What is Eisenhower Box or Urgent Important Matrix?

Before knowing what is Eisenhower Box? We should know why first.

In our day to day life we have many activities to do daily or weekly. Sometimes we have a long list of pending items and it becomes tough to identify which activity needs to be done first and which should postponed. In results: far behind of deadlines, stress, productivity loss. So, this is why Eisenhower Box Method can be used.

Eisenhower Box Method helps, to decide which task need to do first and which can be postponed. Additionally, it help to eliminate those tasks are not required to do in terms of productivity etc.

What is Eisenhower Box?

Eisenhower box or decision matrix is a strategy helps to manage the tasks based on urgency and importance. So, sometimes, it’s called Urgent Important Matrix or Quadrant. On the basis of urgency and importance, tasks will be divided in four quadrants. Let’s go through those in details:
  • 1st Quadrant: Urgent and Important (DO NOW - Do it now).
  • 2nd Quadrant: Not Urgent But Important (SCHEDULE - Decide a time to do).
  • 3rd Quadrant: Urgent But Not important (DELEGATE - Find someone to do it for you).
  • 4th Quadrant: Neither Urgent Nor Important (ELIMINATE - Don't do it).

1st Quadrant - Do First

This is urgent and important quadrant, so you keep all those tasks in this box which you thing are important for your career, growth or productivity and that needs to be done today or as soon as possible. So, put only those tasks in this box, which are important but cannot be postponed.

So, if I take an example of software developers, so the following tasks could be urgent and important and to put in this quadrant:

  1. Reply to Client’s Email
  2. Sprint Planning or Review meeting
  3. Critical & Show-stopper Bug Fixing

2nd Quadrant - Schedule

This is Not Urgent, But Important quadrant. Put those tasks in this quadrant, which are important for you but can be postponed. So, ask a question to yourself, is this task can be postponed for tomorrow or some other time? If answer is “Yes”, then put it in this quadrant.

So, schedule a time to do these tasks and when time comes then you can move that to the first quadrant as per the urgency and importance.

So, task examples to keep in this quadrant can be:

  1. New Feature Development
  2. Low Priority Bugs

3rd Quadrant - Delegate

This is Urgent, But Not Important Quadrant, so, all those tasks which need to be done urgently but not having so much importance that you need to do this yourself then put those tasks in this quadrant.

As the name says, these tasks should not be done by yourself, instead delegate it to someone else. So, find someone to whom you can assign these tasks. But you should always keep track of the task’s progress.

So, examples for this category tasks:

  1. Check Emails
  2. Follow-up Customers

4th Quadrant - Eliminate

The tasks which are Neither Urgent Nor Important, should be kept in this quadrant. As it names, “Eliminate” these tasks are not required to do as they are time-wasting nature or not beneficial for you in one way or these are not under the direct responsibility of one person.

These activities are useless for you productivity, but as these are social and fun activities, so can be used in downtime or break just to re-energize yourself but not procrastinate.

Few examples of such tasks:

  1. Check social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube etc.)
  2. Play Games on mobile etc.

Check our Free Web Tool based on Eisenhower Box

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