The Eisenhower Rule for Clearing Your To-Do List

When it comes to people who were absolute masters of productivity, it doesn’t get much more exemplary than Eisenhower. He wasn’t just the United States president from 1953-1961. He was also a decorated Army general, a master strategist, and a model of perseverance who consistently accomplished amazing things with his life both in and out of the White House.

Although Eisenhower was definitely an exceptional man, being exceptional isn’t what made him so successful. He had the same 24 hours to work with every day that we all have, but he also knew how to prioritize like a boss, and it’s something anyone can learn to do.

Here’s how you too can be like Ike and get things done using the Eisenhower Matrix.

Putting the Eisenhower Matrix into Effect

The Eisenhower Matrix works by helping you sort the tasks on your to-do list into four different categories. They are as follows.

  • Urgent and Important: These are tasks that are not only of the utmost importance, but also need to be tackled ASAP. Examples include customer service-related tasks, tech-related issues that directly affect company or team productivity, direct requests from superiors, and anything related to legal compliance. 
  • Important and Not Urgent: These tasks definitely need to get done, but they’re not so pressing that they need to be done right now. Examples can and should include improvements to your company website, brainstorming new products, and weekly tasks that help you progress toward your long-term goals.
  • Urgent and Not Important: Sometimes an issue or opportunity arises that definitely should be taken care of in a timely manner, but doesn’t necessarily qualify as important. Examples can include tasks that are essential but repetitive, as well as requests from your colleagues and team members. If possible, theses are great tasks to delegate.
  • Not Urgent and Not Important: It’s not that these tasks don’t have merit. It’s just that they consume time and other resources you can’t afford to spare right now. Some of these can be saved for slow days or downtime, but others can likely be deleted from your list altogether. Think hashtag research and non-critical updates to your website!

At the end of the day, productivity isn’t necessarily about superhuman ability. It is about excellent time management paired with savviness in regards to prioritization. Put the Eisenhower Matrix to work for you, and stop wasting your energy, resources, and time on the wrong things. You’ll definitely notice a difference in how much seems to get done. 


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