As an officer in the U.S. Air Force, I had to be extremely organized.
Straight out of officer training, they put me in charge of a section with 4 units and 23 people.
Within a year I was in charge of another section with 32 people.
Fortunately, I had a mentor teach me about the Eisenhower Matrix. among other things. For many, it’s a Godsend to help sort out where to focus and what to do.
What is the Eisenhower Matrix/Box?
The Eisenhower Matrix or Box, also called the Urgent-Important Matrix, helps you prioritize and decide what to do based on urgency and importance.
Time Management Tips for the Eisenhower Matrix
Why is it called the Eisenhower Matrix?
Dwight David Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States from 1953 until 1961. Before being President, he was a general in the United States Army. During World War II, Eisenhower was the Allied Forces Supreme Commander. He also later served as NATO’s first supreme commander.
Eisenhower faced a barrage of tough decisions about what to focus on each day. This finally guided him to create the famous time management tool that is now his namesake. Today many people use his concepts to prioritize tasks by urgency and importance.
Related: Time Management
How to use the Eisenhower Matrix?
Prioritizing tasks by urgency and importance creates 4 quadrants with different work strategies:
Quadrant One: Do It Now.
Complete tasks in the first quadrant before others. The tasks are essential for your life and career and need to be done today or tomorrow at the latest. You could block the first few hours each day to completely concentrate while trying to get as much done as possible.
An example of this type of task could be to prepare a crucial presentation for a potential client.
Another example would be a competitive job bid for a contract to build a multimillion-dollar project with an imminent deadline.
Quadrant Two: Schedule It.
Schedule tasks that fall into the second quadrant. Its tasks are essential but less urgent—list tasks you need to put in your calendar here.
An example of that could be your input for a quarterly report that’s due in a few weeks.
Quadrant Three: Delegate It.
Delegate urgent but less critical tasks in the third quadrant. You should make a note to follow up on delegated tasks to check on their progress later.
An illustration of a delegated task could be someone calling you to ask for a pressing favor that you step into a meeting right now. You could delegate this by suggesting someone better suited for the job. Or you might give the caller the essential details to have him deal with the issue himself.
Quadrant Four: Delete It.
The fourth and final quadrant is delete. It’s there to help you get rid of the things you don’t need to do.
Continuously evaluate and try to improve your productivity.
Uncover and stop destructive habits, like mindlessly surfing the internet or gaming too long. These distract you from dealing with challenging tasks in the 1st and 2nd quadrant.
More Tips to Manage Your Activity Like a Wizard
Your time is your most valuable resource. There is no market to purchase it. So, what you do at a given moment uses a piece of time that you can never recover.
There Are 168 Total Hours in a Week and 67 Free Hours
This first tip is about adjusting your mindset to understand the value of time and making the best decisions about what you do at a given moment. Consider that there are 168 hours in a week. The calculations are in the box if you are interested. The calculations are based on working 8 hours, sleeping 8 hours, and commuting 1 hour on workdays.
The 67 Hours of Free Time You Have is 1.5 Times More Than Your Work Time.
The bottom line is that there are about 67 hours a week out of 168 that you can use as you please.
If you only spend 20 percent of these golden hours improving yourself, your business, and your career, that leaves 80 percent for leisure and personal obligations.
In my opinion, consistently using time for self improvement is the difference between massively successful people and those who struggle in mediocrity.
You Have More Time Than You Think
Work, Commute, and Sleep Time Are a Total of 101 Hours Per Week.
If you work and commute for 45 hours (5 days X 9 hours) and sleep for 56 hours (7 days X 8 hours), then work, commute, and sleep total 101 hours.
You Have 67 Hours to Use as You Please Every Week
Now 168 – 101 leaves 67 hours that you decide how to use or waste.
That is 7 hours of free time/day on workdays (35 hours) and 32 hours on the weekend (16+16).
Manage your actions wisely and make yourself better with the 67 golden hours.
In his great work “Lead the Field,” Earl Nightingale describes the goldmine everyone has available. His goldmine is ideas.
Nightingale encourages you to spend 1 hour each day to think.
A key benefit of this is that it establishes your mindset and propels you to think all day long.
Apply time management practices to your business and personal life by planning ahead and managing your daily activities to be more effective and efficient.
Download this FREE PDF copy of an Eisenhower Matrix and use it to plan your work. You’re free to make as many copies as you like.
I hope you have great success and happiness in life!