The Eisenhower Matrix – Importance and Urgency

Eisenhower Matrix

by Shamsul
Eisenhower Matrix Principle
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The Eisenhower Matrix: Importance and Urgency


In firms or organizations, tasks are processed as speedily as possible. It is really important for the constant growth and expansion of the company. It is also imperative to set goals or priorities so that important matters are not overlooked because of the daily hustle and bustle. Unnecessary tasks usually take so much time that you can invest in important tasks to achieve desired results. Whether at home or at work, you can utilize your time to complete urgent tasks. With the help of the Eisenhower Matrix Principle, you can easily set priorities and manage your time. It enables you to achieve your targets or goals more quickly.


What is the Eisenhower Matrix Principle?

According to the Pareto Principle, you can achieve 80 percent of planned results with just 20 percent of the effort or time. The main thing is that employees only kept themselves busy with the other 80 percent of tasks, leading to 20 percent of the outcomes. This issue was identified by Dwight D. Eisenhower, an American president, and general. He developed Eisenhower Matrix, a time management method that helps categorize tasks into two segments: important and not important. He also distinguishes between the urgency and importance of tasks.


How does it work?

The Eisenhower Matrix contains four fields of action. This four-quadrant matrix helps to increase productivity in the longer term. In this method, you categorize tasks into important and urgent boxes. The other tasks are categorized as less important and not urgent. Sometimes, you can even discard less important tasks on the basis of the situation. Here’s the detailed summary of the four quadrants,

A- Important and Urgent:

In this quadrant, you place the most important high-priority tasks that should be completed on an urgent basis. Otherwise, you cannot achieve desired results.

B- Important, but not Urgent:

In this section, you place important tasks that are not urgent. They are important but it depends on you when and how you want to achieve them. Moreover, you may postpone these tasks on the basis of the current situation.

C- Urgent, but not Important:

They are not important, but you need to complete them as quickly as possible. They hold minor importance and this is why Eisenhower endorses completing them quickly.

D- Neither Important Nor Urgent:

They stand at the last of the list because they are not important. They usually remain undone. If you have plenty of free time, then you can consider these tasks otherwise, you can discard them.


Advantages and Disadvantages of the Eisenhower Matrix Principle:

Basically, the Eisenhower Matrix Principle is a time management method that helps to set priorities unambiguously and clearly. It tells which task is more important and must be completed as soon as possible. It is a really useful method for people in management levels or positions responsible for executing tasks by imposing them on employees. They must use this model to identify important and less important tasks. As a result, employees feel more involved in the company’s work process.

When it comes to disadvantages, the Eisenhower Matrix Principle has some. It is such an overwhelming process to classify important tasks rightly. On the other hand, imposing a task on the wrong people also causes negative outcomes. Meeting deadlines is another factor that is often overlooked in this model. If you didn’t set a deadline for any task or project, then you can never achieve the task or desired results.

Uneven distribution of tasks is another problem. Some tasks are only associated with particular employees, departments, or sections. Urgent tasks are rarely unimportant and you can’t put any task to one side.


An Example of Using the Eisenhower Matrix Principle:

For example, an employee is deskbound in his office in Washington at 9 am. He checks morning emails and reads the newspaper at 11 am. His boss informs him that they have to go for a meeting in New York on an urgent basis. The employee now needs to manage some important things such as documents, meetings, and so on. If the employee follows the Eisenhower Matrix Principle, then he can proceed as follows,

  • They provide the important documents that the boss requires for their tour (urgent and important).
  • They fix a new meeting with the client (task B).
  • The employee buys a flight ticket (task C).
  • Reading the remaining newspaper (task D)


Unimportant and Non-Urgent Tasks:

The tasks in quadrant D often create trouble for many people. This is where the unimportant and non-urgent tasks finish off. The following possibilities will help to keep these tasks away from your desk,

  • Compost Heap:

You can place documents on a pile that doesn’t contain any useful informational value for work. It is generally referred to as compost heap. If you have time then you can pile these documents. It is because you must complete urgent and important tasks first.

  • Wastebasket:

Material, data, information, or task that is neither urgent nor important must be placed in the wastebasket. It takes some time and courage to do so, but it gives peace of mind and saves your time.

  • Filing:

The 3rd method is to file the documents. They can make a filing system and check it after every few months to decide whether they are important to consider or not.


Simplifying the Eisenhower Method: the ABC Analysis

There are so many time management methods and tools other than the Eisenhower Matrix Principle. The Pareto Principle and ABC analysis are two methods designed for this purpose. As compared to others, ABC is more effective and easy to use.

  • A tasks: highly important and urgent
  • B tasks: important but not urgent
  • C tasks: less important, everyday routine

The main idea or method of these methods is to focus on the A tasks. C tasks are usually time-taking and least profitable. On the contrary, A tasks are more valuable and bring more profit. They must be performed when employees’ productivity and focus are at their best. You can overlook the C tasks. You can consider them in your free time when there is nothing to do.


Difference between the ABC Analysis and the Eisenhower Diagram:

The main purpose of using the ABC analysis is to prioritize everyday tasks in order to complete them on the same day. The Eisenhower Matrix covers a larger time window, whereas the ABC covers a single-day routine. For long terms tasks or projects, the Eisenhower method is highly suitable, and it also helps to manage or prioritize your everyday tasks, whether at home or at work.


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