Eisenhower Matrix: Prioritizing your to-do list

Imagine your boss asked you to work on a presentation with a close deadline while you are working on other projects. Suddenly you find yourself overwhelmed with multiple tasks and deadlines and don’t know where and how to start. A way to decide on the tasks that you have to do first is by using the Eisenhower box (urgent-important matrix). This matrix divides your tasks into urgent/not urgent and important/not important which will give you a view on what task to be done and when it needs to be done. The matrix is divided to four quadrants as follows:

Quadrant 1: Urgent + Important = Do It immediately

Quadrant 2: Not urgent + Important = Decide when to do it

Quadrant 3: Urgent + Not important = Delegate

Quadrant 4: Not urgent + Not important = Do it later or Delete

After listing all your tasks and setting them in the matrix, you would usually focus strongly on tasks in Quadrant 1 that have to be dealt immediately. Then ask yourself: when will I deal with the things in Quadrant 2? When will I take the time to deal with important tasks before they become urgent? This is the field for strategic, long-term decisions.


Below is the cheat sheet of how to decide on your tasks.



By this matrix you get to prioritize your activities and set time for each one.

And as the author Stephen Covey said, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

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