Struggling to manage your tasks and time?
Maybe you haven’t started yet and you need guidance and support on prioritising future tasks?
This really simple version of the Eisenhower Matrix combined with the natural elements will help you crush your to do list!
The Eisenhower Matrix (sometimes called the Eisenhower Box or Eisenhower Decision Matrix) is simple but effective way to prioritise and manage tasks, and your time.
It is a system that helps you define and separate your tasks and activities into 4 priority groups, all explained here;
🔥 FIRE : "PUT THAT FIRE OUT!" AND GET S* IT DONE!
Important, and urgent.
These are the tasks you do first, as its tasks are important and need to be done today or tomorrow at the latest. You give these tasks the highest priority level, they typically need to be done in order to avoid negative consequences. Examples in this quadrant could be: crises, deadlines, urgent problems.
These are usually the most time and energy consuming tasks of the day. and if we are being honest, the ones you really don’t want to start due to the amount of energy you’ll have to invest in them. Start with these tasks and you’ll see how easy everything else will seem much easier to carry out after completing them.
Recommendation: You need to dedicate one place where you will write down your tasks daily to make planning wisely a habit that sticks. 'Trello' is a fantastic tool to dynamically document and manage your tasks.
🌳 EARTH : PLANT THE SEED, NEED TIME TO PLAN
Important, but not urgent.
The second quadrant of The Eisenhower Matrix we call “Need to plan“. These tasks are important but less urgent.
The best time managers leave fewer things unplanned, and try to manage most of their work in the 2nd quadrant. This is a great technique to reduce stress by terminating urgent and important 'stuff' to a reasonable date in the near future, whenever a new task comes in.
Don't forget: Just because these tasks are not considered right now as urgent, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t schedule realistic deadlines. Ensure you set yourself a fair time estimate, and you should organise and plan tasks like this into your daily/weekly to-do lists.
💦 WATER : DELEGATE
Not important, but urgent.
We call this third quadrant like so, because the tasks are less important to you than to others, but nonetheless still urgent. This is where having strong team dynamics is a game changer, and comes crucial in any organisation's culture.
These are tasks that technically you could probably do yourself, but suggesting a better person for the job means improved collaboration as a team, and more time for you to complete the tasks from your first two quadrants.
You should always keep track of delegated tasks to check on their progress later. Delegating without a tracking can be dangerous, as we must ensure the right people are accountable to ensure maximum success levels, and no business needs are piling up without anyone taking care of them.
🍃 WIND : BLOW AWAY AND ELIMINATE YOUR DISTRACTIONS
Not important, and not urgent.
Our final quadrant is called “Drop it”, because these task have a habit of making you consider the things you should not be doing at all, and we encourage your remove them from your agenda.
Explore and stop the bad habits that are a complete waste of your time and do not make you effective. Here's some examples: surfing the internet for no reason, spending time on not important and not urgent emails.
Your inbox is NOT your to do list! Make sure you set aside specific times during the day when you will check your comms, but they do not dictate your daily operations.
👇OPTIMAL LEARNING :
Getting the best out of this support and your talent.
📝 Set yourself task lists and goals - be clear with what needs to be done, and hold yourself accountable for the tasks you have prioritised on.
👉 Limit a set number of tasks you can include in each quadrant. We recommend working with no more than 5/6 tasks per quadrant.
❓ Always question and validate what is worth doing first.
🎨 Plan, plan, plan.
🥊 Knock out those distractions. Do not let anyone else define your priority other than you. After all, you know your tasks best.
🛠 Use great tools to help you wherever possible.
👣 Track the tasks you delegate to others to see the progress - be accountable.
⏲ Finally, try not to procrastinate that much. Not even by over-managing your to-dos.
📚 HOW DID WE INHERIT THE MATRIX? :
The shortest history lesson ever.
The Eisenhower Matrix is named after Dwight David Eisenhower, who was an American army general and statesman, who also served as the 34th President of the United States from 1953 to 1961. During World War II, he was a 5-star general in the US Army, and served as Supreme Commander who prepared the strategy for an allied invasion of Europe.
Eisenhower made tough decisions repeatedly about which of the many tasks he should focus his attention on daily. This motivated him to created the Eisenhower method we know today, which helps us prioritise our tasks by urgency and importance.
Through the Eisenhower elements of planning, prioritising, delegating, and scheduling you will begin to visualise and strategise best methods and timings to achieve your goals and be more efficient personally and professionally.