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Eisenhower Matrix

> Prioritize and decide together

Are your daily tasks and activities (professional and/or personal) piling up and you don’t know where to start or what to do to get everything done? The Eisenhower Matrix is the perfect tool for sorting, arranging and prioritising actions!

For a little history lesson, it was invented by Eisenhower, commander-in-chief of the American forces in Europe during WW2 and later President of the United States: ‘The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent’.

Therefore, the matrix relies on 2 axes: the level of importance and the level of urgency of each task.

Pre-requisites

Prepare a Matrix activity in quadrant mode. The 4 zones required are: Delegate, Do, Eliminate, Plan. Name the horizontal axis ‘Important’ and the vertical axis ‘Urgent’.

Arrange time management if needed.

List the items to prioritise if you already have them.

The Eisenhower Matrix can be presented after brainstorming to help prioritise an action plan, and then you would have to enter the items directly into the matrix before starting this activity with the group.

Activity settings Matrix

  • Activity format: Quadrant
  • Zone names: Delegate, Do, Eliminate, Plan
  • Horizontal axis: Important/Vertical axis: Urgent
  • Time management: optional

Process

1

Presentation

Explain to the group what each quadrant means:

  • Do: activities that are urgent and important, tasks that need to be done now and yourself

  • Plan: important activities that aren’t particularly urgent, tasks to be planned and done yourself

  • Delegate: urgent activities of low importance, tasks that need to be delegated quickly

  • Eliminate: unimportant activities that aren’t urgent, useless tasks to be dropped.

Agree on the concepts of ‘importance’ and ‘urgency’: if you’re alone or if you’re working in a team or with a superior on key or priority assignments, regarding results to be achieved and deadlines, does ‘urgent’ mean: 1h, 1 day, 1 week? Clarify things as needed. Careful! Separate what’s urgent and important from what you want to do!

Review the list of items to make sure everyone understands.

2

Exploration

Participants will then be able to individually and quietly evaluate each element on a scale of importance and urgency.

3

Discussion

Once the whole group has participated, you can all look over the matrix again to make sure there’s agreement.

4

Summary

Enter the tasks to do in the discussion space as an Action, send off all the tasks to plan and to delegate so decisions can be made about them.

At the end of the activity, you can send the automatic meeting notes with the action plan/decision to your participants.

Suggestions and variations

For an even more collaborative method, you can use a Board activity by placing the quadrants in categories. If there are too many tasks, select which ones to do through a voting session.

Activity Matrix
5 to 30 min
Less than 10
Novice
Closing
Save time by improving task management.
An effective and simple tool to put in place, either individually or in a group.