managing people, payroll & time


How to Boost Your Productivity by Using the Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix is a useful tool that will help cut through the mess and get down to the nitty gritty of each assignment or project. It will improve company-wide time management and thus increase productivity.

These days, the internet is swarming with advice on how to maximize productivity, hone in on personal efficiency, and improve output at work or school. But the oversaturation of advice is intimidating, and the reliability of certain sources on the internet is often questionable. This is why the Eisenhower Matrix stands out above the other methods for improving productivity.

Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important.” This statement is the basis on which this method is founded upon. Eisenhower needed a way to improve workforce efficiency in the White House, so he used the knowledge gained from being a five-star WWII general to create his matrix. He knew that the chain of command is similar in most work environments, no matter whether it is the military, or the White House. The same logic applies for your staff of 5 people working for your brand new start-up.

The Eisenhower Matrix makes the user decide between what is important and unimportant, and what is urgent and not urgent. Wherever the task falls on the matrix will determine what the next step will be. Whether you do it, plan it, delegate it, or eliminate it, it will find it’s home on the matrix.

Balancing Self-Management and Delegation

The Eisenhower Matrix takes into account the value of delegating tasks and certain authority while also balancing the importance of self-management and independent thinking.

Eisenhower had high expectations. He assumed his staff would be able to discern between important and non-important decisions, and entrusted them with this responsibility. This means understanding what is worth bringing to your manager’s attention and what should be handled by the employee.

Knowing Yourself

As much as a manager’s over-achieving inner-self may want to do all things, it’s impossible to handle everything independently. It’s crucial to be able to entrust lower employees with tasks, knowing they will complete them efficiently and well.  Managers must be able to do more than supervise—they must lay off supervision, knowing their team will do the job as expected.

By communicating what your expectations are with your team, they will be able to use the Eisenhower matrix effectively by knowing what is important versus unimportant, and knowing what is urgent versus what is not urgent.

How to Boost Your Productivity by Using the Eisenhower Matrix

Make the Matrix

Create your own Eisenhower Matrix. On the x-axis, write urgent on the left and not urgent on the right. On the y-axis, write not important on the bottom and important on the top. If it falls under both important and urgent, then do it—right then and there. If it’s important but not urgent, plan for when you will do it. If it’s urgent but not important, delegate it for someone else to do.

When you’re deciding where each item falls in each axis, don’t over think. Ask yourself once if it’s important and if it’s urgent. Place it where it falls and deal with the results once the matrix is full of your entire list of tasks.

Act on It

Once your priorities have been placed on the matrix, act on each item. Whatever needs to be delegated, planned, completed, or eliminated, do it.


Once you spend a week using the matrix, review the time spent. See what worked and what caused issues. Troubleshoot these issues as the weeks go on until you are working with a seamless system.

If you notice that your work is falling unequally into the quadrants, you must re-evaluate the criteria you are using to place the items. Look at each task very critically, and double-check the quadrant you want to place it in.

The Results

If you can get your entire team to use the matrix, productivity will increase. If you have a few wheels that are squeaky or not using the matrix, you may notice that they are falling behind. Make sure to maintain supervision during the initial phases of introduction to keep everyone on the same page.

For further solutions for your small, medium, or enterprise-sized business, get in touch with SME Solutions for software, training, or capital management.

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