Managing the Priorities of an ever-growing to-do list has become an essential skill set for all doers. To address this, Dwight D. Eisenhower created a framework which helped his tenure as the president of the United States. Eisenhower devised the matrix to prioritise tasks across two essential qualities: urgency and importance. He used this method to help him make decisions and prioritise what he had to do. Decisions can be difficult, primarily when the outcomes of those decisions lay at your feet. Therefore, this framework can help you. Here’s how it works. This matrix consists of four separate quadrants that are defined as: Do, Decide, Delegate, and Don’t do. A key to using the matrix is that you eliminate before you optimise. Making a to-do list helps keep your mind at ease, as you know it’s not forgotten. But don’t pile up 10, 20, or 30 items in any list. Keep things manageable. A good rule of thumb is to keep items in each quadrant at a lower number, ideally below five. Otherwise, you’re not getting any value out of the framework. The bad thing about “I’ll do it later” is that there will always be a “later”. The transforming power of the Urgent–Important Matrix urges you to ask yourself difficult but necessary questions. And as Dwight D. Eisenhower states, “What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important”. However you do it, the key is to keep your to-do list organised, prioritised, and as a result, manageable.
20 January 2023
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