

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