How to make an Eisenhower decision matrix

By Andy Sio
July 11, 2017

How to Prioritize Tasks Like President Eisenhower

I bet time to time you’re disappointed with how to organize all your tasks and what to do first, and therefore can’t start getting things done. It’s not something exceptional, as 43% of Americans report they wanna be more organized.

Would you like to replace your tedious to-do lists with something more efficient? Let’s take a look at what President Eisenhower’s time management approach can teach us about that.

Plan your to-do lists quickly with Eisenhower task management method

Dwight Eisenhower was pretty productive. He was a President during the Cold War, created NASA and built the Interstate Highway System. Also, he lead the Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe during the World War II and was a five-star general. Which is to say, he was making high-level decisions and dealing with complicated tasks on a daily basis.

Eisenhower method was simple and minimalistic. He noticed that we often focus on insignificant things or even tasks with no value. Therefore, he categorized tasks as urgent and important.

With Eisenhower decision matrix, you can prioritize tasks fast

Important tasks contribute to a long-term perspective, while urgent tasks require immediate reaction. Moreover, “what is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important,” as people like to quote.

Everyone can adopt Eisenhower task management method with ease.

Eisenhower decision matrix can help you keep your priorities in a corner of an eye

To understand priorities, you can group tasks on a matrix. An Eisenhower decision matrix is all about these 4 quadrants:

You can use simple cards and your notebook to categorize tasks this way. However, you might get even more confused with all those papers. There are efficient tools. For instance, with an Eisenhower matrix app you can assess urgency and importance of each task, and then see them all on a matrix with no additional effort.

How to use Eisenhower decision matrix in project management

Even more importantly, your entire task management can be organized Eisenhower way. Let’s say, you’re going to launch a new app. You have already planned everything, built a roadmap, and are ready to design.

Decide on tasks applying Eisenhower time management. Features to be included in the first release are both urgent and important, and no one can make this decision for you. However, preparing mockups is a task you should delegate to your designer. Although you can order an agency to do marketing for you, you can define core messages and values for a website by yourself, what is not urgent before a website launch but important. Including any additional features to a product before getting customer feedback might be a time waster.

So, having these assumptions in mind, in a few click you can get an elegant and easy-to-use Eisenhower decision matrix. Here’s how it can look in Eisenhower matrix app:

Eisenhower decision matrix in Strategic Quadrant

Clicking on each particular quadrant, you get a heatmap to figure out what tasks are top priorities or need an adjustment.

With Eisenhower task management approach, you organize your activities way better. Instead of long lists you have categorized tasks, seeing what should be done first. Therefore, you don’t need much time for planning each morning and can get rid of a feeling that you forgot something important.

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