How to be More Productive by Using the “Eisenhower Matrix”

There are so many things to do, so few time…

At some point in our lives, we all reach a productivity bottleneck.

We could feel overwhelmed with too many tasks and there is no way out! How can you get rid of the feeling you have to work on a hundred different things at once?

What if I told you there really is a way and it is simple, easy to put in practice, and will make you a productivity machine?

Well, that way is called the “Eisenhower Matrix” or productivity grid.

The productivity grid works as a productivity tool and decision-making principle; it helps you prioritize all your tasks (both work-related and personal) by urgency and importance.

By using this productivity grid you will be able to identify the main goals you are trying to achieve throughout your life, then break down these goals into different tasks that can easily be accomplished and prioritize them according to their level of urgency.

Furthermore, the productivity grid helps to determine if a task is important or not by asking itself “will this task help achieve my life goals?”, if it does then it belongs to the important category.

On the other hand, if it doesn’t contribute to achieving your life goals then you can go ahead and feel free to simply discard it.

Essentially, the productivity grid is based on the famous Eisenhower’s quote: “I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent”.

According to this quote, you should always focus on completing your most important task first because it will help achieve your goals, which in turn will make you more productive and successful.

Let’s go ahead and use this productivity principle as a decision-making tool:

Ike’s approach for taking action and organizing your tasks is straightforward. You may use the decision matrix below to distinguish your activities into four categories based on your options.

  1. Urgent and important (things you must do right away).
  2. Important, but not urgent (things to schedule in time later for).
  3. Urgent, but not important (things you delegate to someone else).
  4. Neither urgent nor important (things you will discard from your list).

The difference between important and urgent tasks.

What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.

-Dwight Eisenhower

Urgent activities are time-sensitive and necessitate your attention. They’re things you feel compelled to deal with. Being occupied with pressing matters can make you feel defensive, rushed, and overly focused.

Important work is an important part of your long-term objective, beliefs, and goals. The things that will move the needle for the bigger ideas. They may not provide immediate results (making them easy to overlook). Important tasks are sometimes also urgent — but not always. Putting your attention on essential activities allows you to be more responsive, which can help you feel calm, rational, and receptive to new ideas.

People are inclined to consider that all pressing matters are also essential when frequently they are not. This misinterpretation might be attributed to our preference for dealing with short-term difficulties and never coming up with solutions for the larger obstacles in life.

Why Use The Productivity Grid?

By segmenting tasks into these 4 quadrants you can get a clearer idea of what needs to be done, now, later, or never. The never is a critical part of what the productive grid provides. As tasks come your way and coming back to that core question “will this task help achieve my life goals?” you’ll find a lot of tasks flow naturally into the delegation or discarding pile.

Thus you’re making a lot of time back for the Urgent and Important things in life!

How to Be More Productive At Home

You might think that you can’t get anything done at home. But it’s really about setting yourself up for success when in your own space.

Staying productive at home is important as with the COVID-19 pandemic, more offices changed to working from home. Workers now have to experience a new change in habits. Research shows that only 1 in 10 people reported their productivity had gone down during lockdowns. The rest maintained or even improved their productivity. While it can come easy for some to stay productive, it’s important to use tools and strategies to maintain a strong work life balance the entire day.

In this blog article, we will discuss how to be more productive at home. This guide is for people who lose focus easily and want to work on staying productive throughout the day at home using these productivity techniques and strategies.

Morning Routine

There are may tips out there on creating a morning routine, a source of motivation, wake up early, eat a healthy breakfast, meditation, reading, mindfulness or make a to-do list. That way, before the day begins, you have a tradition of what needs to be done and can plan accordingly

The reason successful people claim to be so effective is the way they start their day off on the right foot. Your morning routine could include making your bed because it gives off the impression that things are being taken care of. It takes self-control to do this consistently, so find what works for you.

A daily routine is one of those new habits that primes your body and mind to be ready for the challenges that will come will set you up perfectly for having a productive day.

Create an environment for success

Put everything in its place before beginning work or doing any tasks at home so it doesn’t become overwhelming if there is something new added later into the equation.

It’s important to reduce distractions from the internet, apps on your phone and TV. Shut your door so this way you can focus more on what needs to be done, take video calls, and function as your at home office space.

It can be a good idea to make your home office an area where you don’t associate with any other activities. If possible, keep it in a corner of the house, a place of comfort, so that there is no temptation for distractions from family members or pets. Keep that background noise out with the help of music.

Manage Your Time

The best way to be productive is by managing your time so that you can get everything done in a timely manner. A sure fire way to experience stress is to not have your time managed well – this is integral as part of your new routine to save time. The worst thing for productivity is when people are constantly waiting on others, which causes them to lose focus.

Basic strategies for this can include inbox zero for email, time-blocking through your calendar. Even something as simple as using morning hours to take on big tasks you want to make progress on. You’ll notice a big difference in mindset when you’re at your most alert after a morning routine.

Prioritize

It’s important to prioritize what needs to be done first. You could do this by writing down the top 5 things that are most urgent or require the most attention that day in your personal or work life.

Prioritizing is a skill and requires discipline to master. To learn how to do this, you could also use the Eisenhower matrix to map out what requires full focus, delegation, or re-scheduling in for another time.

Use Time Blocking

Priorities your tasks with the help of time blocking. This will make you more productive at home by eliminating procrastination, as well as making sure that everything is done in a timely manner.

Keep track of how much time you’re spending on certain things which can lead to being more productive or not so productive. It’s important to know where your free time is going and how that fits into your work schedule.

Take Breaks

It’s important to take breaks from what you are doing and give your brain some space for creativity, problem-solving or just relaxing. It makes sense as this will help increase productivity levels in the long run because it gives your body and mind periods of rest which they need.

The Pomodoro technique is a great way to stay focused on one task at a time while allowing breaks in to check your Facebook messages or get lose in that YouTube video you saw come up.

Set Ground Rules For People in Your Home

If you have people over at your house at the same time, it’s important to set boundaries for when you’re needing to focus in on work. This is quite common as remote work is more prevalent than ever.

For example, if you’re trying to focus on a project but one of the other people in the room is watching TV or checking their phone continuously then that can lead to wasted time and energy.

Agree as a household what are work hours where you’ll need to be able to have video meetings in your work space. Make a suggestion on how you can create a great work environment at home, and what things for children are off-limits during work hours.

That’s why having a dedicated workspace can be so important to mentally have an that’s for your to be in a work mindset.

Go outside

You’re spending most of your day inside the house, it’s easy to feel exhaustion, sluggish and unmotivated. Get some fresh air and sunlight to break up your day.

Studies show that this can improve your memory, fight depression and lower blood pressure naturally.

Don’t Eat Junk Food

Junk food is energy dense but nutrient poor so eating that when trying to be productive can lead to lower concentration levels (we’re all too familiar with the crash). So it’s healthier for our bodies if we were more conscious about what we eat while being productive. It might also make us feel gross afterwards! Stick with foods like protein bars, fruits and nuts.

Exercise

Get the blood moving through the body and muscles, I recommend doing this before breakfast as it will not only jump start your day it helps with your brain health. Exercise is proven to help with feelings like stress, , decreases depression and anxiety levels, and overall improves your well-being.

Summary

It’s easy to mix your work life with your personal life when working from home. To combat this, try to get into a regular work routine just like you were going to the office every day. Set clear start and stop times as well as breaks throughout the day.

Should I Focus on One Goal At A Time?

For myself trying to spin many plates in life and at the same time goals around, exercise, writing, business, and learning.

The intention is there, mastering multiple areas of life however can be confusing and lead to reverting back to what I know, or only making gains in one goal.

So here’s the simple solution: Choose one. Make a decision about something right now. Attempting to accomplish everything will not only waste your time, but will also make all of your goals less efficient.

By concentrating all of your efforts into achieving the desired outcome, you can better manage your time, energy and resources.

One Goal

So ask yourself what’s the most impactful goal you could have right now that by completing that journey, personally & professionally there will be a great reward at the end.

I like to think of these as your “flagship” goal that will drive up other secondary goals along the way. An example would be being able to take up jogging, science has proven time and time that exercise leads to increased happiness, so by proxy, this should lead to better work performance. By mastering just one thing at a time, you’ll be creating more opportunities to master other things in life as well.

It’s not about abandoning dreams and simply making the most of your current situation, or settling for a less fulfilling life – It’s actually quite the opposite. Start focusing on achieving maximum gains from each of your goals by picking only one goal.

So for myself, I’ve picked writing as my flagship because it impacts all other areas of life, it allows me to organize my ideas, reflect which is important for my mental health, It also makes me feel good which increases productivity and creativity throughout the day.

Write Them Down

Research shows that people who write down their commitment are up to three times more likely to achieve their objective than those who don’t. And this should be no surprise: Simply by committing in advance, you’re much more likely to follow through on what you say you’ll do.

If we want something badly enough, we should make the effort of writing our intention and then following up with regular reminders until action is taken – and not just once but daily if need be. It’s time-consuming and repetitive work but it will set us free from procrastination and excuses because we’ve already committed in writing.

“I’m going to run for 30 minutes every day at 6:30 p.m.” is a specific commitment, as in “I’m going to implement an intention.” These are referred to as “implementation intentions” by scientists.

Consistency is Key

One should always be consistent in adhering to a goal. This will help in establishing a pattern that will lead them to success and the attainment of their goals. If your intention was to run every day at a specific time, commit to that verbatim. No need to go overkill by running for 1.5 hours, or waking up at 4 am. Stick to the script to avoid burning out and losing the tempo you’ve set.