Decision-making with the Eisenhower matrix

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The Eisenhower matrix helps reduce the stress of decision-making by placing tasks in a grid arranged by importance and urgency.

I find it more appropriate to talk about managing priorities that managing time and the Eisenhower matrix helps to determine tasks, activities and projects which are urgent and important.

The principal characteristic of management is decision-making. Decisions are vital to taking action in everyday management, just as in project management.

Activities which are less important and less urgent do not require your attention immediately by definition, but a manager will still need to rationally evaluate which items should go into which quadrant.

The decision-making process encourages the manager to think carefully when assigning importance and urgency.

The analysis is necessary, but actions are essential to make things happen and making good decisions requires good information, but there must come a time when plans are put into practice, even if not yet perfect.

Eisenhower matrix alleviates the stress of decision-making

Some people suffer from workload-related stress. Using management solutions for prioritising helps therefore with a manager’s primary task.

eisenhower matrix
Eisenhower matrix

The objective is to reduce workload stress by reducing risk. Using Cartesian methods such as the Eisenhower matrix reduces the pressure in decision-making by weighing choices analytically.

The Eisenhower matrix is useful for determining daily priorities by scoring tasks on the principle of importance and urgency:

  • Task 1: importance 1, urgency 2,
  • Task 2: importance 2, urgency 2 etc.

It is essential to have just two possible values for each axis: urgency and importance. It is also crucial to decide the score of each task relative to one another.

At any point in time, the tasks to do are those that are both important and urgent. All others are by definition neither sufficiently urgent nor sufficiently important.

On completion of a task, reevaluate all the others to determine how their relative importance or urgency might have changed and give them new scores.

Urgency should not be confused with ‘last-minute’ since it is a relative term. Urgent might be a task to do within a week, whereas non-urgent might be to do within a month.

There are some nice apps on Android to manage tasks with the Eisenhower matrix, such as Effectiveness (on play store)

Implementing the Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower matrix can ultimately be arranged as four squares of a quadrant or in four columns.

Eisenhower matrix in Notion

The Eisenhower notation can be implemented in Notion, by adding a select property with values

  • Important and Urgent
  • Urgent but Not Important
  • Important but Not Urgent
  • Not Urgent and Not Important
eisenhower with notion

Eisenhower matrix in Kanbanote

Kanbanote to implement the Eisenhower method

Use kanbanote to implement the Eisenhower method and focus on what is urgent and important. Kanbanote is connected to Evernote and effectively allows you to order and reorder Evernotes in a visual spatial organisation.

Setup urgent important, non-important columns in kanbanote

Eisenhower matrix in Trello

Trello Kanban implements Eisenhower

Use the Trello Kanban to implement the Eisenhower method and distinguish important and urgent tasks from non-important and non-urgent tasks. You can use Trello to present a classic Eisenhower diagram helps to sort important and urgent tasks from the less important, less urgent ones.

The Trello kanban implements the Eisenhower method to distinguish important not important urgent and not urgent tasks
Eisenhower in Trello

Eisenhower matrix in Excel

The Eisenhower method is typically embodied a quadrant, which could just as easily be arranged in Excel. This arrangement however does not allow you to have individual cards for each task item, unlike Notion, Trello and Todoist.

Eisenhower in Excel

Eisenhower matrix in Todoist

Ultimately, you could arrange the Eisenhower matrix in four sections in Todoist, and display the project, as below, in kanban mode.

But the tendency is to use the priority field in Todoist.

item card in todoist, uses priority
Item card in Todoist

Eisenhower matrix in Microsoft Access

Here is a working model of the Eisenhower matrix in Microsoft Access.

Double-clicking on a task item in any quadrant opens the following screen to manage the action. This functionality is included in the Translation Management Database.

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