Simplify Time and Task Management with the Eisenhower Matrix

Many people waste time on tasks that don’t move them closer to their goals. This simple decision-making tool changes that.

What is the Eisenhower Matrix?

The Eisenhower Matrix, also known as Eisenhower Box or the Urgent-Important Matrix, was popularized by Stephen Covey in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly-Effective People. It was named after the 34th President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was known for his incredible ability to sustain productivity. Eisenhower Matrix is a simple decision-making tool that helps you make the distinction between tasks that are important, not important, urgent, and not urgent.

Eisenhower Matrix

What’s the difference?

  • Urgent: time-sensitive and demands your attention.
  • Important: contributes to your long-term goals or values, but are not time-sensitive.

“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” -Dwight Eisenhower

How to use this decision matrix?

Each quadrant corresponds to tasks that combine two of the identifiers — urgent and important.

  • Not urgent, but important: tasks that contribute to your goals but can be scheduled for later.. or procrastinated on.
  • Urgent, but not important: tasks that need to get done but can be delegated to someone else to complete.
  • Not urgent and not important: tasks that can distract you from your goals, and don’t add value.

How I use it

I’ve mentioned this in a previous post on time management practices: One of the first things I do is to finish tasks that take less than 10 minutes.

Sample activities using the Eisenhower Matrix


Often, people use productivity and time management as an excuse instead of deciding if a task should really be done. After all, it’s much easier to keep busy and tell yourself that you just have too much tasks on your plate, than actually addressing it by separating tasks into actionable steps like the Eisenhower Matrix.

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