Best 5 Eisenhower Matrix Tips You Will Read This Year


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.

  • Use the matrix to organize essential tasks in quadrant one and two.
  • Identify and relegate less important and less urgent tasks that you should either delegate or not do at all to quadrant three and four.
Eisenhower Matrix Quadrants

Time Management Tips for the Eisenhower Matrix

  • Continually question what is worth doing. Arranging tasks on a checklist frees your mind, but be sure you constantly question whether you should be doing everything you put on your list.
  • Limit yourself to a maximum of eight tasks per quadrant. Prior to adding another one, finish the most important one first. Finishing tasks is more important than collecting them. 
  • Keep your business and personal items separate. 
  • Don’t let others distract you or define your priorities. Plan your day the night before or in the morning, then work on your essential tasks. And when you finish a task, take some time to enjoy the feeling.
  • Finally, avoid procrastinating too much. Sometimes we put off working by over-managing our to-dos. If you aren’t working on essential items in quadrant 1 or 2, you are probably procrastinating.

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:

Eisenhower Matrix Quadrants

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.

Related: The 1-3-5 Rule for Prioritizing Work.

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.

  • Seven hours a day are available on workdays.
  • Sixteen hours a day are available on the weekends.

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.

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. 

  • Write your primary goal down and then think about ways you can improve upon your work each day. 
  • Most of your ideas won’t help, but you’ll find many that do help you. This isn’t easy to do, but as Nightingale says, it’s your gold mine.

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.

  • Set SMARTER Goals. Following the SMARTER Goal Process will help you have powerful and compelling goals that inspire you to work hard.
  • Design a plan to reach your goals. You can’t possibly do anything significant unless you know and systematically act on what you need to do to achieve your goals.
  • Develop good habits, so you can stay on track and persist in difficult times. (Develop Focus)

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!