The urgent vs important matrix was created by President Eisenhower as a system that will help you prioritise tasks.
This is a very simple concept.
According to this matrix, tasks can be prioritised and you can arrive at a decision based on the urgency and importance of the task.
Take action as follows
- If the task is urgent and important – DO it immediately
- If the task is important but not urgent – PLAN to do it later
- If the task is urgent but not important – you can DELEGATE to someone else
- If the task is not urgent and not important – ELIMINATE this.
Tasks that are in this area are the ones that deserve your immediate attention. When looking at the tasks at hand, these should get your focus and you should work on them right away. These are usually critical tasks that needs to meet a deadline, so you can’t afford to miss them. These may also be tasks that will require your specific expertise in order to be carried out.
Items on this section are important but not as urgent as the first one. This means that you can put them off a bit to a later time but still commit to finishing them. They are just not as pressing, but these are things that needs your attention.
These tasks are those that are urgent but NOT important, so you wouldn’t want to devote what time you have available to tasks in this section and have somebody else handle them for you. Examples of these tasks are responding to client’s emails, calls, or SMS.
Tasks in this category are those that are not at all related to your work such as browsing through online deals or playing games during work hours. Note though that some of the tasks may seem related but really not, for example browsing through your phone through your social media so that you would look busy to clients at the gym.
The Eisenhower Matrix is a good tool to use to be clear on what needs your attention first, it enables you to prioritise and make good use of the time you have during the day.