Boost Your Productivity With the Eisenhower Matrix

  • What is the Eisenhower Matrix?
  • The Difference Between Urgent and Important Tasks
  • The 4 Quadrants of the Eisenhower Matrix
  • How to Boost Productivity With the Eisenhower Matrix

What is the Eisenhower Matrix?

  • Urgent and important tasks: The tasks you’ll do immediately.
  • Important, but not urgent tasks: The tasks you’ll schedule for later.
  • Urgent, but not important tasks: The tasks you’ll delegate to someone else.
  • Neither urgent nor important tasks: The tasks you’ll delete from your to-do list.

The Difference Between Urgent and Important Tasks

To use the Eisenhower Matrix effectively, you have to understand the difference between urgent and important tasks. Fortunately, this distinction is fairly simple:

  • Finishing a project with a looming due date
  • Covering for a colleague who is out sick
  • Responding to client calls and emails
  • Fixing a leaky pipe in your home
  • Planning for an important future project
  • Networking with other influential people
  • Learning a new skill to help achieve your goals
  • Completing regular chores around the house

The 4 Quadrants of the Eisenhower Matrix

Quadrant 1: Urgent and Important

Urgent and important tasks have looming deadlines and consequences should you fail to meet them. As such, tasks in this category should be moved to the top of your to-do list.

  • Writing a blog post for your company’s website
  • Solving an urgent problem for one of your top clients
  • Taking your child to the ER when they break their arm

Quadrant 2: Important, but Not Urgent

Important, but not urgent tasks are directly related to your long-term goals. Because of this, you must make time to complete them. You just don’t have to make time right now.

  • Meeting like-minded professionals
  • Long-term business planning
  • Changing the oil in your car
  • Exercising at the gym

Quadrant 3: Urgent, but Not Important

Urgent, but not important tasks must be handled in a timely manner. They don’t contribute to long-term goals, though, which is why they should be delegated to others.

  • Immediately responding to every email in your inbox
  • Approving comments on your company’s blog
  • Booking flights and/or hotel rooms

Quadrant 4: Neither Urgent Nor Important

Admit it: some of the tasks on your to-do list aren’t urgent or important. Tasks that don’t include deadlines or help you achieve long-term goals fall into Quadrant 4.

  • Watching TV for hours on end
  • Mindlessly scrolling through social media apps
  • Sorting through junk mail, while avoiding other activities

How to Boost Productivity With the Eisenhower Matrix

1. Which Tasks Can I Eliminate?

Scan through your to-do list and look for Quadrant 4 tasks. Find any? Good, delete them before you do anything else. These tasks won’t help you achieve anything meaningful.

2. Which Tasks Will Help Me Accomplish My Goals?

Speaking of goals, what are yours?

3. Which Tools Will Help Me Prioritize Tasks Effectively?

Finally, look for tools to help you organize and schedule tasks. There are plenty of options available to you. Some of our favorites include:

  • Todoist: Todoist is “The world’s #1 task manager and to-do list app.” With it, you can list your professional and personal tasks, label them for easy organization, and put them on a digital calendar so that they actually get done.
  • Trello: Trello is a simple project management app. Use this tool to segment tasks into one of the four Eisenhower Matrix quadrants, set due dates for urgent items on your to-do list, and more. One of our favorite things about Trello is that it’s very visual, which makes it super easy to use for anybody, even if they’re technology averse.
  • Asana: Asana aims to “Make work work for you.” Catchy slogans aside, you can use Asana to organize professional and personal tasks according to the Eisenhower methodology. The best thing about Asana is how flexible it is. The downside is that it can be hard to navigate because it’s equipped with so many features.

Wrapping Up

No matter what type of business you are running, the Eisenhower Matrix will help you decide which tasks are most important. You can use it to improve anything you are in from HVAC marketing to Legal Website Design to scaling a startup tech company. That way you can prioritize them, get more done on a regular basis, and accomplish your goals.

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Joe Martin

Joe Martin

Dad, Husband, and reformed ski bum. VP of Content and Digital Scorpion, Former CMO of CloudApp and Marketing Lead for Adobe.