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Prioritising work with the Eisenhower Matrix

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Published: 14th February 2020

The Eisenhower Matrix is a great way of prioritising project work for maximum efficiency so here we look at how to get it to work for project managers.

Too often the one thing that you might find missing from your work life is the right amount of prioritisation and organisation in order to complete an over full to-do list. Project management training will help with this but sometimes you need a little more. In practise it seems simple enough – a to-do-list that has been organised carefully should be all that you need, and you might be right, but at the same time this really isn’t the best way to go about organising tasks. By using the Eisenhower Matrix everything could be just that little bit easier.

What is the Eisenhower Matrix?

The Eisenhower Matrix is a useful method that can be used to prioritise your tasks based on how urgent they are. It helps you differentiate between the tasks that are important and those that you shouldn’t even be wasting your attention on. The Matrix is named after Dwight D Eisenhower, the brains behind its invention. Eisenhower is famed for the quote “Most things which are urgent are not important, and most things which are important are not urgent.” And it is this quote that is the basis for his time management tool.

“Most things which are urgent are not important, and most things which are important are not urgent.”

Dwight D Eisenhower

How does it work?

Under the matrix tasks are split into 4 categories depending on what needs doing at any given time during the working day. These are:

  1. Do – These are the most important tasks those that you need to do immediately. They might have an approaching deadline, or they may simply not be able to be delayed. In order to place a task in this category you must assess all your tasks and prioritise.
  2. Decide – These are the task that you decide are important but are not quite as urgent. This category might include things like follow ups, emails of a professional nature etc. These are the tasks you will need to schedule for another time, but they are things you will need to do and generally they are the type of things that will be in line with your professional growth and personal goals.
  3. Delegate – These are tasks that you feel are not important but are still urgent, that might seem a little odd, but these are tasks that do not really assist with your productivity. Decide whether someone else can do them for you or if you will need to reschedule them for another time. This might include things like team meetings that you actually don’t need to attend and could just as easily be run by someone else.
  4. Eliminate – Any task that falls into this category is something that you would consider a productivity killer. These tasks do not contribute to any of your goals, so it is important to identify these ones and then remove them from your list in order to give yourself more time to do the important tasks that you have already identified in categories 1 and 2.

Now you know more about the Eisenhower method, will you consider using it to help prioritise your work? Or do you have another method that works better for you?

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