The Eisenhower Matrix

Posted by jordan_terry on December 20, 2020 · 3 mins read

The Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix can also be referred to as the Urgent-Important Matrix. It will help you to filter our tasks that are not urgent or important and then help you to organise others.

It was pioneered by Dwight D. Eisenhower, a former US president and supreme commander of the allied forces in Europe during World War 2; pretty much an all round busy body.

  Urgent Less Urgent
Important Do first Schedule
Less Important Not important Don’t do these

Do First

This first bucket of tasks is where you put your important tasks; the things that must be done today or at a stretch tomorrow. But don’t overwhelm yourself, try and keep this list manageable, you want to aim to have this t. I like to estimate work with the Pomodoro Technique.

The Pomodoro Technique

A broad topic on which a paragraph cannot do it justice. You estimate how many pomodori, a period of time for example 25 minutes, your tasks will take. Over time, you will have a good feel of the time it will take to complete each task.


This is the second bucket of tasks. Here, you write all of the tasks that don’t need to be done today and plan them into your calendar to be done later. Eventually, these tasks will become urgent and important and appear in the “Do first” bucket.

I enjoy this quote from

> Professional time managers leave fewer things unplanned and therefore try to manage most of their work in the second quadrant, reducing stress by terminating urgent and important to-dos to a reasonable date in the near future whenever a new task comes in.

Not important

The third bucket of tasks is for things which are urgent but less important than the tasks in the first bucket. These could be things you have been asked to do last minute, but aren’t as important as the first bucket of tasks. These tasks could be delegated to someone else, if you chose to do this ensure progress is monitored with e-mails or meetings.

Don’t do these

The fourth bucket is for bad habits, things you should not do. These could be tasks that aren’t useful, or tasks that you shouldn’t do or could be a cause for serious procrastination.

I have flirted with this approach since 2019 and started to adopt it more since 2020 and working from home. But heading into 2021 I hope to more rigidly adopt this approach.