The secret of productivity isn't only about on getting a lot of things done – it's about the strategy of the doing itself.
This is where the Eisenhower Matrix comes in. A clever, yet simple, tool that can really help simplify our approach to productivity.
This is your guide to mastering the Eisenhower Matrix.
This model, named after President Dwight D. Eisenhower, is a method of sorting your tasks by urgency and importance.
The matrix is divided into four boxes:
- Urgent and important (Do it now)
- Important, but not urgent (Schedule it)
- Urgent, but not important (Delegate it)
- Neither urgent nor important (Eliminate it)
The key here isn't just to put labels on tasks. It’s to understand the strategy behind each category. The Matrix isn't merely about doing more, but about doing more of what matters most:
1️⃣ The 'Do it Now' box
For tasks that need our immediate attention. They're the projects with looming deadlines, the important team meetings, the tasks with significant impact if left undone. Prioritize these and do them immediately.
2️⃣ The 'Schedule It' box
This is where the Eisenhower Matrix really shines. Most of us tend to overlook non-urgent tasks until they become urgent. This box is for tasks that are important for your long-term goals but don't have pressing deadlines. Plan to work on these at regular intervals, making consistent progress towards the bigger picture.
3️⃣ The 'Delegate it' box
Often, we find ourselves bogged down by tasks that need to be done, but not necessarily by us. Delegate these tasks to others when possible, freeing up your time and mental bandwidth for higher impact tasks.
4️⃣ The 'Eliminate it' box
This is about ruthless prioritization. If a task is neither important nor urgent, consider eliminating it. This act frees up space for tasks that truly matter.
Sounds simple, right?
That's the beauty of it. It doesn't overcomplicate productivity. Instead, it helps you cut through the noise and focus on the crucial tasks that drive real progress.
The Eisenhower Matrix is transformative because it's not just about getting more done.
It's about working smarter, not harder. It's about focusing on quality, not quantity. It shifts your mindset from being reactive - constantly putting out fires - to being proactive, planning, and executing on a strategy that aligns with your goals.
How to use the Eisenhower matrix?
The Matrix is a guide, not a strict rulebook. I personally use it as a mental model – while my to do’s are in Todoist, I make sure to process some of my most unclear tasks through this model.
I find that Eliminate is both the hardest, and the most freeing.
Using this model is about giving yourself the clarity to make better decisions, to delegate where you can, and to eliminate what isn't necessary.
Eisenhower once said, "Plans are nothing; planning is everything." The Eisenhower Matrix is a an expression of this statement. Give it a try. You may just find that you're not only getting more done, but you're getting the right things done.