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!