The Eisenhower Matrix - The Urgent and the Important

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"The urgent problems are seldom the important ones." - Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The Eisenhower Matrix

Eisenhower was a busy man. In order to planify his time in a more rigid manner, he distinguished "important" tasks from "urgent" ones.

When we talk about "important" things, we often confuse them with urgent things. As a general rue:

  • Important things are important, regardless of when they are done. They absolutely need to be done, however.
  • Urgent things need to be done in a delay that is rather short.

So tasks can be urgent and important at the same time, or one of them, or neither of them. If important things are delayed long enough, they can eventually urgent, too.

Urgency and Importance are actually 2 dimensions of tasks. You can classify tasks in one of the 4 quadrants:

High
I
M
P
O
R
T
A
N
C
E


Q1 - Potentially crisis management

Driven by deadline and never making real progress



(CAN RESULT IN STRESS)

Q2 - Relationship building and making time to plan and prevent crises



(THE RIGHT VISION / STEWARDSHIP)

Low
I
M
P
O
R
T
A
N
C
E
Q3 - Generally reactive


(SHORT TERM FOCUS)

Q4 - More time concerned with wasting time and trivial things


(IRRESPONSIBILITY)

Very URGENT Not URGENT

If you classified all your today's (this month's) tasks in this matrix, where would the most of them be? The bottom of the quadrant gives you a clue what this lifestyle could result in if you continue like this.