What is the Eisenhower Matrix?

The Eisenhower Matrix is a Tool that helps Prioritize tasks based on their Urgency and Importance.

  • Its name comes from the 34th American President, who conceived it:
    • Dwight David Eisenhower.

 

To do this, it proposes to categorize Tasks depending whether they are:

  • Important or Not Important.
  • Urgent or Not Urgent.

 

Based on this categories, it suggests the next 4 Prioritizations:

  • Do.
  • Schedule.
  • Delegate.
  • Eliminate.

The Four Boxes of the Eisenhower Matrix

1. Do: Important and Urgent Tasks can must be Immediately Solved.

  • These Tasks can’t wait, and tend to be Unexpected Serious Problems.

 

2. Schedule: Important Not Urgent Tasks that can be solved with Time.

  • This Tasks have to be solved, but the solution is not needed right Now.

 

3. Delegate: Not Important Urgent Tasks that can be solved by Different People.

  • As they are not Important, they can be Delegated to “common” employees.

 

4. Eliminate: Not Important Not Urgent Tasks that Consume Time and Effort.

  • These Tasks do not contribute anything and must be Eliminated.

Eisenhower Matrix

 

We know that Differentiating between Urgent and Important, can be Confusing.

 

That is why we’ll share an example that best shows this difference:

Eisenhower Matrix example

 

Imagine that you are the Manager of a Microchip company.

 

One day, in the morning meeting, your Team tell you 4 different News:

 

  • First: There is a Shortage in Raw Materials. Either you find a New Supplier Today, or Tomorrow, the Production will be interrupted.
    • This Problem must be Solved Right Now.
      • This is an Important and Urgent Issue.

 

  • Second: The Manufacturing Costs will increase in the Next 4 months due to the increase in price of semiconductors.
    • This Problem has to be addressed in the Next Weeks.
      • This is an Important but Not Urgent Issue.

 

  • Third: There is an employee that has threatened his Manager with suing her for not Promoting him.
    • This has to be Solved ASAP, but it won’t affect Business Operations.
      • This issue is Not Important but Urgent.

 

  • Fourth: Some employees are suggesting that the Logo of the Company should be modified to seem more “Friendly”.
    • This implies many meetings of people giving their opinion… For Nothing.
      • This Issue is Not Important and Not Urgent.

As we usually say: We are aware that this Model seems a bit Simplistic.

  • It also feels so intuitive, that it can seem almost Useless.

 

But, trust us: It is very helpful.

  • Specially, when you work in a Busy environment.

 

As we have used this Prioritization Model many times, we’ll share How we use it.

  • In case you don’t know, we’ve worked in Venture Capital for years.

How does the Eisenhower Matrix work?

It is a Guideline that you have to Remember whenever you multitask.

  • Whenever you have to Prioritize Tasks, think about Eisenhower’s 4 Categories.

 

The Eisenhower Matrix makes us differentiate between Urgency and Importance.

  • In Busy environments, Urgency is commonly confused with Importance.

 

If you are a Manager, you’ll have lots of Urgent Not-Important Issues: Delegate.

  • This Model emphasizes that, Not-Important but Urgent matters, should be Delegated.

 

There are certain Tasks that are not Worth the effort they require.

  • This Model encourages us to directly Eliminate useless tasks.

The best way to understand the Eisenhower Matrix and how you can use it is by sharing some examples with you:

Eisenhower Matrix examples

We have chosen 3 different examples of situations in which the Eisenhower Matrix can be of great help.

  • Professional and day-to-day situations.

 

Let’s begin:

Designing a Website - Eisenhower Matrix example

 

No matter if you are designing a Website for yourself, or for a Client.

When building a Site, you need to make dozens of decisions:

  • The Font.
  • The Colors.
  • What functionalities it will have.
  • Images.
  • The Site Logo.
  • etc.

 

Some of these tasks are Important and some are fun but Not Important or Urgent at all.

The Eisenhower Prioritization Matrix can be of great help in this situation.

 

According to our experience (with this Site) when building a Site, you should:

 

Do: First of all, you should Solve everything necessary to comply with:

  • Functionality (coding errors, etc).
  • Schedule (if you have a Deadline).

 

Schedule: Then, you’ll develop the tasks related to Optimization.

  • Page Speed.
  • User Experience.

 

Delegate: Then, you delegate tasks that an external Designer can do:

  • Design the Logo.
  • Choose the adequate Colors and Images.

 

Eliminate: You finally decide that certain Tasks are not necessary.

  • Creating a Facebook Page.
  • Implement additional security measures.

Getting Rid of a Bad Habit - Eisenhower Matrix example

 

We all have Bad Habits.

  • Habits that do not contribute anything to us.
    • And, eventually, make us lose time and energy.

 

Some of these Bad Habits are obvious, but other are not.

 

You can use the Eisenhower Matrix to find out what Habits you should Eliminate.

  • Too much Whatsapp.
  • Too much Facebook.
  • Too much Candycrush.
  • Too much time in the Coffe machine with your friends.
  • etc.

 

We recommend you to think about everything you do in your day-to-day.

Prioritize your tasks using the Eisenhower Matrix…

  • And Get Rid of everything that doesn’t really worth your Time and effort.

Starting a Business - Eisenhower Matrix example

 

Have you ever Started your own Business?

 

If you have, you already know that, the moment you become an Entrepreneur, you become a multitasking monster.

  • Suddenly you have to Do… A million things.

 

Prioritizing is absolutely essential in Businesses, Specially the Small ones.

  • Why the Small ones? Because you have to do everything on your own.

 

If you are Starting your own Business we recommend you:

 

First, Do everything related to legal matters.

  • You can get you in big trouble if you don’t do it.

 

Schedule everything regarding future Growth.

  • In the beginning, your Business just has to Survive and make money.

 

Delegate all the tasks related to your Brand.

  • Brand is important, but you can do little to improve it in small Businesses.

 

Eliminate everything than doesn’t boost your Business.

  • Spend too much time designing your Website.
  • Thinking too much about your Logo.
  • etc. (It depends on the type of Business, of course).

Summarizing

The Eisenhower Matrix is a Tool that helps Prioritize tasks based on their Urgency and Importance.

 

To do this, it proposes to categorize Tasks depending whether they are:

  • Important or Not Important.
  • Urgent or Not Urgent.

 

Based on this categories, it suggests the next 4 Prioritizations:

  • 1. Do: Important and Urgent Tasks can must be Immediately Solved.
  • 2. Schedule: Important Not Urgent Tasks that can be solved with Time.
  • 3. Delegate: Not Important Urgent Tasks that can be solved by Different People.
  • 4. Eliminate: Not Important Not Urgent Tasks that Consume Time and Effort.

 

How does the Eisenhower Matrix work?

  • It is a Guideline that you have to Remember whenever you multitask.
  • The Eisenhower Matrix makes us differentiate between Urgency and Importance.
  • If you are a Manager, you’ll have lots of Urgent Not-Important Issues: Delegate.
  • There are certain Tasks that are not Worth the effort they require.

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