Massive Productivity with the “Eisenhower Box”
During the past decade I have become an expert in the areas of time management and productivity. This has resulted in my rise as an author, publisher, online marketing strategist, and entrepreneur in a manner and within a time span few have been able to accomplish. I attribute much of my success here to massive productivity with the “Eisenhower Box.” This concept was developed by the 34th President of the United States, Dwight David Eisenhower. He was in office from 1953 until 1961 and I was born during his first term in office.
You may be more familiar with this concept if I refer to it as the “Eisenhower Matrix” or more simply as the “Decision Matrix.” Author and thought leader James Clear wrote about this in a post entitled “How to be More Productive and Eliminate Time Wasting Activities by Using the “Eisenhower Box”” and here is what he says to describe this in a way we can all understand and learn from:
Eisenhower’s strategy for taking action and organizing your tasks is simple. Using the decision matrix below, you will separate your actions based on four possibilities.
- Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
- Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
- Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
- Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).
The great thing about this matrix is that it can be used for broad productivity plans (“How should I spend my time each week?”) and for smaller, daily plans (“What should I do today?”).
Clear goes on further to give an example of what his day looks like to ensure massive productivity with the “Eisenhower Box.” I will do the same and describe my day here:
Urgent and important: writing and publishing this article to my blog; emailing my list
Important, but not urgent: working on a new book; calling friends; composing a letter
Urgent, but not important: confirming airline and hotel reservations for next week’s trip
Neither urgent nor important: watching a show I recorded; reading a magazine article
With my #1 tasks, I will complete them during the next hour.
For #2, I will schedule them for the next two days.
#3 can easily be delegated to someone else.
I most likely will forget about these activities.
If you begin thinking of each day in terms of achieving massive productivity with the “Eisenhower Box” it almost becomes a game to see just how much you can accomplish.
In my work with entrepreneurs and corporate clients I find that #3 – urgent, but not important becomes the toughest one to manage and delegate. Smart, goal oriented people tend to want to do everything themselves and honestly believe no one else can do things the way they would do them. While this is accurate thinking to some degree, I remind them of the many things they outsource and delegate more naturally, such as cutting their hair, maintaining their automobile, and doing yard work. It is only when their thinking around achieving their goals shifts that they are then able to let go of these and focus on the urgent and important tasks each day. I’ll leave you with the direct quote from the man himself:
“What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important.”
~ Dwight D. Eisenhower
I’m author and marketing strategist Connie Ragen Green. Please take a look at all of my published books here. Be sure to leave a comment on this post and to join my community by including your first name and primary email address at the top of the right-hand column of this blog. I want to connect with you and see what we may achieve together!