The Matrix of Dwight Eisenhower: How to Learn to Manage Time


  • What is the essence of technology?
  • How to apply the technology correctly?
  • How to fix the situation?

Time management (or time management) is a useful skill that allows you not to get lost in an endless stream of current affairs. One of the simplest and most effective methods of self-organization by setting priorities is the Eisenhower matrix.

The founder of the technology is the famous American military and political figure. In the middle of the last century, dedication, efficiency and discipline allowed Colonel Dwight David Eisenhower to assume the presidency of the United States.

What is the essence of technology?

Determined with the priority of existing cases, Eisenhower was guided by two criteria - urgency and importance. To represent the matrix visually, it is necessary to build a coordinate system on a paper sheet. The X-axis will denote the degree of significance of affairs, the Y-axis their urgency. As a result of the construction, four quadrants should be obtained.

In the upper left corner, all urgent but insignificant cases should be recorded. These include tasks in the category of "force majeure". They usually arise suddenly, and their execution does not take much time. At the same time, the implementation of tasks from this quadrant does not bring people closer to achieving global goals. To unimportant urgent cases include: fixing a washing machine, sending a letter, congratulating someone with a birthday.

The quadrant, formed in the upper right corner, is intended for significant tasks that require an early implementation. Such cases, if not done on time, can cause health problems. If such tasks relate to work, on the speed of their implementation depends on the promotion of the career ladder, financial well-being. Examples of urgent important cases: preparing a presentation, defense of a thesis, going to a doctor with acute pain.

In the lower right quadrant, there must be significant tasks that require slow implementation. Despite the fact that such cases are not in a hurry, work on their implementation is necessary systematically. If you do not, after a while they will move from the non-urgent category to the urgent. Experts in time management advise you to enter in this quadrant all activities that enhance the quality of life of a person, as well as promoting self-development. These include: sports training, educational courses, regular medical examinations.

The lower left quadrant is the lot of "amusing" cases. The fulfillment of tasks inscribed in this corner does not bring any practical benefit, but it gives emotional satisfaction. If, however, to succumb to the temptation, focusing on the implementation of classes in this segment, it soon becomes clear that the rest, more important things do not have enough time. In time management, everything that distracts from the fulfillment of basic tasks is usually called chronophags. To "devourers of time" are: watching TV, hanging up in social networks, chatter on the phone.

How to apply the technology correctly?

The Eisenhower Priority Matrix is ​​not only a planning tool, but also a test. Analysis of the filling of each quadrant gives an idea of ​​how rational a person uses time. A large number of tasks in the upper left segment (urgent / unimportant) testifies to the lack of the ability to separate the main from the secondary. In practice, this translates into permanent employment without visible payoff. Time management consultants recommend that such employees pay less attention to short-term problems, short-term goals and other irrelevant trifles.

The Eisenhower matrix with the prevalent number of entries in the upper right quadrant (urgent / important) indicates on the inability of the employee to distribute the load or its inability to adhere to the previous plan. The latter usually occurs when a person does not adequately assess their capabilities. For example, he allocates 2-3 hours for the preparation of the report, but in reality he spends the whole working day. As a result, he has to postpone all the remaining planned tasks for tomorrow. And then unfinished business accumulates like a snowball, and, finally, the moment comes when you have to do everything in haste in the last minute.

Best of all, the task of optimizing time is handled by an employee whose matrix is ​​dominated by the lower right corner (non-urgent / important). The ability to correctly prioritize, plan and adequately calculate the strength allows him to work for the future, that is, not only to be employed, but also to receive dividends from his labors. Employers describe such people as organized, responsible and punctual. A high score in the eyes of the authorities naturally affects career advancement.

The most problems were in the lower left corner? The agenda, filled mostly with non-urgent / unimportant cases, signals that it's time to deal with the "devourers of time". Any inefficient activity is recognized in time-management malicious. A chronophagus can be, for example, a hobby that takes too much time. If the hobby (even very useful) ceases to be a leisure activity, it interferes with the basic form activities, it must be placed in a time frame and strictly monitor compliance with the limit.

How to fix the situation?

If the Eisenhower matrix has identified the problems of planning and prioritization, it is necessary to use other time management tools. For example, it is recommended to practice setting long-term goals, to divide large tasks into small ones, to ruthlessly fight chronophags.

To optimize the time costs, the following practical advice on the Eisenhower matrix will also help:

  • The number of tasks in the "urgent and important" segment needs to be reduced to a minimum - one or two.
  • If there are a lot of unresolved problems, some of the authorities can be delegated to other employees.
  • It is necessary to concentrate attention on the site "it is important and not urgent there must be the most tasks.
  • When scheduling terms for the fulfillment of tasks, it is necessary to adequately estimate the time costs.
  • It is necessary to strive to ensure that the section "not important and not urgent" is empty.

If the cause of inefficiency lies in the chronophags, they should be found and rendered harmless. In this case, such a tool as keeping the timekeeping of the day is useful. An obligatory condition at work and at home is to do one thing at a time. You can not postpone the big tasks for later: they need to be done every day a little. Another valuable ability, which allows long and fruitful work, is the ability to rest.

Weekends can be devoted to hobbies or self-development, for example, to read one of these books:

  • Allen David. How to put things in order. The art of productivity without stress.
  • Archangel Hleb. Time-drive: how to manage to live and work.
  • The genius Anatoly. Highly effective time management for the Eisenhower Matrix.
  • Zayvert Lothar. Your time is in your hands.
  • Leeds Regina. Full order. A weekly plan to combat chaos at work, at home and in the head.
  • Fiore Neil. An easy way to stop putting things off for later.
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