When it comes to running your business or leading your people, efficiently managing your time will propel you forward and help you achieve ultimate success.
A lot of people will spend time completing to-do lists or emptying their email inboxes, and at the end of the day they may feel accomplished. However, while tasks may be getting completed, it does not mean that they are any closer to reaching their goals. Rather, having a strategic time management plan in place will help to narrow focus and attention on the most important things.
The Eisenhower Matrix is one of the simplest, most effective ways to manage time by categorizing each task by urgency and importance. This matrix is a great tool for helping to prioritize our time and focus our time, energy, and attention on the things that matter most.
The Eisenhower Matrix consists of four quadrants – the first and second quadrants are the most important and require ample focus and attention, whereas the third and fourth quadrants are less important and should not take up any of your time.
Quadrant 1: Urgent and Important
This is where your most time sensitive tasks live; these are things that need your immediate attention and need to be completed right now. These tasks might include submitting an offer for your client, responding to urgent emails or calls (not ALL emails, just urgent ones), or picking up your sick kid from school.
Quadrant 2: Important, not Urgent
Everything in this quadrant is important but does not need your immediate attention. These things should be planned for and added to your calendar. This might include lead generating for new business, attending a networking event, conducting weekly meetings, or exercising.
Quadrant 3: Urgent, not Important
This quadrant is for those things that are urgent, but not so important that they require YOUR time and attention; these things can be delegated. For instance, opening mail, updating the company website, posting a blog, or meal prepping would all fall under this category.
Quadrant 4: Not Important, Not Urgent
The things that fall into this quadrant are essentially ‘time wasters’ and do not serve you, your business, or your goals in any capacity; you should not spend any time, energy, or attention on these items. Checking Facebook or Instagram, watching TV, or binge eating junk food would all be placed in this quadrant.
The goal is to learn and understand this matrix, and then spend time working (only) in the first two quadrants.