Eisenhower Matrix

What is Eisenhower Matrix ?

The Eisenhower Matrix is a productivity, prioritizing, and time-management paradigm that allows you to prioritize a list of activities or agenda items by first classifying them according to their urgency and significance. This strategy, also known as an Eisenhower Decision Matrix, Eisenhower Box, or Urgent-Important Matrix, entails creating a four-box square with an x-axis labeled Urgent and Not Urgent and a y-axis labeled Important and Not Important. Then, sort the things on your list into one of four categories, with the Urgent-and-Important box in the top left demanding urgent attention.

What’s the History of the Eisenhower Matrix?

The Eisenhower Matrix is named after Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, who served from 1953 to 1961. Eisenhower had a distinguished military career before being elected President. He fought in World War I and afterwards produced a handbook to the war’s battlefields. He also served in France, Washington, the Philippines, and the Pacific Theater of World War II. The Army Chief commended Eisenhower for his participation in preparing military exercises involving over 50,000 soldiers. He rose through the ranks due to his amazing knowledge, excellent organisation, and social abilities, which allowed him to get along with people and mediate relationships. 3 Both the Democratic and Republican parties wanted Eisenhower to represent them because of this skill. He left the military after 37 years of duty to run for President of the Republican Party, with Richard Nixon as his running mate.

Eisenhower was a highly busy guy with a lot on his plate. He was very competent and managed his many tasks with elegance, grace, and efficiency. Following his presidency, Eisenhower made a speech at the Second Assembly of the World Council of Churches, a Christian fellowship. In his address, he referenced J. Roscoe Miller, Northwestern University’s 12th president, who remarked, “The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” Eisenhower recognised the need of smart and efficient time management and wanted to assist folks in navigating their priorities. Inspired by Miller, Eisenhower said that in order to succeed, one must accomplish things that are both urgent and important: therefore, the Eisenhower Matrix was established.

Eisenhower Matrix Template: and Explain it

A big to-do list might be intimidating, but the Eisenhower Matrix is designed to go through these activities one by one and split them into quadrants. You’ll be able to plan and complete your most critical jobs once you can view your tasks in their appropriate categories.

Quadrant 1 – Do

The first quadrant is the “do” quadrant, and here is where you’ll put any jobs that are both urgent and significant. Place an item on your to-do list in this quadrant if it is urgent, has obvious implications, and impacts your long-term objectives.

There should be little doubt about which chores fit into this quadrant, since these are the things that are most likely on your mind and are causing you the greatest stress.

Quadrant 2 – Schedule

Quadrant two is the “schedule” quadrant, where you’ll put any chores that aren’t urgent but nonetheless essential. You may plan some chores for later since they influence your long-term objectives but do not need to be completed right now. These activities will be completed immediately after the completion of the tasks in quadrant one.

Quadrant 3 – Delegate

Quadrant three is the “delegate” quadrant, and here is where you’ll put any urgent but unimportant jobs. These chores must be accomplished right now, but they have little bearing on your long-term objectives. You may assign these activities to other members of your team since you don’t have a personal relationship to them and they are unlikely to need your specialised skill set to perform. Delegating responsibilities is one of the most effective strategies to manage your workload and provide opportunities for your team to grow.

Quadrant 4 – Remove

After going through your to-do list and adding things to the first three quadrants, you’ll see that there are a few items left behind. The jobs that were left over were neither urgent nor vital. These trivial, non-urgent distractions are only impeding your progress toward your objectives. Put the remaining things on your to-do list in the fourth quadrant, which is labelled “remove.”

How Do You Use the Eisenhower Matrix?

If you’re thinking that adopting this matrix would miraculously manage your life, think again! However, with a little work, you can get yourself back on track. First and foremost, you must categorise your urgent and vital tasks. You must first establish your priorities and determine your degree of urgency. Your urgent jobs are generally those that have a time limit tied to them. These activities scream “do it now!” and need your undivided attention. Your critical duties, on the other hand, are often long-term and goal-oriented. In general, they do not provide instant outcomes and are more concerned with making better long-term choices. After you’ve classified your urgent and critical jobs, the following steps are required to properly use the Eisenhower matrix for time management:

1. Assign Quadrants Color Codes:

Color code your quadrants to help you immediately comprehend the magnitude of the problem. You may quickly see what has to be done next by designating colours. These colour codes also assist you in prioritising your work so that you may make educated judgments.

The do quadrant, for example, might be coloured red to show the importance of activities.

2. Sort Your Professional and Personal To-Do Lists:

Make distinct matrices for your work and personal responsibilities to prevent conflicting obligations. This will keep you safe from what is ahead and will have a significant impact on how you manage your time. A strategy here is to set out certain times of the day for both types of obligations and see how that works for you.

3. Keep the number of items per quadrant to a minimum:

Adding too many items per quadrant can confuse matters and defeat the goal of utilising the Eisenhower matrix for time management. Limit the amount of activities to 7 or 8 to improve it. That way, you won’t be overwhelmed by the tasks ahead of you.

Eisenhower Matrix Examples

Product Owner – 

Urgent – 

  • Complete user stories are urgently needed by developers.
  • Participate in the daily scrum
  • Obtain approval for a major change request.

Important – 

  • Groom backlog is critical.
  • Set priorities for the upcoming sprint.
  • Provide status and progress updates to stakeholders.


  • Responsibilities for training sales on new features.
  • Produce marketing copy
  • Make/update a test plan
  • User documentation should be updated.

Remove –

  • Manage the performance of individual members of the product development team.
  • Create or modify code
  • Plan and lead scrum meetings.

Limitations of Eisenhower Matrix

  • You only prioritise things based on their urgency and significance. It does not take into consideration the resources, complexity, or amount of labour required for an activity.
  • Short, pressing chores are left behind, even though crossing them off the list increases productivity and momentum;
  • The matrix might be difficult and time-consuming to utilise on a regular basis.
  • When there are too many chores on the grid, it might get daunting, so keep them to 5 each

Relation to the Pareto Principle

According to the Pareto principle, for many outcomes, around 80% of the consequences result from 20% of the causes. In other words, a tiny minority of causes have a disproportionate impact. This notion is crucial to grasp since it may assist you in determining which activities to prioritise in order to have the most effect.

The Pareto principle is extensively employed in business and economics, but the 80/20 rule applies to practically every industry. This is because the 80/20 rule may assist you choose where you should concentrate your efforts to optimise your production.

The Pareto principle argues that 80 percent of consequences occur from 20 percent of activities. If you have work that can be divided into smaller sections, the Pareto principle may help you determine which fraction is the most influential.

Here are a few examples of how to put the tool to use.


Use the 80/20 rule to prioritise the jobs that must be completed throughout the day.

The concept is that accomplishing 20 percent of your whole work list will result in 80 percent of the effect you can produce for that day. So, in order to have the most influence, decide which tasks have the greatest impact on your team and concentrate on them for the day.

To accomplish this, make a list of everything you need to get done that day. Then determine which of those duties has the most effect. Do any of your duties need you to work with other teammates? Are there any responsibilities on your plate that are preventing projects from progressing? These activities may be easy to do, but they may have a significant influence on the rest of the team by enabling the process to continue.

Making a decision:

During the problem-solving process, the Pareto principle may assist you in making the optimal judgments. When there are several reasons to a single issue, the Pareto principle might assist you in prioritising remedies. Here are some examples of how this works:

1- Determine the issues that your team is facing. These are the issues you’re attempting to resolve via this decision-making process.

2 – Determine the root causes of these issues. Find all of the reasons of the issues you’re seeking to tackle using a method like the 5 Whys procedure.

3- Sort your concerns into categories that are related. If any of the causes of the issues you’re seeking to tackle may be grouped together, take advantage of the chance. This might assist you in determining if a single solution can address many concerns.

4- Assign a monetary value to each of these issues based on their business effect. The value might be as basic as a number between 1 and 10, or it can have monetary worth to emphasise its significance.

5- Create a strategy for focusing on the top 20% of issues affecting the firm. The premise is that a single solution may address several issues. Calculate which problems are in the top 20% based on the values you have given to each. Once you’ve identified the major issue, devise a strategy for developing a solution that can provide 80% of the outcomes utilising problem-solving techniques.

Quality assurance:

The Pareto analysis and chart are important tools in the Six Sigma quality control approach.

Using a Pareto chart in the Six Sigma process might help you see your data and choose how to prioritise activities. Six Sigma’s major purpose is to minimise the amount of variance in a process in order to increase productivity. Pareto charts are often used in Six Sigma approach because they allow you to rapidly identify the bulk of variability in a process.

How is the Eisenhower Matrix different from Pomodoro?

The Eisenhower Matrix is a productivity, prioritising, and time-management paradigm that helps you prioritise a list of activities or agenda items by first classifying them based on their urgency and significance.

This strategy, also known as an Eisenhower Decision Matrix, Eisenhower Box, or Urgent-Important Matrix, entails creating a four-box square with an x-axis labelled Urgent and Not Urgent and a y-axis labelled Important and Not Important. Then, sort your list into one of four boxes, with the Urgent-and-Important box in the top left demanding urgent attention.

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management approach that encourages individuals to work with rather than against the time they have. You divide your workday into 25-minute pieces interrupted by five-minute intervals using this strategy. These intervals are known as pomodoros. You take a lengthier rest of around 15 to 20 minutes after roughly four pomodoros.

What is the difference between urgent and important tasks in Eisenhower matrix?

The Eisenhower Matrix is based on the difference between important and urgent jobs.

Urgent jobs are time-sensitive and need your immediate attention. They are chores that you feel bound to do. When you concentrate on urgent chores, you are in a reactive mentality, which may make you feel defensive, hurried, and narrowly focused.

Important duties contribute to the long-term purpose, values, and objectives of your organisation. They may not provide quick effects (making them easy to neglect). Important things are sometimes urgent – but not always. Putting your attention on critical activities puts you in a receptive mindset, which may make you feel calm, reasonable, and open to new ideas.

Essential: If you put off important duties for too long, they might become urgent.

People have a tendency to assume that all urgent jobs are likewise essential, even when they are not. This misconception may be due to our tendency to concentrate on short-term issues and solutions.

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