“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower –
Our third and final article of our Time Management Techniques series focuses on The Eisenhower Method. This technique was born from the mind of Dwight Eisenhower, a five-star general in the United States Army during World War 2, Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe and later appointed the 34th president of the United States of America.
In the years since its invention, this method has been adopted by CEOs and Presidents alike, due to the underlying simplicity of the technique, combined with the historical results provided by Eisenhower himself. The phrase “practice what you preach” comes to mind when thinking of this method, because that is exactly what Eisenhower did. During his many years of public service he developed his personal method of time management, altering it until he had perfected his system. This method was personally developed by Eisenhower and repeatedly tested in a real world setting, ensuring the practicality of the underlying process behind said method.
If you find yourself with to many activities and tasks to solve in a short period of time, we recommend Eisenhower’s matrix. This can help eliminate stress factors and help in completing your tasks more efficiently by prioritizing the important and urgent activities and eliminating the ones that are neither important, nor urgent. Eisenhower’s box or matrix contributes to the overcoming of the natural tendency to concentrate on the urgent, but not important tasks.
The Simple Methodology of the Eisenhower Box:
The process behind Eisenhower’s method is simple. Using a decision matrix (like the one found below), tasks are separated into four distinct categories:
- Urgent and important,e. Tasks that should be completed immediately
- Important, but not urgent,e. Tasks that should be scheduled for a later time
- Urgent, but not important,e. Tasks that should be delegated to others
- Neither urgent nor important,e. Task that can be eliminated
The great thing about this matrix is that it can be used for daily and weekly plans (by organizing your working schedule) and for long-term tasks (life goals and dreams).
In order to use the matrix, there are several steps:
- First make a list of all the activities and tasks that need to be solved – both personally and professionally.
- Analyze each task and place it in one of the aforementioned categories. Limit yourself to a maximum of 8 activities per category. It is imperative to complete one task before you add a new one in a certain category. Avoid postponing tasks from the list.
- First solve the tasks that are both important and urgent.
- The tasks that are important, but not urgent are to be carefully planned. Give yourself time, but pay attention so that they don’t become urgent as well. This will maximize your odds to avoid stress caused by emergencies.
- In regard to the tasks that are urgent, but not important – these certain activities can prevent you from reaching your goals. In order to concentrate on your important assignments, you can either delegate or refuse this kind of tasks.
- The tasks that are neither urgent, nor important are to be refused and ignored, as they do not contribute to reaching your purpose and objectives.
The Eisenhower principle is a useful tool in time management as it contributes to the increase in productivity and the elimination of inefficient behaviors in regard to achieving your goals.
Whether you use the Eisenhower matrix as is or in combination with the other two proposed time management techniques – Pomodoro and Kaizen, The Chat Center team wishes you a productive and efficient day!