Eisenhower Matrix

Some people couldn’t manage their time effectively. I have a colleague who always thinks all his activities are necessary and should be finished immediately whatever it takes. Hence he spends all day to work accomplishing his missions. It makes him work really ‘hard’. Most of the times, he spends a lot of time in the office to do the unnecessary things through unsystematic ways. Yes, he is lucky enough having time and unlimited resources a.k.a ‘tortured subordinates’ to finish all the activities. But how if there’s no time? How if his subordinates just give up? How if he only has limited time and resources to do the endless works? Maybe just like what Arkarna sing, So little time so much to do.

In case acting as a leader, you have to be more aware about prioritisation. When you are appointed as a leader who maybe has many subordinates who actually have their own life, you should manage your activities, your work and your target effectively. The appropriate time management could bring you more happiness, more health, more balancing life (between work and family),  and more wealth as you’re promoted to the higher level due to your efficiency in operational cost usage.

There are various methods for performing good time management. But, I have one I like the most. It’s very simple but its impact is amazing. It was developed by General Dwight D. Eisenhower. He raised issue of Importance and Urgency of a task through a matrix which is named Eisenhower Matrix. “Is the task important? Is it urgent?” Those are the fundamental perspectives for performing this matrix. Importance is related to how influential is the task’s impact for your achievement and urgency is related to how much time is available to perform the task.

How to perform this method? First, list all your activities and projects. Secondly, you might use rating scale or Likert scale to rank the importance of each activity as well as the urgency for each activity or project. After ranking phrase, just evaluate once again to ensure you put the right ranking for each activities. Finally, put the ranked activities into the matrix.

Eisenhower Matrix
Eisenhower Matrix

There are four quadrants in Eisenhower Matrix:
Quadrant 1 – Important & Urgent
The activities in this quadrant all are important and really need immediate response to solve it. No time for procrastination in this quadrant. When you get an important and urgent task, Do It Immediately!

Quadrant 2 –  Important but Not Urgent
The activities in this quadrant maybe have big impact for your life achievement, but you still have plenty of time to cope with these. When you get an important but not urgent task, Plan When You Will Do It!

Quadrant 3 – Not Important but Urgent
The activities in this quadrant actually don’t bother you achievement but need solution as soon as possible. If you really have extra time to accomplish this task, so do it! But, if you still do the quadrant-1 task which means you don’t have enough time for this quadrant task, Delegate It To Somebody!

Quadrant 4 – Not Important & Not Urgent
If you really have super extra time and you have finished all your activities in previous quadrants, yes you might to do this quadrants’ activity. If you still do one or more activity in previous quadrants, never spend your time accomplishing activity or project in this quadrant. Do It Later!

Remember, the activities in each quadrant aren’t static. They are very flexible depending on the circumstances. An activity in quadrant-2 is very possible moving to quadrant-1 when your initial plan to do it still doesn’t come while the time is running out. An activity in quadrant 2 is also possible to ‘downgrade’ to quadrant 4 because your life target was changed. So, what was important for you isn’t important any more. Make sure you always update your matrix based on your time and life goals.

Some people just mess up in implementing this matrix. They know this matrix, they know how this matrix works, but they still somehow prefer completing quadrant-2 or quadrant-3 activities rather than the quadrant-1 activities. The reason they did that is because the quadrant-2 or quadrant-3 activities are easier than the important and the urgent one. How fantastic a method, how great a strategy, when there’s no determination and dedication to finish it, it will be useless! This matrix is very easy to use and to implement. Whoever you are, whatever you are, whenever you are, wherever you are; if you want to be a winner, start managing your time effective! and this matrix could be one of the available answer.

Krogerus, M. & Tschäppeler, R. (2008). The Decision Book: Fifty models for strategic thinking. London: Profile Books

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