Sunday, April 26, 2020

Eisenhower Matrix

In my quest to be better organized in life, I read a lot of "self-help" stuff online and offline. Most of it I read and forget (cause it ain't that impressive). Something that has stayed in my mind for a while now is the concept of an Eisenhower matrix. I wanted to write about this in my previous post but was worried about making it too long. So here it is!

This matrix was apparently invented by Eisenhower (the US President) and it expects you to classify all your activities into 4 quadrants:

Eisenhower Matrix (also attributed to Stephen Covey)

  1. Do First - Urgent and Important - Things that are urgent and important have to be done first (I think we all understand this - so I have nothing much to add). The only thing we need to be careful about is - not all items on your list are both urgent and important. What may seem urgent may not really be (e.g. A customer email asking for something). And what may seem important (for e.g. because it came from your boss) - may not be that important.
  2. Plan or Schedule - Not-urgent but Important - This is the most tricky quadrant. We (or rather me!) procrastinate a lot in this quadrant. Learning that new thing (programming language/ skill/ musical instrument etc.) taking care of your health, talking to your family members etc. is important. But since it is not urgent, it gets postponed (forever). If you don't schedule time for it, it never happens.
  3. Delegate - Urgent but Not-Important - This quadrant consists of a lot of chores that are urgent, but can be delegated to others to do it (For e.g. you can schedule your bank to automatically pay your bills, credit cards, renew your policies etc. These are all tasks that are urgent, but can easily be delegated).
  4. Eliminate or Don't do - Not-urgent and Not-important - This is easier said than done. But a lot of things (social media?, status meetings, weekly catch-ups and the list goes on) are neither important nor urgent. There are more efficient ways of doing those things and it is best to learn to say no! I struggle a lot at this.
So next time you go on a retreat or take a break to ruminate, spend some time to think about all those things that are in your Quadrant 2 (Not-urgent but Important). What you start working on today will help you sometime down the line! It's best you think about them now and schedule them!

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