Eisenhower Matrix – Being of Value Rather than Just Busy

(this is the description included in “Task Management Through the Eisenhower Matrix: A Task Management Notebook” I publish through #iliaca)

Supposedly, the US president Dwight D. Eisenhower once said that “The most urgent decisions rarely are the most important.” The Eisenhower Matrix is a task management strategy inspired by this quote and was designed to create a framework for helping us get away from just being reactive and “putting out fires” at work and instead focus on what creates real value.

The Eisenhower Matrix urges us to evaluate tasks based on their urgency and importance and place them in the right quadrant of the framework.

  • Tasks that are neither urgent or important should be ignored as they aren’t worth spending our time on.
  • Tasks that urgent but not important we should try to outsource as they generally are tasks that could be done by someone else and if so, frees up time for you to work on more value producing tasks.
  • Tasks that are important but not urgent are tasks that you should try to finish while they’re non-urgent as haste and stress often decreases the quality, and in turn, the value of your work. This is where we should try to spend most of our time working.
  • Tasks that are both urgent and important are tasks you should try to get done now to let you focus on the high value producing tasks in “important but not urgent”.

We too often value being busy rather than being of value, and probably the best way of being of value is to do what you do best. Removing distractions, and things that creates friction, so that you can focus on your strengths, on your high value work, while not being forced to produce low quality because of time constraints, is important. Not only for economic reasons, but also for self-satisfaction and for being able to spend more time with those closest to you. This is what the Eisenhower Matrix is made for.