The Eisenhower Decision Matrix is a tool developed by the 34th President of the United States of America, Dwight D Eisenhower. The model gained prominence from the work of Stephen Covey in his book the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Eisenhower’s model is based on the premise of what is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important. According to, urgent is something that is compelling or requiring immediate action or attention. On the other hand, important is something of great significance or consequence.

Therefore, Eisenhower’s decision matrix uses urgency and importance as the framework to classify a task. These are further divided into four groups.

  • Important                                                                                 
  • Less Important  
  • Urgent
  • Less Urgent                                                                   

Quadrant 1 is the tasks that are urgent and important. These are tasks that you have to complete immediately.

Quadrant 2 is the tasks that are not urgent but important. These are tasks that you can plan.

Quadrant 3 is the tasks that are urgent but not important. The model recommends that these tasks can be delegated.

Quadrant 4 is the tasks that are not urgent and not important. These are items that should be completely eliminated.

Sample of the Eisenhower Decision Matrix

Below is an example of the Eisenhower Decision Matrix. Examples are presented below on tasks that a college student may place in each quadrant.

Advantages of the Eisenhower Decision Matrix

  • Provides a useful framework to reflect on the type of task you are doing
  • Ensures that tasks are classified using a simple but effective time management system. Eisenhower’s decision matrix could be used in
  • Plan more effectively in areas that can have massive impact such as the tasks that are placed in quadrant 2.

Drawbacks of the Eisenhower Decision Matrix

Depending on if you are a student or even on your job, you may not have the opportunity to delegate. However despite this drawback, being aware of tasks that are not important but urgent can help you see how you can reduce the time spent on these items.

As an example, if you are a student and you need to pay bills, can you automate the payment instead of going to the companies every month could be a way that you can delegate a task.

If you enjoyed this article you may also like the article The Ivy Lee Method- How To Become More Productive At Work. Feel free to click the previous link to read this post on this blog.

Final Thoughts

The Eisenhower decision matrix is a useful framework to effectively prioritise task. Hope you found the explanation helpful and actionable.

How to prioritise urgent and important task using the Eisenhower Decision Matrix

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