Get ahead with the Eisenhower Matrix

What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.
— Dwight D. Eisenhower

There’s many tips and tricks out there. By far one of the best tools that I have ever encountered is the Eisenhower Matrix.

It’s a simple 2×2 matrix with ‘importance’ and ‘urgent’ on both axis. The thing is, tasks take on a different meaning when assigned combined high or low importance and urgency.

Example: Someone messaging you on twitter to ‘meet and pick your brain’ is urgent according to the notifcations, but not important. You know that person will waste your time (and theirs). This is not important, but urgent.

Opposite example: You’ve always wanted to start your own business but never get around to it because there’s so much other stuff that needs to be done all the time. (Important, not urgent)

  1. Urgent, Important – Do

    This is the ‘do now’ cell. Things like an angry customer on the phone, something due today that you haven’t started, or a call from your kids school.

    Sadly, most income-generating tasks fall under this category. The goal is to eliminate income-generating tasks from this category and creating them in the next.

  2. Not Urgent, Important – Schedule

    This is your big money cell. It should be the most guarded, and the fullest. Things in life that are not urgent tend to be the most important. Things like learning, building, or networking.

    This is also the ‘full life’ category: health, family, friends, exploring, etc. The more life spent in this category, the better.

  3. Urgent, Not Important – Delegate

    Notifications on your phone, most emails, and ‘shiny activities’. These are distractions masked as important. This is where most people waste their time, and their lives. The thing is, most people confuse urgent for important, when the opposite is true: most things that are urgent are not important (in the modern age). This was the opposite 200 years ago.

  4. Not Urgent, Not Important – Delete

    This is the quicksand category. If you touch anything there, it’ll pull you in. Best to keep your distance. If you find yourself already in, then you have to cut yourself out, and ruthlessly stay out. This will offend some family and friends, but that’s ok.

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