Increase your team’s productivity with the Eisenhower Matrix – WAU
How to define the degree of importance and urgency of pending tasks? The Eisenhower Matrix is an effective tool for anyone looking to increase productivity in this regard, directing the focus to what really deserves attention in your company.
Matrix-shaped business tools are nothing new. The SWOT analysis, or F.O.F.A. Matrix, for example, is essential for strategic planning and development of new projects. But, if you and your team deal with many tasks and need a method that helps to prioritize tasks, Eisenhower Matrix may be the solution.
With it, you will realize how it is possible to achieve better time management and increase productivity with a clearer vision of what needs to be done. All ready? Come on!
What is the Eisenhower Matrix?
The Eisenhower Matrix is attributed to Dwight Eisenhower, who was a general in the American army before becoming president of the United States between 1953 and 1961. Also known as Time Management Matrix, it consists of 4 quadrants, in which we must distribute our pending tasks, according to the following categories:
- important and urgent;
- important and not urgent;
- not important and urgent;
- not important and not urgent.
Before explaining how to fit tasks into each of these categories, it is worth clarifying the difference between what is important and what is urgent.
- important tasks: are those whose results directly impact the goals that you need to fulfill and purposes that you want to achieve;
- urgent tasks: usually have a set deadline and require immediate attention. If they are not given due attention as soon as possible, there may be undesirable consequences.
Quadrant 1: important and urgent
In the first quadrant, are the most crucial tasks for your job. They are given the highest priority, have a deadline to be met and must be completed as soon as possible. The motto here is: do!
Quadrant 2: important and not urgent
In the second quadrant, we place the tasks related to your goals, but which do not have a well-defined completion date. The ideal here is to plan, scheduling time to devote to them, as long as you have already completed the tasks in the first quadrant.
Quadrant 3: not important and urgent
Sometimes, we give more importance than we should to some attributions, when, in fact, they only have a certain urgency. The phone is a great example: when it rings, it is expected that we will answer it, but that does not mean that the call will always be important.
Therefore, there is a need for greater reflection on activities that should be in this quadrant. The best thing to do is delegate them to someone else or only touch them if you have no more tasks in the previous quadrants.
Quadrant 4: not important and not urgent
Perception about tasks that are neither important nor urgent will vary from professional to professional, but if they fall into that quadrant, they should be left for later or simply, deleted.
What are the benefits of the tool?
Once we understand better what the Eisenhower Matrix consists of, let’s see the 3 main benefits it brings to your routine.
1. Know where to start
When we have a lot of tasks accumulated, it can be tricky to choose where to start. Some prefer to start with the simplest, the most complex, or even decide at random. With the Eisenhower Matrix, we have more objective criteria it’s an order to fulfill the assignments.
2. Reduce anxiety
Increasing the stack of tasks is a source of stress and anxiety, especially as we realize that we are not doing enough to do everything we should – or that we think we should.
With a visual tool, it’s easier make decisions regarding their pending issues – do now, plan, delegate or eliminate -, in addition to having a more realistic picture of the workload that still needs to be done. This will certainly help to relieve your emotional.
3. Focus on what really matters
We may be tempted to do things the moment they appear, but this ends up resulting in wasted time and lost productivity. The moment you are paying attention to something that is not important, you could be engaging in activities that are more meaningful to you and your company.
So give special focus to the tasks in the first and second quadrants – the important tasks – and see how your hours of work will yield more.
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How to get the most out of the Eisenhower Matrix?
Now, check out 5 tips on how to apply this productivity tool in your day to day.
1. Use organization apps
There are several organization applications with which it is possible to implement an Eisenhower Matrix model, such as Evernote, Trello and Asana. The methods can vary, but you can create a list with absolutely everything you have to do, another 4 corresponding to each quadrant, and one more with the tasks completed.
So, the idea is to transfer your tasks from the first list to the appropriate “quadrant” and then drag the tasks to the last list as they are finished.
2. Focus on quadrant 2
Stephen Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, defends in his bestseller that some people are so busy with tasks in quadrant 1 that they never have time for others.
It must be remembered that, although items in quadrant 2 are not urgent, they are still important and have to do with your long-term goals.
So be careful not to spend all your time taking care of what is important and urgent. Always try to plan to also take care of what does not need immediate action, but which is still important.
3. Update the matrix constantly
Before starting your workday, it is important to know what will need to be done in the next few hours. This will be crucial to maintain your focus. So, every morning or at the end of the day, be sure to check all the quadrants in the matrix and, in each one, organize tasks in order of priority.
4. Think more about achievement than enumeration
During this daily planning, be careful not to overdo the amount of tasks in each quadrant. Focus more on what you are able to accomplish and not on listing as many obligations as possible.
Around 7 or 8 items in each classification should be enough. If you overload the quadrants, you probably won’t have time to do, plan, delegate, and eliminate all the chores. The result? He will end the day in frustration at not having finished what he intended.
5. Fight procrastination
More than visualizing the tasks you need to accomplish, it is essential to monitor your ability to perform. Keep a separate control (a spreadsheet, for example) with a record of what you finished each day and indication of the quadrant of origin.
Thus, you identify which quadrant you are spending the most time on and you can even see if you are procrastinating more than acceptable.
Ready! Now that we have gathered everything we needed to know about the usefulness of the Eisenhower Matrix, how about testing it in your routine? Start as soon as you can and notice how your productivity will change for the better!
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