The Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix

Did you know that so many business owners and managers simply go about their decision making and planning based on purely their gut instincts…. to their detriment? When you hear statistics like the classic un-referenced 90% of businesses fail in their first year it makes you wonder is this failing to plan and lack strategic decision making a contributing factor.

This series will cover LOTS of different strategic models that highly successful people have used in their career and business to make some pretty incredible outcomes. What you must understand is that at this stage of our development there have been so many wheels made, you have to wonder why not simply use the ones we already have.

Christmas = Busy

In the lead up to Christmas I constantly see people rushing and hurrying to get things done. “Gotta get the turkey, then the carrots, then pick up the wrapping paper”. Working on a continuum of minimal tasks that create such enormous stress levels and surprisingly generate a lack of clarity.

As a human beings stress levels increase a LOT of things happen, however one of these is their focus becomes incredibly linear. This is not always a bad things however it can in some instances leave you spending 30 minutes waiting for your gift wrapping to be done two weeks before Christmas when the last of the red power ranger toys have sold out in 29 minutes.

Why am I sharing this with you? Mr Eisenhower was quoted as saying “the most urgent of decisions are rarely the important ones”. What he means by this is that when we are in such a fluster be it Christmas, tax time, or simple administrative tasks we often push the most “urgent” tasks to the top of the list to the detriment of the “important” ones. We do this when we generate a linear task focus and this at times can be devastating from a business and management perspective.

“Better late the never, but never late is better”

Mr Eisenhower was considered a master of time management when he held presidency in the US. He continually appeared to have the unflappable ability to handle whatever came across his desk, luckily we now know he did this and it has been coined as the “Eisenhower Method”. In using his method you will be able to instantly distinguish between important, urgent and down right distracting.

Whenever you find yourself with a new task I want you to drop it into one of four categories. (you can even make piles or folders for this if needed). These four categories are outlined in the model below. Once this is done you can then decide where to focus your energy.

By focusing on this tasks itself, you do several things, you remove the emotional context from decision making, you prevent future urgency, you remove the sense of running on a treadmill and you allow yourself the ability to plan strategically. More importantly though you can get the red power ranger and get it wrapped in time to save Christmas 🙂

Have a safe and happy Christmas period and would love to hear from you.

Aidan – Keystone Executive Coaching


As Humans we often focus too directly on the urgent and important section, it is normal human nature. What we need to do is ask ourselves. “When will I deal with the things that are important but not urgent? When will I take the time to deal with important tasks before they become urgent”

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