THE PRIORITY MATRIX – Using Time Effectively

The priority Matrix, also known as Eisenhower matrix, helps you decide on and prioritise tasks by urgency and importance, sorting out less urgent and important tasks which you should either delegate or not do at all.

How to use the Matrix:

• The Priority Matrix helps establish what order of priority you are going to give to the jobs on your checklist.

• It can equally be applied to a day, a week, a month, or even a year.

• The vertical axis represents urgent/not urgent, and the horizontal one is important/not important.

• If it is urgent and important, it falls in the top right, and you should do it now. The precise definition of ‘now’ may vary. Start with today and put the tasks in priority order.

• If it is urgent but not important, delegate it if you can, or do it quickly first to get it out of the way and meet the deadline.

• If it is important but not urgent, think about what you need to do and plan when you are going to do it. Be sure to put this planned time into your diary immediately – do not delay it and thus create yet another task.

• If it is neither important nor urgent, then you should question why you are doing it at all. If possible, ignore or cancel these tasks.

Here is a video tutorial for the priority matrix

5 time management tips:

  1. Putting things to-do on a list frees your mind. But always question what is worth doing first.
  2. The priority matrix is not about collecting tasks but finishing them, therefore, try limiting yourself to no more than 5-8 tasks per box. Before adding another one, complete the most important one first.
  3. Do not let you or others distract you.Plan in the morning, then work on your stuff. And in the end, enjoy the feeling of completion.
  4. Try not to procrastinate that much. Not even by over-managing your to-dos.
  5. Pro tip: You should always maintain only one list for both business and private tasks. That way you will never be able to complain about not having done anything for your family or yourself at the end of the day.

Exercise: Take your list of things to do. Choose a helpful time period, such as a day, week or month. Draw the diagram and place each task in the appropriate quadrant. Methodically work through the action, starting with the most urgent.

Further Reading:

  • The Diagrams Book – by Kevin Duncan

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