The Eisenhower Method—Digging Deeper
Remember this diagram from yesterday?
Allow me to recap: This box, grid, or matrix (as the kids are calling it these days) was developed by President Eisenhower, who felt that he needed a way to distinguish the “urgent” from the “important” in order to make smarter choices about where he spent his time.
Digging Deeper—What Goes Where
Critical and Urgent
These are tasks that demand your immediate attention. Deal with these as soon as possible. If your “critical and urgent” quadrant gets too full, you know you’re in trouble.
Critical but not Urgent
These tasks do not present hard deadlines, but they will advance your goals, both professionally and personally. The faster you deal with tasks in quadrant 1, the sooner you get to have fun with these.
Not Critical but Urgent
Think of these as the interruptions that tear you away from important work. The best way to deal with these tasks is by delegating them to someone like an assistant or an intern. They don’t demand your expertise because of their non-critical nature.
Not Critical and Not Urgent
You may be thinking, “But things in this quadrant will never get done.” That’s the point. By putting things in this box, you clear space in quadrants 1-3 for more important items. Delete items that sit in this quadrant for more than two weeks.
Here’s your homework:
Make a list of everything you worked on last week.
Now, draw the Eisenhower box—yes, on paper—and label the quadrants. If you’re artistically challenged, you can just fold the paper in half twice.
Put the items from your list into the appropriate categories.
Where did you spend most of your time? This is a great, quick way to analyze how efficiently you’re working. If the majority of your time was spent outside of quadrant 2, you may need to reevaluate your habits.
Yup, that’s right, critical but not urgent. Tomorrow, I’ll tell you why this is the most important box on the grid.