The Eisenhower Matrix: Effective Time Management for Everybody


“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.‚Äù

Ok so, I’ve come across this great gem of a time management hack that is really helping me to my act together and my work organized.

This little gem is something that Dwight D. Eisenhower came up with while still a general and then relied on heavily while president. DDE was well known for his organizational skills and his ability to prioritize tasks, issues, problems or whatever needed to get done and then get them done.

Now, legend has it that he kept this “secret formula”for organizing priorities on a napkin. While I really can’t vouch for this, it sounds really good on paper, so I’m sticking to it!

So what makes this such a good system?

Well, first it’s extremely easy to use and second, it’s based on the following two questions, which when you begin to use them, they open up entirely new possibilities:

  • Is the task important?
  • Is it urgent?

So, once you have the answer to these two seemingly simple questions, you can classify the task into one of the following 4 divisions (quadrants):

1. Important/Urgent quadrants are done immediately and personally (e.g., crises, deadlines, problems)

2. Important/Not Urgent quadrants get an end date and are done personally (e.g.,. relationships, planning, recreation)

3. Unimportant/Urgent quadrants are delegated (e.g., interruptions, meetings, activities)

4. Unimportant/Not Urgent quadrants are dropped (e.g., time wasters, pleasant activities, trivia)

Right, let’s take a look how this actually works in practice.


If we take a look at the image, we get a clear view of the different quadrants.


First, is the YES – YES box. These are the things that need to get done immediately and personally. Get to work on them now!

Second, is the YES ‚Äì NO box. You’ve got to get these scheduled and on the books or they will become urgent.

Third is the NO – YES box. If you can delegate these, do it. Hire someone to do it or whatever but get them off your plate.

Fourth is the NO – NO box. Do I really need to explain this one??? Stop checking facebook for the love of God!

There you have it. That’s the Eisenhower Matrix. The great thing about this is that we have everything neatly organized and available to show us the way to organized and productive nirvana!

All that is fine and dandy but how do you get the YES – YES tasks done anyway?

Use effective time management by working in blocks of uninterrupted time. One technique that I use is the Pomodoro Technique and believe me, if your serious about getting things done, you’ll be amazed at how good it works.

Check out The pomodoro technique to get help you really get blast your productivity and get you working in blocks of uninterrupted time.

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About Eduardo Arellano

Eduardo es Coach Personal/Profesional y Formador con más de 14 añs de experiencia. Nacido y criado en Chicago, en la actualidad Eduardo reside en España donde ha desarrollado sus métodos actuales de formación. Eduardo posee un MBA de la Universidad de Nebrija y un Master en Comercio Internacional de la EOI además del título de Formador de Formadores y varias certificaciones y cualificaciones. Eduardo está muy solicitado tanto en España como en el resto del mundo, colabora con sus clientes para guiarlos en cómo realizar cambios personales o profesionales consiguiendo con rapidez que alcancen objetivos que nunca creyeron posibles. Sus métodos y técnicas permiten estimular el auto-conocimiento, ya sea con un pequeñ cambio en su forma de pensar o con un gran cambio en su carrera profesional o vida personal. Eduardo sirve de guía para conseguir el éxito.
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1 Response to The Eisenhower Matrix: Effective Time Management for Everybody

  1. Konstantin Bredyuk says:

    Nice article! BTW, there is a possibility to utilize Eisenhower Matrix principle in Microsoft Outlook:

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