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The 4 Quadrants of Time Management Matrix [Guide]

Are you tired of constantly feeling overwhelmed and struggling to complete tasks on time? Say goodbye to overwhelm and hello to productivity! Discover the Time Management Matrix, a game-changing tool by Stephen Covey, and learn how to create your own priority matrix.

With the Stephen Covey’s four quadrants of time management you will take control of your time and achieve your goals faster using the urgent-important matrix and four-quadrant graph.

time management task matrix

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What is a time management Matrix?

A time management matrix is a productivity tool popularized by Stephen Covey and used for organizing tasks based on their urgency and importance.

The time management matrix enables individuals to prioritize effectively and allocate their time wisely to achieve optimal productivity and goal attainment.

Nowadays, this self-management tool is widely used by businesses and individuals to  prioritize tasks and identify time wasters .

The Time Management Matrix was initially created by President Dwight Eisenhower himself. He used it to help him prioritize and deal with the many high-stakes issues he faced as a US Army general, then as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO Forces, and later as president of the United States.

However, decades later, Stephen Covey popularized Eisenhower’s Time Management Matrix in his book  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,  one of the  best productivity books  you can read.

As a result of Covey’s work, the Eisenhower Matrix has become a widely used and one of the best time-management techniques and decision-making frameworks in business .

Now, let’s get into the actual Four Quadrants of Time Management, what they mean, and how it all works.

Curiosity: Did you know that the 4 quadrants are one of the most valid alternatives to the Pomodoro method ?

What are the four quadrants of the time management matrix?

Each quadrant will help you prioritize your tasks and responsibilities. The quadrants are as follows:

  • Quadrant 1: Urgent and important

Quadrant 2: Not urgent yet important

Quadrant 3: urgent but not important, quadrant 4: not urgent and not important.

The Four Quadrants model categorizes each task or responsibility based on its urgency and importance. The goal of using this matrix is to improve both your personal and professional life and promote growth and accomplishment.

time management task matrix

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Quadrant 1: important and urgent.

First is the Quadrant of Urgency, where you cover unforeseen events, drop your responsibilities, and focus on resolving urgent matters.

Even though it’s super stressful, many people can spend their whole life in this Quadrant, letting life problems take control. Spending too much time in this Quadrant will not allow you to grow much.

This Quadrant is not as urgent as the first one, but the tasks as just as important. Essentially, they’re important but not urgent. They don’t require immediate action and don’t mess with your deadlines and other tasks.

In this Quadrant, you have the freedom to breathe a little, take your time and perform your work more effectively and productively.

In this Quadrant, you’ll find the less critical tasks. All those urgent little matters that come to you only to take off your quality work time.

It can be meetings, phone calls, e-mails, or interruptions that don’t allow you to be productive.

Ultimately, you want to spend as little time as possible on this Quadrant. It’s full of counterproductive tasks that don’t contribute much to your work, goals, and productivity.

The Quadrant four is not urgent, not important, which means it’s just pure waste. As you spend more and more time here, all your energy gets sucked, and you can end up in procrastination activities such as checking social media and scrolling randomly online.

It’s easy for our brains to spend more time here because it doesn’t require any mental capacity and will just make you avoid more important tasks during the day.

Free eBook: Top time management techniques

Stephen covey’s 4 quadrants of time management template.

Eisenhower Matrix, urgent important matrix, Prioritize task, Task Management, Project Management, Process infographics

But how can you use this to improve your productivity?

This matrix allows you to become more productive and efficient simply because it will enable you to organize your day and  stay on top of things .

If you organize it into these four quadrants, you will be more precise when making your to-do list, managing your tasks, and knowing where you need to spend more time. 

It also allows you to organize your time on what’s important and sort your priorities for each day, both professionally and personally. 

Proper time management is key to increasing your personal productivity and reaching your goals, and this strategy is effective.

And why is time management so important?

Proper time management allows you to improve your performance, organize your tasks scheduled for the day and prioritize them, spend less time on useless things and focus on what matters. 

It helps you focus on what’s essential for the day. And that’s why the 4 Quadrants of Time Management Matrix is an excellent method that is highly recommended for several purposes, including for managing multiple projects . 

So, if you’re looking to be more productive and get things done, this method is the magic pill.

If you want to be a step ahead, combining 4 quadrants with the  time blocking time management technique  might be helpful.

Start organizing your life, and it will change forever! 

A time management matrix is a productivity tool popularized by Stephen Covey and used for organizing tasks based on their urgency and importance. The time management matrix enables individuals to prioritize effectively and allocate their time wisely to achieve optimal productivity and goal attainment.

The 4 categories of the time management matrix are: 1. Quadrant 1: Urgent and important 2. Quadrant 2: Not urgent yet important 3. Quadrant 3: Urgent but not important 4. Quadrant 4: Not urgent and not important

To write a time management matrix, you need to categorize tasks based on their urgency and importance. Start by setting up four boxes labeled with the words: urgent and important, not urgent yet important, urgent but not important, and not urgent and not important. Then, easily slot your tasks into the appropriate boxes and take action accordingly for efficient prioritization.

You might be interested in:

  • Why time tracking is important?
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What Is the Time Management Matrix and How to Use It

Trafft Team

  • February 23, 2023
  • Business , Time management

time management task matrix

Most of us are guilty of occasionally wasting valuable time . One of the reasons is that we are so busy that we can only focus on the most urgent things. The result is that often we forget the things that may be less urgent, but are nevertheless important.

Distinguishing between important and urgent is not easy. When we are overwhelmed with a full schedule and many pending tasks, the difference can become even more blurry. Even though both labels seem interchangeable, they are very different. However, a time management matrix can help us in this situation.

Learn more about this topic in this article created by our team at Trafft.

What is the Time Management Matrix?

Time Management Matrix

Two people were involved in the development of the time management matrix.

It was introduced by Dwight D. Eisenhower , who believed that priority is related both to a task’s importance and its urgency. The higher the assigned priority, the more attention and time it merits.

The second key person is Stephen Covey , who popularized and expanded Eisenhower’s matrix. He concluded that efficient management strategies are not about managing time itself. Rather, they are about how to focus attention and prioritize.

In Covey’s time management matrix, any task, activity, or responsibility is assigned a section in a matrix with four quadrants. The criteria for doing so are:

  • Urgency : What requires immediate attention;
  • Importance : What has the highest significance or value.

Instead of tackling the urgent things first, awareness is raised about value and importance. By dividing tasks in this way, it should become obvious what tasks should be first.

Each quadrant of Covey’s time management matrix is the result of a combination of urgent/not urgent and important/unimportant.

  • Quadrant 1: Urgent and important
  • Quadrant 2: Not urgent but important
  • Quadrant 3: Urgent but not important
  • Quadrant 4: Not urgent and not important

Q1: Necessities

Quadrant 1 groups together activities and tasks that are critical and require immediate attention. It is clear that anything that falls into this category is very important and deserves the necessary time and focus. It’s in the name, after all: urgent and important.

Examples of activities that fall into this quadrant are prescheduled meetings with customers, improvements to be implemented, solving urgent problems, etc. Highly effective people should start with tasks in this quadrant.

Q2: Extraordinary Productivity

Tasks in this quadrant are important but not urgent. The tendency with activities that fall in this category is to postpone them.

Ideally, these important tasks should have priority and be given primary focus. These are the strategic activities with the highest impact. Working on them will make your business stronger and will lead to personal growth and development.

An example of a quadrant 2 activity is project planning . That is something that is often postponed, but that is essential for sustainable growth.

Q3: Distractions

Quadrant 3 contains activities that are urgent but unimportant in the long term. These are items that are prominently on our minds but serve mainly as distractions.

On top of that, they are often considered fun or easy and therefore tend to be prioritized. On close inspection, they may be removed from the work schedule .

Eliminating all these Q3 tasks is probably impossible. Still, it is important to reduce their number as much as possible. One way this can be done is by delegating them. Another solution is to batch and complete many of these smaller tasks together.

Actively scheduling one hour for answering emails is more efficient than answering them individually throughout the day. Do not be distracted by an “urgent” label in the subject line.

Q4 tasks are neither urgent nor important. Basically, these are time wasters.

The danger is spending too much time on them resulting in wasting precious time. Activities in this category should be reduced to a minimum.

What is the Difference Between “Important” and “Urgent”?

The term “important” relates to its contribution to continuing goals. Completing these tasks can be relevant to growth and continuation. These activities deserve priority and continuous attention.

They do not always need to be attended to immediately. However, by not prioritizing them, they could become urgent problems.

Urgent activities require immediate attention. As soon as they appear they demand immediate attention. Their importance is mainly at that very moment and they can detract from important activities and long-term goals.

Benefits of the Covey Time Management Matrix

Using the Steven Covey time management matrix can help someone to analyze their activities and priorities. Analyzing the work activities or even the private life of an average person often reveals that most activities fall in the urgent categories (Q1 and Q3). Q2 (important but not urgent) is often an underrepresented Covey quadrant.

This is where the power of this time matrix lies. The importance of Q2 should not be underestimated. The activities in this quadrant represent the strategic aspect of your business or personal life. Ignoring this could lead to missing out on personal development and ultimate goals. This category must be included in balanced and efficient time management. Q2 is therefore extremely important.

Application of the Covey time management matrix in the workplace specifically leads to many benefits:

  • Increased productivity: This method assists in organizing and categorizing activities. Assigning a task to one of the four quadrants helps to decide whether it should be prioritized, scheduled, or even eliminated. It builds efficiency and focuses attention on what matters most. Creating a prioritized list helps to get more important things done.
  • Self-Discipline. Self-discipline means consciously taking control of behavior. This type of restraint helps to replace negative actions with positive ones. It is the result of prioritizing, organizing, and avoiding distractions.
  • Clear habits. Categorizing activities can clarify certain patterns in behavior. It helps to assess someone’s behavior. Identification of patterns gives clues as to where to make changes, and which habits to develop, and to focus on what is important.
  • Learn to let go. Let go of distractions. Giving time-wasters (Quadrant 4) less priority, enables you to accomplish more, in both quantity and quality. The Covey matrix gives the framework and confidence to delegate responsibilities when necessary and when to say no to a new task.
  • Improve planning skills. Being able to prioritize tasks enables you to determine your immediate objectives and overall goals. When the priorities are set in this way, realistic time frames can be attached to these activities.

If you add these habits of highly effective people to your routine, you’re already doing better than most people out there.

How to Use the Covey Matrix

Identify your priorities.

Identify Your Priorities

The whole idea behind the Covey time management matrix is to stimulate questioning as to whether a task is important or is it only a priority because of its urgency .

The first step, therefore, is to identify this concept for all tasks. Assigning each task to one of the four quadrants is a helpful tool in this. With this graphical aid, it is immediately evident where to place a task in the schedule.

Put It in Writing

The result is the same whether it is written with pen and paper or using a digital tool . Chronicling helps to create a visual reminder and engages our thought processes. This documentation combined with the time matrix helps to make priorities clear. So keep the Covey matrix in a visible place, then it acts as a constant reminder.

Include Deadlines

After clearly listing each task, assign deadlines, which will guide you in prioritizing tasks. With the dates in mind, some tasks may need to be pushed forward, while others can wait.

Do It Regularly

How often this time management process should be done depends on the application and circumstances. There is no rule for this. For some reviewing and updating once a week is adequate.

In other cases, the workload and nature of activities call for a daily update. Whatever regime is chosen, the key is to continuously set aside a specific time for this activity. This ensures continuity of activities.

One Week Assessments

A different way of using the matrix is by making a weekly assessment. This requires six blank matrices, one for each workday, and one for the weekend.

At the end of each day, all activities of that day are arranged in the matrix, including the time spent on them. At the end of the week, all activities are summarized in one matrix.

This will create awareness of what kind of activities make up a week; if they are urgent and/or important.

FAQs about the time management matrix

1. what is the time management matrix, and how does it work.

The time management matrix is a tool that aids in work prioritization according to priority and urgency. In his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Stephen Covey presented it. The matrix is divided into four quadrants, each of which represents a distinct type of task.

2. Who developed the time management matrix, and what is its purpose?

American author and leadership expert Stephen Covey created the time management matrix. By classifying jobs according to their level of urgency and importance, it aims to assist people in time management. Covey thought that by employing this framework, people might concentrate on what is genuinely important and avoid getting sidetracked by unimportant chores.

3. How can the time management matrix help me improve my productivity and efficiency?

The time management matrix offers a clear structure for prioritizing tasks, which can increase productivity and efficiency. People can do more in less time by concentrating on crucial, high-value tasks. Also, people can eliminate or delegate low-value chores to avoid distractions and free up time for more crucial duties.

4. What are the four quadrants of the time management matrix, and how do they differ?

The time management matrix’s four quadrants are as follows: Quadrant 1: Critical and pressing duties. Quadrant 2: Significant but not urgent jobs. Quadrant 3: Tasks that are urgent but not crucial. Quadrant 4: Tasks that are not urgent or crucial.

5. What types of tasks should I focus on in each quadrant of the time management matrix?

People should concentrate on finishing jobs that are both significant and urgent in quadrant 1, such as those that involve deadlines, emergencies, or crises. People should concentrate on vital but non-urgent tasks in quadrant 2, like long-term planning, personal growth, and connection building. Quadrant 3 duties should be reduced or assigned to others since they are urgent but unimportant. Tasks in Quadrant 4 should be avoided since they are neither urgent nor vital.

6. How can I use the time management matrix to prioritize my daily tasks and activities?

People should first list all of their chores and group them into one of the four quadrants before prioritizing them using the time management matrix. After that, they should order jobs in quadrant 1 before moving on to quadrant 2. As much as practicable, quadrants 3 and 4 should be reduced or removed.

7. How do I determine which tasks belong in each quadrant of the time management matrix?

8. how do i know if i’m spending too much time in one quadrant of the time management matrix.

An imbalance may be indicated by spending an excessive amount of time in one quadrant of the time management matrix. For instance, if someone spends too much time in quadrant 1, they might continually be responding to emergencies rather than putting enough effort into long-term planning. Similarly, if an individual is spending too much time in quadrant 4, they may be avoiding crucial chores and procrastinating.

9. Can the time management matrix be used in personal as well as professional settings?

10. are there any limitations or drawbacks to using the time management matrix.

The time management matrix has the drawback of not taking individual characteristics or context into consideration. Something that is essential and significant to one person could not be to another. Also, it may be challenging to prioritize some jobs because they may fit into numerous quadrants. Finally, the time management matrix ignores outside variables that may have an impact on a person’s capacity to properly manage their time, such as interruptions or unforeseen events.

Ending thoughts on the time management matrix

It takes time to learn how to use the Covey time management matrix, but the rewards are many. The more time you spend using Covey’s Matrix will lead to awareness of which quadrant contains the majority of the workload.

Managing time is not about ticking off as many activities as possible in the shortest amount of time. It is best to do less and give all the tasks the attention they deserve.

This way of thinking helps you learn what is important and what is less important. In addition to discerning what is most important, there are scheduling apps and other electronic time management tools to help with organizing. With good time management, the most important things will get done.

Being productive is requires hard work and a good organization. At first, changes may be small, but keep reviewing activities and being honest. How much time was spent on important activities? Plan for next week and see what changes can be made. As long as positive steps are taken, the result will be higher productivity and success.

If you enjoyed reading this article about the time management matrix, you should read about why time management is important .

We also wrote about a few related subjects like time management systems , time management courses , time management quotes , using a time management coach , time management strategies , techniques , and time management statistics .

Do you want an app for that? We also selected the best time management apps , but also free time management apps for tight budgets, and if you’re looking for a time tracking app , we picked the best of them.

Needless to say, we are really into time management and we don’t like to waste time because we know how poor time management can affect us.

Trafft Team

  • Trafft Team

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How to Use Covey's 4 Quadrants Matrix for Effective Time Management

Covey's 4 quadrants method of time management lets you prioritize what is important and focus on that. Here's how to use it!

Among all the valuable assets you own, time is the most precious of all. In today's fast-paced world, lack of time management is the most significant problem that people have. With so much time spent working, there is no time for personal pursuits.

It is common to feel overwhelmed with responsibilities and activities. The more you work, the further behind you feel. Instead of deciding what you want to do, you react to what's happening around you.

The article explains how you can use Covey's Four Quadrants strategy to focus on the most important tasks and be more productive.

Covey’s 4 Quadrants

The 4 Quadrants Time Management Strategy was created by Steven Covey. He is the author of the famous book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Covey's matrix helps to prioritize tasks based on the time available for optimal efficiency.

The basic idea behind this strategy is to divide your activities into four quadrants depending on their importance and urgency. Let's discuss both of these terms before moving on to the strategy itself.

1. Important: These are the tasks or goals most likely to impact your long-term success.

2. Urgent: Urgent tasks are those that require immediate action. You can't delay them.

Four Quadrants of Time Management Matrix

These are the four quadrants of the Time Management Matrix:

1. Q1: Urgent and important.

2. Q2: Not Urgent but important.

3. Q3: Urgent but not important.

4. Q4: Not urgent and not important.

By prioritizing your tasks across four quadrants, you can differentiate between tasks that make a real difference in the end. The following is a brief overview of what each quadrant contains.

Q1: Urgent and Important:

In Covey's time management matrix, this quadrant is located at the top left. Problems and crises that require immediate attention belong in quadrant one. Neglecting them, in the long run, can be problematic for you.

Preparing a presentation for an important meeting that will commence after a short time is a type of task that falls in quadrant one. It's urgent because you don't have much time for it and it's important as you have to get it ready before the meeting starts.

Tasks involving deadlines, school assignments, sending daily emails, and similar activities with direct impact are urgent and important.

Q2: Not Urgent but Important:

In Covey's time management matrix, this quadrant is on the top right. In this quadrant, you will find tasks that directly relate to your long-term goals. It requires your thorough attention; however, it is not urgent as there is no limited time to complete this task.

If you have a long-term goal of establishing your reputation in an office or class, it may not be that urgent; however, it is still important. Developing relationships, long-term planning, personal development, improving health, and related activities fall within this quadrant.

Q3: Urgent but Not Important:

This quadrant is located in the bottom left corner of Covey's time management matrix. All those activities may seem urgent to you, but you can remove them from the workflow since they hold minimal importance for you.

Let's say you are working on an important project and you get a call from a colleague asking you to join a meeting. If the meeting is unplanned without an agenda, you may choose to skip it. Since, overall, it won't have any positive impact on your life.

In other words, all the time-wasting activities fall in this quadrant. No matter if it's unimportant calls or sending emails that don't add any value.

Q4: Not Urgent and Not Important:

In Covey's time management matrix, this quadrant is at the bottom right-hand side. All activities that take up time without producing any value fall into this quadrant. You can save valuable time by avoiding those chores and spending it on more valuable activities.

The tasks you do for entertainment alone, such as watching the television, surfing the web for hours, gossiping about people, are neither urgent nor important for you.

Related: Ways to Follow Through on Your Time Management Goals

Benefits of Following Covey’s Time Management Matrix:

1. Productivity Boost : Following the time management matrix changes how you deal with the tasks, helping you prioritize them better. If you shrink the amount of time you spend on tasks, then you can significantly increase your productivity.

2. Work-Life Balance : By planning well, you can get rid of your hectic routine effectively. This way, you can spend more time with your friends and family.

3. Chasing Goals : By diverting your attention to important tasks, you can speed up the process of chasing the goals .

4. Avoids Embarrassment : By recognizing the urgent tasks, you can differentiate them from less urgent ones to better meet the deadlines. This way, you can avoid embarrassment and save your reputation.

Importance of Placing Tasks in Right Quadrant:

Even once you understand this strategy, it remains imperative to assign tasks to the correct quadrants. It would be best if you determined the importance and urgency of the task before fitting it into any quadrant. Make sure you spend a good time arranging your tasks in different quadrants to facilitate their smooth execution.

Related: Productivity Tips That Produce Massive Results

A good understanding of the time management matrix is a prerequisite to implementing it properly. Put this strategy to work on your everyday task to see if it makes any difference. By managing time and putting yourself in the right spot, you can significantly boost your productivity.

Be More Organized With Covey’s Time Management Strategy

Covey's four-quadrant matrix is one of the most important and famous models in the world of time management. Following this strategy correctly will help you be more productive and stay more active.

Perfect organization and properly prioritizing tasks enable you to accomplish more in less time. You can also determine which tasks require more attention and allocate them accordingly.

However, you can reassign time from lower-value activities to higher-value ones even when that time is irreplaceable. If you are still struggling to organize your day, you can search for other time management strategies like the 80/20 rule to make yourself a more organized person.

Make Decisions Now: Eisenhower Matrix for Prioritization, Time Management, and Productivity

By Kate Eby | July 13, 2023

Link copied

Take control of your time and effectiveness by using the Eisenhower Matrix, a visualization tool for fast decision-making. Learn how experts use this elegant, time-tested framework to strengthen daily productivity and long-term strategic planning.

 In this article, you’ll learn how to use the matrix with examples and find free templates to download for a fast start . Experts share time management and productivity tips that can help you devise a way to live in the optimal quadrant .

What Is the Eisenhower Matrix? 

The Eisenhower Matrix , also known as the Time Management Matrix , is a graphical productivity, prioritization, and time-management tool. The four-quadrant matrix is a no-nonsense decision-making framework you can use to set priorities and workloads based on urgency and importance. 

Jon Quigley

Jon M. Quigley is an author, Principal, and Founding Member of Value Transformation , a product development (from idea to product retirement) and cost improvement organization. “Leonardo da Vinci said, ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.’ That’s especially true of anything that clears up chaos and puts people on the path to clarity, which is a good description of the Eisenhower Matrix,” Quigley explains.

What Is the Eisenhower Technique? 

The Eisenhower Technique is a time management system that clarifies which tasks and activities deserve your time and effort to meet your goals. The technique helps determine task sequencing, delegation, and what to delete from your to-do list. 

The matrix’s popularity stems from its simplicity and the universal method of prioritizing activities for a single person or for every facet of an organization. With a few instructions and a willingness to break old habits, anyone in any field can use the technique to stop procrastination, better manage time, and increase effectiveness.

“Using the Eisenhower technique gets us off the hamster wheel we can all get stuck on when we seem to have an overwhelming number of things to do,” observes Quigley. “In my consulting work with major OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] and other large organizations that operate in competitive environments, using a clear and simple visual tool helps management and teams focus on what’s going to move the project and organization forward.”

Distinguish Between Urgent and Important Tasks

The first step in using the Eisenhower Matrix is differentiating between urgent and important tasks. Critical tasks require immediate attention and are time-sensitive. Essential duties have no set deadline and support long-term goals.

“It is often difficult to determine the difference between what’s urgent and important in the real world, particularly in high-pressure environments,” notes Quigley. “But to use the matrix effectively, you must make the distinction. As you review your list, consider items as short-term vs. long-term activities and the modality you’re operating in to put them in the right quadrants.”

  • Urgent Tasks: These tasks put you into a reactive mode. For example, responding to emails or returning phone calls may be compulsory but only sometimes meaningful. 
  • Essential Tasks: Important tasks contribute to your long-term goals, mission, and values, and they call for a responsive mode. For example, you might have a vital product demonstration at the end of the month that needs to be given priority. Focusing on essential tasks ahead of time and keeping mental space open for strategic activities, you operate calmly and are ready for new opportunities and long-term benefits.

Once you’re clear on the difference between urgent and important tasks, it’s easy to work with the four quadrants in the tool.

What Are the Four Quadrants of the Eisenhower Matrix?

The four quadrants of the Eisenhower Matrix are organized by importance and urgency. The Eisenhower quadrants hold tasks and activities you decide to be essential/urgent, important/not urgent, unimportant/urgent, and unimportant/not urgent. 

Ziaul Haque

Md. Ziaul Haque, Head of Marketing for FlexiPCB , is a longtime practitioner and expert in using the Eisenhower Matrix as a prioritization tool. “The matrix is based on a simple four-quadrant grid that helps you categorize tasks,” explains Haque. 

Haque explains how to handle tasks in each category:

Quadrant 1 - Urgent and Important Tasks/Do First:  Include tasks that require immediate attention. If you don’t address these tasks promptly, they will result in significant consequences. These tasks are usually deadline-driven or involve critical issues. Completing do first tasks is crucial to avoid unnecessary stress and potential crises. Task examples include emergencies such as supply chain disruption or product failure.

Quadrant 2 - Important but Not Urgent Tasks/Schedule: The schedule quadrant consists of essential tasks necessary to meet your long-term goals, personal growth, and strategic planning . They often contribute to your success and well-being, but do not have immediate deadlines. This quadrant is where you should allocate most of your time and energy. By proactively working on these tasks, you can prevent them from becoming urgent and reduce stress in the long run. Task examples include gaining a professional qualification, planning long-term business targets, or developing a leadership pipeline.

Quadrant 3 - Urgent but Not Important Tasks/Delegate: These tasks demand immediate attention, but contribute little to long-term goals. They are often distractions, interruptions, or requests from others that may consume your time without providing meaningful results. It’s best to minimize or delegate these tasks to free up time for quadrant 2 activities. Task examples include meetings that are lengthy or lack agendas, errands, and routine tasks. Some activities can free your time to focus on the tasks in quadrant 1.

Quadrant 4 - Not Urgent and Not Important Tasks/Don’t Do: Quadrant 4 includes tasks that are often time-wasters, trivial activities, or low-priority distractions. It is advisable to eliminate or minimize the time spent on quadrant 4 tasks as they do not contribute to your productivity or progress. Examples in this quadrant include long coffee breaks and social media scrolling.

Eisenhower Productivity Matrix Template

Eisenhower Productivity Matrix Template

Download an Eisenhower Productivity Matrix Template for  Excel | Google Slides  

Download a template to easily adopt and use the Eisenhower Matrix as a productivity tool in your organization. This Eisenhower Matrix template provides space to prioritize tasks and visualize your workload for yourself or a team. Share this document with stakeholders so that they understand what is essential and urgent for you, whether you are organizing client management, time management, financial management, or marketing activities.

Eisenhower Productivity Matrix Template for Teachers 

Eisenhower Productivity Matrix Template for Teachers

Download an Eisenhower Productivity Matrix Template for Teachers for  Microsoft Word | Google Docs  

The EdWeek Research Center conducted a 2022 survey of more than 1,300 teachers and found that the typical teacher works 54 hours weekly. This easy-to-use Eisenhower Matrix template can help tackle tasks and highlight some areas where teachers can ask for help or remove from their duties. Despite the long list of to-dos that most teachers need to accomplish, keeping the list in each quadrant to fewer than 10 weekly items helps maintain focus and efficiency.

Find more free Eisenhower Matrix in this template article .

How Do You Use Eisenhower's Matrix?

Use the Eisenhower prioritization matrix to sort through a long list of tasks you need to complete. Begin by identifying your goal, listing all jobs, classifying tasks by urgency and importance, and eliminating trivial tasks. 

The goal is to hone your list to identify the highest-priority items and make the best use of your valuable time. Peter F. Drucker, regarded as the father of management thinking, said, “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.”

Darshani Persadh

Darshani Persadh, Co-founder of DARJYO , a digital innovation startup, takes advantage of the Eisenhower Matrix to keep projects running smoothly: “Here are three key strategies I use: I start with a clear understanding of my overall objectives, and it becomes easier to filter out tasks that don't align with my vision or goals. Next, I delegate. It's not an easy feat, but I have recently learned to delegate tasks that don't require direct involvement or expertise. Delegating empowers my team and allows me to focus on higher-value activities. Third, I recognize my limitations and say no to tasks that don't align with my priorities or contribute to my overall objectives. Following these steps helps maintain focus on what truly matters.” 

Here are six steps for using the Eisenhower method effectively:

  • Be Clear About What You Want to Accomplish: Have a goal so that you know how to evaluate which tasks are meaningful and those that can be delegated or abandoned.
  • Make a List of All Tasks: Make a complete list of every task and activity you have coming up in the next day, week, and month. Visualizing every job you need to do (or think you need to do) makes it easier to track effectiveness over time.
  • Classify “Do First”: These tasks typically have a deadline approaching and contribute to your company's goals. Start by examining your list of tasks and assessing which are most important. If the job is essential and needs to be completed within one or two days, it moves into the first quadrant.
  • Move to the "Schedule" Quadrant: These are important but not urgent tasks, such as sending essential emails or following up with people who you can schedule to meet with at another time. They're crucial for your long-term goals. As you prepare, ensure you have enough time to complete them so that they don't transfer into the urgent category.
  • Assess the "Delegate" Quadrant: Tasks often appear important but don't contribute to productivity. Determine if you can automate or delegate the tasks in this quadrant to others.
  • Eliminate Unnecessary Tasks in the “Don’t Do” Quadrant: Identify the tasks that lower your productivity and don't contribute to your goals – and let them go.

How to Eliminate Tasks Before They Even Make It Onto the Matrix

Before adding a task to your matrix, ask whether it aligns with your goals, values, and priorities. Consider the task’s potential impact and urgency. If it doesn't meet your criteria, eliminate or postpone it for later evaluation. 

FlexiPCB’s Haque offers more tips and strategies to eliminate tasks before they make it onto your matrix:

Delete the Unnecessary: Identify the tasks on your to-do list that lower your productivity and don't contribute to your goals. You have more time to dedicate to urgent and vital tasks by eliminating unnecessary work. 

Learn to Say No: Just say no to tasks or commitments that don't align with your goals or values. Evaluate the importance and impact of each request before accepting additional responsibilities.

Delegate: Delegate tasks that others can effectively handle, especially if they are outside of your expertise or more suitable for someone else's skill set. Delegation reduces your workload and empowers others to take on responsibilities.

  • Streamline or Automate: Identify repetitive tasks that can be automated using technology or streamlined through efficient processes. By leveraging tools and systems, you can save time and eliminate the need for manual intervention. Look for opportunities to automate routine tasks, such as using email filters, task reminders, or project management software to streamline workflows.
  • Time Management: Implement techniques such as allocating specific time slots for different tasks or working in focused bursts with short breaks. By managing your time effectively, you can ensure that only essential duties make it onto your matrix, and you minimize time wasted on low-value activities.

Where Leaders Live on the Eisenhower Matrix

Leaders spend as much time as possible in the schedule quadrant , where strategy and long-term plans are made. Crossing items off a to-do list can be gratifying, but getting the right tasks done is more important to move a business forward.

“Many of us get stuck in the trap of the most urgent and most important quadrant and have a mile-long list of action items,” says Value Transformation’s Quigley. “That quadrant is seductive, but we need to deprioritize where we can and learn to think like CEOs. You want to spend the balance of your mental energy invested in the area where you develop strategy, innovate, take care of your career and health, and flourish rather than burn out. It takes you further in the long run and helps maintain a good work-life balance.”

As you organize projects, consider the relative weighting of the time and energy you spend on which quadrant. If you have a leadership position, the strategic and long-term planning quadrant at the top right should take priority, with do first items following in priority, and the bottom two quadrants taking up little or no mental space.

Unsure which projects should move to the top of your list? Read this article on project prioritization for tips and more guidance.

How to Balance Task Quadrants 

Start balancing task quadrants by writing all your tasks into an Eisenhower Matrix. The longest task list is where you spend the most time. Use the visual aid to prioritize, delegate, or eliminate tasks to maximize your time.

“Speaking of balance, when you can visualize what you can accomplish in a day, you will know your capacity and not overdo and overstress,” notes Value Transformation’s Quigley. “Burnout is real, and the matrix is a way to prevent it.”

Tips for balancing task quadrants include the following:

  • Balance Is Not About the Number of Tasks Per Quadrant: It's essential to remember that balancing your Eisenhower Matrix does not mean placing the same amount of tasks in each box. Instead, it's about deciding the quadrant to which you need to dedicate most of your time.
  • Know Your Current Pattern: You can imagine where you spend the most time by listing all your monthly, weekly, or daily tasks in an Eisenhower Matrix.
  • Know Where to Spend Your Time: You might assume that most of your time should be spent in the critical and urgent quadrant . While this is an excellent category to operate in, doing so can quickly lead to heavy stress and burnout. 
  • Limit the Number of Items per Quadrant: Adding too many items to each matrix quadrant can simplify the process. To effectively use the Eisenhower Matrix for time management, try to limit the number of tasks to seven or eight.
  • Color Coding: Use color codes of your choice for each quadrant to make it easy to identify where they differ. Glancing at the matrix can help you recognize what needs to be done. 
  • Periods: Consider setting aside several hours or periods each day for activities in specific quadrants. You could also set aside several weekly hours to work on essential but non-urgent items.

Eisenhower Matrix Examples

The Eisenhower Matrix helps various businesses make the right decisions fast. By seeing examples rather than blank matrices, readers can more easily understand how to apply the technique to your organization or personal projects.

Youssef El Achab

Youssef El Achab, IT Consultant with ITCertificate , offers three practical examples of Eisenhower Matrix time management, product management, and project management that make it easy to see how the tool works.

Eisenhower Matrix Example for Time Management

Time management is critical in every business, but particularly for entrepreneurs whose time is money. While current sales and customer service are significant factors to the success of a business, keeping an eye on future growth planning is essential. This completed template shows you the types of activities that deserve the majority of your time. 

Eisenhower Productivity Matrix for Time Management for Entrepreneurs

Eisenhower Matrix Template for Time Management for Entrepreneurs

Download an Eisenhower Matrix Template for Time Management for Entrepreneurs for  Excel | Google Docs   

Entrepreneurs can use the Eisenhower Matrix template to organize and make the most of your most important asset: your time. 

  • Do First: Clients are the most important asset of a small business. For example, critical activities for a week include delivering estimates to clients, locating better working space, and prospecting for more clients.
  • Schedule: With an eye to the future, entrepreneurs often need to focus on goal setting, improving their online presence as part of their marketing efforts, and planning for an upcoming trade show.
  • Delegate: The principal of this business can delegate low-impact tasks such as locating a new internet provider, answering emails, or buying office supplies.
  • Don’t Do: After reviewing a task list, the business owner might decide that it is a waste of time to hold a second weekly staff meeting, clean up old emails, or take multiple trips per day to a local coffee shop.

Eisenhower Matrix Examples for Product Management 

The Eisenhower Matrix for product management focuses on prioritizing tasks and activities related to product development. Product-related activities are categorized by urgency and impact on the product's success.

“Recently, my startup was preparing to launch a new product. I used the Eisenhower Matrix to manage my tasks effectively to ensure a smooth and successful launch. I prioritized my tasks effectively, ensuring the most critical aspects of the product launch received the necessary attention. The result was a successful launch with minimal last-minute stress,” DARJYO’s Persadh shares. 

“The Eisenhower Matrix is a flexible tool that can be adapted to various scenarios,” Persadh continues. “By consistently applying it to my work, I can enhance my time management skills, streamline my decision-making process, and achieve greater productivity and success.”

Eisenhower Productivity Matrix for Product Management

Eisenhower Productivity Matrix Template for Product Management

Download an Eisenhower Productivity Matrix Template for Product Management for Excel | Google Slides

To get products to market on time and in alignment with your goals, complete the quadrants with these concepts in mind:

  • Do First: For software products, examples of pressing issues include fixing bugs, updating security, and addressing customer issues.
  • Schedule: Long-term planning is vital to maintain company health. Activities that are focused on the future and sustaining the business include strategic planning, market research, competitive analysis , and long-term product improvements.
  • Delegate: Examples of non-urgent tasks that can be delegated include non-critical feature requests or minor software enhancements.
  • Don’t Do: Certain feature and design ideas can be dropped based on market knowledge and customer research.

Eisenhower Matrix Examples for Project Management

Project managers have to handle long task lists. The matrix is a helpful tool, often used with other productivity tools. The simplicity and immediacy of the Eisenhower technique is a handy technique for busy managers.

Eisenhower Productivity Matrix for Project Management

Eisenhower Productivity Matrix Template for Project Management

Download an Eisenhower Productivity Matrix Template for Project Management for Microsoft Word | Google Docs

Project management is a make-or-break aspect of running every type of business, large or small, product- or service-based. Here’s how a project manager can use an Eisenhower Matrix:

  • Do First: To be productive and keep projects flowing smoothly, project managers must set critical milestones for a specific project, identify deliverables. and address potential project risks.
  • Schedule: For the longer term, you can schedule planning, resource allocation, stakeholder management, and proactive risk management plans for work.
  • Delegate: Non-critical and minor changes to the project plan can be delegated to associates.
  • Don’t Do: Low-priority scope addition or minor activities can be handled without urgency.

Try a priority matrix template or some of these productivity tools in conjunction with an Eisenhower Matrix.

What Are the Benefits of Using the Eisenhower Matrix?

One of the critical benefits of the Eisenhower Matrix is the ease of implementation. There’s no need to purchase a costly software package; you don’t have to spend significant time producing the matrix. 

More generally, the priority matrix enables you to improve your time management by setting clear priorities. This is especially useful for people in management or ownership positions and freelancers who might need to juggle tasks from several projects or clients at any time.

Other benefits of using the Eisenhower Matrix priority template include the following:

  • Pinpoint What’s Important: Based on goals , the sorting process makes you consider priority and how to focus your attention and actions.
  • Banish Procrastination: The process of completing the matrix and the resulting visual representation motivates you to accomplish tasks and be more effective. 
  • Self-Awareness: Self-analysis and gaining an understanding of how your work is part of the matrix creation process can help inform how you do your job.
  • Improved Decision-Making: This helps you become better at making split-second decisions. 
  • Time Management: After working with the matrix for a while, it becomes second nature to evaluate how much time that certain activities take. 
  • Tracking and Analysis: Being more accurate at tracking and analyzing your progress and habits will make using the matrix more intuitive.
  • Lowered Stress: Well-considered organization and delegation enables less personal stress and work burnout.
  • Speed: With practice using the matrix, you can expect to complete tasks more quickly, efficiently, and confidently.
  • Long-Term View: The matrix can help you set up long-term success with a focus on the crucial/success quadrant .

How to Be More Productive with the Eisenhower Matrix

Using the Eisenhower Matrix improves productivity. By following such tips as focusing on one task at a time, separating professional and personal tasks, and regularly reassessing your activities, you can boost its effectiveness.

FlexiPCB’s Haque offers three tips to be even more productive when using the Eisenhower Matrix:

Do One Thing at a Time: Multitasking is a time waster because it diminishes your focus as you switch tasks. Focus on a single charge, and you will be more effective and quickly get through your list.

Separate Professional and Personal Tasks: Creating an Eisenhower Matrix for your personal and professional life is helpful. However, as a recommendation, develop separate matrices to prevent competing commitments. Spend different times of the day working on the professional and personal matrices.

Practice Discipline and Consistency: Review and update your Eisenhower Matrix to adapt to changing priorities and new tasks. Regularly reassess the urgency and importance of each task to ensure you stay on track with achieving goals.

Eisenhower Matrix History 

President Dwight Eisenhower developed the concept behind the Eisenhower Matrix. He employed the prioritization method to manage high-risk issues as a Supreme Allied Commander of NATO Forces during WWII and the 34th President of the United States.

Using his prioritization and time management method, Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower was one of American history's most productive chief executives. While in office, Eisenhower started the Interstate Highway System, sponsored and signed the Civil Rights Bill of 1957, ended the Korean War, and started NASA.

In 1989, Stephen Covey repackaged Eisenhower's concept as the Time Management Matrix and popularized it in a worldwide bestseller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People . Covey’s framework, like Ike’s, eliminates time-wasters and creates space to focus and accomplish what’s important .

How to Create an Eisenhower Matrix in Smartsheet 

Smartsheet offers an easy-to-use template set to build an Eisenhower Matrix using sheets, reports, and dashboards.

This Eisenhower Matrix template set is available from the Smartsheet Solution Center , which contains more than 175 customizable templates for all project management needs. This template set includes sheets to organize your tasks by status, reports to view all tasks within each level of categorization, and a dashboard to display them all together as an Eisenhower Matrix.

eisenhower dashboard

Log into Smartsheet, and click Use Template Set to access the Individual Productivity Hub template set and add it to your Sheets folder. Select the Sheets folder within the navigation. 

sheets folder

Open the Tasks sheet to enter the tasks you would like to categorize.

task list sheet

On the Tasks sheet, enter the names, details, and due dates of your tasks. You can mark the type and status of each task, and customize the values in those columns to suit your needs. This template will also automatically assign each task to a category based on your inputs in the Urgent and Important columns.

When you finish entering your tasks, save the sheet and click the Browse tab on the left of the screen to navigate back to your Smartsheet folders. Within the Template Set - Individual Productivity Hub folder, select Individual Productivity Hub to view your tasks in an Eisenhower Matrix within a dashboard.

select dashboard

This dashboard is automatically populated with the tasks you entered in the Tasks sheet. You’ll also find sections to list important links for project information and add a company logo, as well as a Current Tasks Report that organizes your tasks into a list by due date. You can easily change the size and colors of dashboard widgets to customize the look and feel of the information presented.

eisenhower dashboard whole

Once your dashboard is customized and complete, share it with your team. The matrix will stay up to date in real time as changes are made to the Tasks sheet.

Improve Productivity and Drive Results With Smartsheet for Project Management

From simple task management and project planning to complex resource and portfolio management, Smartsheet helps you improve collaboration and increase work velocity -- empowering you to get more done. 

The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed.

When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time. Try Smartsheet for free, today.

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A Guide to the Time Management Matrix

time management task matrix

More likely than not you know someone who seems to have boundless energy and get more done in a week than you do all month— are they superhuman, or could it be a time management matrix?

This project management tool can help you not only manage your time spent on work but also improve the prioritization of that work. In this article, you’ll learn what a time management matrix is, including who uses them, how to create one, and how monday.com makes it even easier to be more productive.

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What is a time management matrix.

Defining the time management matrix is a bit tricky since there are so many facets that make it effective.

In simple terms, a time management matrix is a productivity tool. It helps identify what’s truly important, so you spend more time on what matters most.

You might have also heard it called a time matrix, the Covey time management matrix, or the 7 Habits time management matrix. Its foundation rests on 2 words: important and urgent. Important means significant or valuable, while something urgent requires immediate attention or action. It’s crucial to remember that not all urgent tasks are important and vice versa. The time management matrix helps you rank an item’s importance and urgency simultaneously and places it in the correct quadrant (more on that in a moment). Urgency is pretty simple to figure out. You’ll often know if something needs completion today, a week from now, or if it doesn’t technically have a due date or sense of urgency. Determining task importance is a bit trickier.

Who should use a time management matrix?

It may sound cliche, but just about anyone can benefit from using a time management matrix to help complete their daily tasks. Anyone who juggles a large task load would likely benefit most from a time management matrix because it helps you collect information and turn it into an actionable workload.

Why is time management so important?

The average office worker is only productive about  2 hours and 53 minutes  each day. Between using the restroom, checking social media, chatting with co-workers, and the constant barrage of interruptions, there’s not a lot of pure focus time. Time management helps prioritize tasks, so you’re focusing your finite time and resources on the right tasks.

Highly effective people — former President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Stephen Covey, author of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, for example — have the common habits of harnessing their time management skills to focus more intently when studying or working. They start and end on time and ensure they don’t feel rushed by a fast-approaching deadline or random urgent tasks they didn’t foresee.

A time management matrix has many forms but the structure is largely the same with each quadrant's purpose remaining consistent.

( Image Source )

Time management reduces stress, helps produce better work, and in all likelihood, will improve your career opportunities since you’re using your work time more productively than your peers.

How to create a time management matrix

Creating a time management matrix starts with a simple structure: 4 boxes with 4 words around the left and top side of the boxes:  Not important, important, urgent,  and  not urgent . From there, it’s as easy as penciling your tasks into the correct cross-section box and taking action.

Creating a time management matrix is a simple as drawing 4 squares or launching monday.com's premade template.

With a digital time management matrix — like what you can build in monday.com — users and visitors interact and customize this data much more simply with a drag-and-drop interface. All you have to do is type your tasks in and flag them by their importance, urgency, or lack thereof. The system will automatically place them accordingly. Let’s look at how to categorize tasks and how you should tackle tasks in each category.

Urgent, important

These tasks should be rare, and as the title implies, they’re things you do immediately. People often refer to these as quadrant I tasks. If you don’t perform these urgent, important tasks, there will likely be immediate consequences. You’ll miss an opportunity, occur some sort of loss, or suffer poor performance.

Important, urgent things are often thought of as “fire fighting.” If your company was hacked and you have the opportunity to thwart the criminal before they do too much damage or steal sensitive data, then that definitely qualifies. If a customer calls and says that they’re ready to purchase the biggest deal your company has seen all year, then that’s one of those “drop everything you’re doing” urgent and important moments.

Important, not urgent

Quadrant II tasks are important, but not urgent. If urgent, important is rare, then you likely have a backlog of important, not urgent items on your task list.

Important tasks contribute greatly to your life or company’s mission and strategic goals. It’s the stuff you’re remembered by and makes the greatest impact on the world. This includes things like improving work processes, completing additional training, and capturing lessons learned .

Urgent, not important

Quadrant III tasks are things you’ll ideally delegate to someone else or automate if you can. Sometimes the best thing to do is manage them or  chunk them together , so they don’t disrupt the important tasks.

Ultimately, you want to spend as little time as possible on urgent, not important, tasks. They’re counterproductive tasks that likely don’t contribute much to your greater goal, are low on the priority list, and add fog to your daily life that’s hard to see through.

Not urgent, not important

Quadrant IV is not urgent, not important, which means it’s likely not worth doing at all. Think of quadrant IV as a black hole. As you spend more and more time there, you just get sucked further in until you’ve lost all momentum and energy to work on important things.

The kind of activity that lacks importance or urgency includes:

  • Sorting through junk mail
  • Mindlessly browsing social media
  • Flipping through television shows
  • Attending meetings that aren’t relevant to you or your long-term goals.

How to automate your time management matrix with monday.com

monday.com takes time management matrices to the next level with a beautiful board that adds even more functionality and productivity. In addition to providing an organized and central place for all your tasks, you can assign them to other people and add comments, files, and other pertinent attachments.

You can create custom statuses for each task in separate columns according to urgency and importance- this makes it easy to visualize which tasks to eliminate, delegate, schedule, or complete.

A time management matrix doesn't have to be manual. monday.com can streamline and even automate your task management.

Plus, at a glance, you can see if you or your colleagues have completed the task, are actively working on it, or if someone’s stuck and is in need of assistance.

You can track daily tasks and long-term goals simultaneously. You can also communicate internally on each task and integrate your monday.com boards with the software you use each day to make you even more productive.

Create your custom time management matrix today

As you can see, monday.com took the time management matrix to the next level by adding automation, mobility, and a beautiful visual that makes it easy to see what’s important or urgent at a glance. If you’re ready to dive deep into your quadrant II tasks, then give our Eisenhower Matrix Template a shot.

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Priority matrix: How to identify what matters and get more done

Team Asana contributor image

A priority matrix sorts tasks or projects by a defined set of variables, like urgency and effort. With this tool, team members can quickly determine what to tackle first. In this piece, we’ll discuss various types of priority matrices and explain how you can use them to accomplish more at work.

Project managers must have many skills to keep teams and projects on track. With so many moving parts, one of the hardest tasks is knowing what to tackle first. If a team member has two clients with high-priority projects, how can you help them prioritize and remain successful?

A priority matrix can help you sort your to-do list by things like urgency, importance, or impact. In this piece, we’ll discuss various types of priority matrices and explain how you can use them to accomplish more at work.

What is a priority matrix?

A priority matrix—also known as a prioritization matrix—sorts tasks or projects by a defined set of variables. Priority matrices can be simple or complex and may include anywhere from four quadrants to 20 rows or columns. 

[inline illustration] Simple and complex priority matrices (example)

In a four-quadrant priority matrix, your task may fall into four categories. For example, your quadrants may be:

High impact and high effort

High impact and low effort

Low impact and high effort

Low impact and low effort

By mapping your tasks along a priority matrix, you can determine how and when to tackle each to-do.

Priority matrix vs. Eisenhower matrix

Some people use these terms interchangeably, but a priority matrix is a broader framework that’s more versatile than the Eisenhower matrix model. The Eisenhower matrix is a simple priority matrix that has a time management focus. It maps tasks along a grid based on their urgency and importance.

When using the Eisenhower priority matrix, you’ll sort tasks by:

In an action-centered priority matrix, you’ll sort tasks by:

Investigate

When to use a priority matrix

Priority matrices are helpful when you need a quick solution to sort through and prioritize important initiatives. A priority matrix won’t help you solve complex calculations or actually make data-driven decisions , but it will help you create a map to get things done.

Bring out the priority matrix when you need to:

Prioritize tasks or projects 

Manage your time

Get your team on the same page

The priority matrix can be helpful when mapping out work schedules or workflows . It can also aid in conflict resolution , as it’s sometimes hard for teams to decide which projects or tasks to work on first.

How to use a priority matrix

The priority matrix is a versatile tool, and you can use it in various situations. Whether you’re sorting through your own tasks or managing team projects, the steps below will set you up for success.

[inline illustration] 5 steps to use a priority matrix (infographic)

1. Create a to-do list

The first thing you’ll need to do when using a priority matrix is make a list of things needing prioritization . This may seem like an obvious step, but many people don’t take the time to define their to-do list . By writing down the important tasks you have in front of you, you’ll have an easier time sorting through them and mapping them out. 

Your to-do list can include:

Team meetings

Client calls

Personal chores

You can create separate lists for internal and external work obligations (for example team-facing only and client-facing). You can also keep personal and professional items separate. However, it may be helpful to see how all your to-dos mesh together.

2. Identify your variables

Once you know the scope of your to-do list, determine the variables to measure your items by. To identify these variables, ask yourself: What qualities would a task need to be at the top of my to-do list?

Your answers may be:

It’s important

It has a lot of impact

It requires a lot of time

It requires a lot of effort

The deadline is approaching

Then, choose two of these qualities to measure your tasks. For example, you may decide that deadlines (in other words, urgency) and effort are the variables that apply to most of your projects.

3. Create your matrix

Before creating your priority matrix, decide whether you want it to be simple or complex. Both matrices will measure your tasks by the two variables you’ve chosen, but a complex matrix can help you get more precise about how urgent your tasks are and how much effort they take to complete.

If you choose a complex priority matrix, you may have five columns and five rows versus the standard one quadrant system of a simple matrix. Give your columns and rows labels so you know where to place your tasks according to their level. For example, you can assign levels of urgency and effort from high to low:

Required (5)

Significant (4)

Moderate (3)

Very High (5)

Very Low (1)

[inline illustration] Priority matrix blank (example)

It’s also helpful to assign numerical values to each variable level. That way, you can multiply the corresponding numbers to find your task’s priority level in the grid. Once each of your tasks has a number, you can rank your tasks accordingly. For example, a task that is “required” urgency and “medium” effort would have a priority level of 15.

4. Place tasks in the matrix

Placing tasks in the priority matrix will involve some subjective decision making. Because this tool is a quick solution for getting things done , you’ll need to rely on experience and background knowledge as judgment. Place tasks in their appropriate order along the matrix according to the variables you have selected.

If you have two projects that seem tied in terms of urgency or high effort, dive deeper until you find a reason to prioritize one over the other. This is where other variables may come into play. For example, both tasks may be urgent, but one task may take priority over the other if it’s both urgent and more impactful than the other. 

5. Create an action plan

Once you’ve placed all of your tasks in your priority matrix, you should be able to visualize things more clearly. The matrix will show you what tasks to accomplish first and which tasks you have more time to complete. While this is a good starting point, the best way to expand on your priority matrix is to create an action plan . 

An action plan does more than show you which tasks to complete first—it helps you outline exactly how you’ll accomplish your goals. To create an action plan using the tasks from your priority matrix, you’ll:

Set SMART goals

Allocate resources

Create deadlines and milestones

Monitor and revise your plan as needed

Use task management software to streamline your action plan in a central source of truth. That way, you can communicate and track items with your team.

Priority matrix example

We showed a comparison above between a simple and complex priority matrix. Here’s an example of a complex priority matrix using urgency and effort as two variables of measurement. Numerical values and colors are included to make the tasks easy to sort through.

The original to-do list for this matrix may have looked like this:

Plan team workshop

Finish budget proposal for Client A

Onboard new hire

Send performance reviews to the department head

Write an ebook for company website

Edit whitepaper for Client B

Sign new hire documents

[inline illustration] Priority matrix filled in (example)

A prioritized version of the to-do list would look like this:

Finish budget proposal for Client A (20)

Onboard new hire (15)

Write ebook for company website (15)

Edit whitepaper for Client B (12)

Send performance reviews to the department head (10)

Sign new hire documents (8)

Plan team workshop (6)

Onboarding a new hire and writing an ebook for the company website both have a priority level of 15. Onboarding a new hire would ultimately come first in the to-do list because it’s more urgent than writing the ebook. Urgency is often the most important variable in the priority matrix.

Pair your priority matrix with a task management tool

Using the priority matrix to sort through your tasks is an important step, but only the first one. Now that you know what to do first, it’s time to get to work. When you pair your priority matrix with a task management tool , you’ll feel supported through your workflow from start to finish. Aside from mastering project prioritization, Asana lets you track tasks, delegate subtasks, and set deadlines to make sure projects get done on time.

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Eisenhower's Urgent/Important Principle

Using time effectively, not just efficiently.

By the Mind Tools Content Team

time management task matrix

Imagine that your boss has asked you to prepare an important presentation for the next board meeting.

You only have a few days to put it together, your workload is already high, and you have many other urgent tasks on your To-Do List. Because of this, you're anxious, you can't concentrate, and everything seems to distract you.

Time stressors are some of the most pervasive sources of pressure in the workplace, and they happen as a result of having too much to do, in too little time. So, how can you beat this stress, and deliver the things that are essential to doing a good job?

Eisenhower's Urgent/Important Principle helps you think about your priorities, and determine which of your activities are important and which are, essentially, distractions.

What Is the Difference Between "Urgent" and "Important" in the Eisenhower Matrix?

In a 1954 speech to the Second Assembly of the World Council of Churches, former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was quoting Dr J. Roscoe Miller, president of Northwestern University, said: "I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent." This "Eisenhower Principle" is said to be how he organized his workload and priorities.

He recognized that great time management means being effective as well as efficient. In other words, we must spend our time on things that are important and not just the ones that are urgent. To do this, and to minimize the stress of having too many tight deadlines, we need to understand this distinction:

  • Important activities have an outcome that leads to us achieving our goals, whether these are professional or personal.
  • Urgent activities demand immediate attention, and are usually associated with achieving someone else's goals. They are often the ones we concentrate on and they demand attention because the consequences of not dealing with them are immediate.

When we know which activities are important and which are urgent, we can overcome the natural tendency to focus on unimportant urgent activities, so that we can clear enough time to do what's essential for our success. This is the way we move from "firefighting" into a position where we can grow our businesses and our careers.

How to Use Eisenhower's Principle

To use this principle, list all of the activities and projects that you feel you have to do. Try to include everything that takes up your time at work, however unimportant. (If you manage your time using a to-do list or Action Program, you will have done this already.)

Next, think about each activity and put it into one of four categories, as shown in figure 1, below:

Figure 1 – Eisenhower's Urgent/Important Principle

time management task matrix

Then use the strategies described below to schedule your activities.

1. Important and Urgent

There are two distinct types of urgent and important activities: ones that you could not have foreseen, and others that you've left until the last minute.

You can eliminate last-minute activities by planning ahead and avoiding procrastination .

However, you can't always predict or avoid some issues and crises. Here, the best approach is to leave some time in your schedule to handle unexpected issues and unplanned important activities. (If a major crisis arises, then you'll need to reschedule other tasks.)

If you have a lot of urgent and important activities, identify which of these you could have foreseen, and think about how you could schedule similar activities ahead of time, so that they don't become urgent.

2. Important but Not Urgent

These are the activities that help you achieve your personal and professional goals, and complete important work.

Make sure that you have plenty of time to do these things properly, so that they do not become urgent. Also, remember to leave enough time in your schedule to deal with unforeseen problems. This will maximize your chances of keeping on track, and help you avoid the stress of work becoming more urgent than necessary.

3. Not Important but Urgent

Urgent but not important tasks are things that prevent you from achieving your goals. Ask yourself whether you can reschedule or delegate them.

A common source of such activities is other people. Sometimes it's appropriate to say "no" to people politely, or to encourage them to solve the problem themselves. (Our article 'Yes' to the Person, 'No' to the Task will help here.)

What Is an Example of Not Important but Urgent?

An urgent but not important task might be responding to emails that don't concern you directly, posting to social media, or proofreading a colleague's report. These tasks need to get done, but they may not require your specific skill set.

What Can I Do to Stop Doing Urgent but Unimportant Things?

If you can't delegate or reschedule these tasks, try to have time slots when you are available, so that people know they can speak with you then. A good way to do this is to arrange regular meetings with those who interrupt you often, so that you can deal with all their issues at once. You'll then be able to concentrate on your important activities for longer.

4. Not Important and Not Urgent

These activities are just a distraction – avoid them if possible.

You can simply ignore or cancel many of them. However, some may be activities that other people want you to do, even though they don't contribute to your own desired outcomes. Again, say "no" politely, if you can, and explain why you cannot do it.

If people see that you are clear about your objectives and boundaries , they will often avoid asking you to do "not important" activities in the future.

Eisenhower's Urgent/Important Principle FAQs

What is eisenhower's urgent/important principle, what is the eisenhower matrix.

The Eisenhower Matrix is a frequently used term for the division of activities into four categories: important and urgent, important but not urgent, not important but urgent, and not important and not urgent.

How Can You Use the Eisenhower Matrix?

Once you've divided your tasks based on importance and urgency, prioritize your time accordingly. Make time for important tasks, including those that aren't urgent. Reschedule or delegate unimportant urgent tasks, and avoid, if you can, tasks that are neither important nor urgent.

Tips for Prioritizing Your Tasks

  • Plan ahead when possible.
  • Leave time open to deal with the unexpected.
  • Schedule time regularly to deal with important but not urgent tasks.
  • Delegate less important tasks.
  • Set clear boundaries for activities that serve others but not you.

Eisenhower's Urgent/Important Principle helps you quickly identify the activities that you should focus on, as well as the ones you should ignore.

When you use this tool to prioritize your time, you can deal with truly urgent issues, at the same time as you work towards important, longer-term goals.

To use the tool, list all of your tasks and activities, and put each into one of the following categories:

  • Important and urgent.
  • Important but not urgent.
  • Not important but urgent.
  • Not important and not urgent.

Then schedule tasks and activities based on their importance and urgency.

Eisenhower's Urgent/Important Principle Infographic

See Eisenhower's Urgent/Important Principle represented in our infographic .

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Sowjanya Patwari

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Time management matrix: How to make the most of this useful tool

Time management matrix: How to make the most of this useful tool

Feel like you're constantly putting out fires? Maybe you're always busy yet not making any progress on your goals, or perhaps you tend to procrastinate.

If any of this feels familiar, you're not alone. The chaos of mismanaged time affects everyone at some point, from entrepreneurs to self-learners to parents.

Setting priorities is essential when you have a lot on your plate. The time management matrix is one of the most well-known and highly effective tools for setting priorities and managing time. With this tool, you can categorize your tasks and focus your energy where it matters most.

This guide will help you decode the time management matrix and uncover the secret to utilizing it effectively.

What is the time management matrix?

The time management matrix is a method for managing time to prioritize responsibilities in both our personal and professional lives. This popular productivity tool goes by many names — the Eisenhower Matrix (or Eisenhower Box), the Urgent-Important Matrix, the 7 Habits Matrix, and the 4 Quadrants of Time Management. Despite the tool's many names, its development was guided by two key people.

Founded by Eisenhower

The matrix technique is based on the time management system of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States . Eisenhower believed that people tend to focus on the most urgent and important matters, creating a reactive mentality driven by immediate demands. Instead of focusing on pressing issues, he recommended prioritizing what's most important so we can act strategically for long-term success.

Eisenhower structured his responsibilities according to importance and urgency, categorizing them into sections he called Do First , Schedule , Delegate , and Don't Do . The result was the now-famous " Eisenhower Matrix .”

Refined by Covey

More than half a century later, Dr. Stephen R. Covey revitalized Eisenhower’s time management method in his best-selling book, “ The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People .”

As Covey outlines the importance of managing our time and maximizing productivity, he addresses three different generations of time management tools:

  • First Generation: Notes and Checklists
  • Second Generation: Calendars and Planners
  • Third Generation: Goal Setting and Daily Planning

The author suggests our goal should be to achieve the fourth generation of time management — self-management rather than time management. This fourth-generation approach involves planning on a weekly (instead of daily) schedule, which helps you have a broader perspective and a more contextual understanding of your priorities.

To accomplish this goal, Covey revives Eisenhower's original time management box, incorporating it into the third habit of putting "First Things First." But instead of placing sole emphasis on efficiency, Covey emphasizes the quality and connections among tasks with regards to long-term goals and success.

Understanding the matrix structure

Time management matrix boxes

The Covey time management matrix starts with a simple structure — a box sectioned into four quadrants labeled with four titles. Each quadrant has specific properties:

  • Quadrant 1: Urgent and important
  • Quadrant 2: Not urgent but important
  • Quadrant 3: Urgent but not important
  • Quadrant 4: Not urgent and not important

The time management matrix works by prioritizing your tasks based on their urgency and importance and assigning them to appropriate quadrants.

Importance vs. urgency

Note the two words at the heart of the time management matrix — urgent and important. Understanding these two terms is key to using the matrix effectively.

Identifying urgency is pretty straightforward. Urgent refers to time-sensitive matters that require immediate attention or action. Urgent items are usually right in front of you, demanding your attention like a smoke alarm battery that won't stop beeping. They might be unpleasant — like that annoying beep — or distractingly fun.

Important refers to how valuable and significant a task is for achieving long-term goals. These activities contribute to your success and must be accomplished to make progress. While urgent things are usually apparent, the importance of specific tasks might not be so obvious. Identifying these items requires using your critical thinking skills to look beyond immediate concerns and consider the big picture.

The 4 quadrants of time management

Four quadrants of time management matrix

Time management using the four-quadrant method allows you to visualize your linear to-do list. The matrix is made up of four quadrants (written in either Arabic or Roman numerals), and understanding each is critical to getting the most out of the tool.

Quadrant I — Important and Urgent

Quadrant I is the quadrant for urgent and important tasks. Eisenhower called this the Do First section because its tasks are crucial to your life or career and must be completed quickly.

The tasks listed here are emergencies — things you shouldn’t neglect because they have serious consequences, such as physical or mental harm, missed opportunities, or poor performance. These obligations eat up our focus since they’re crucial and require our attention. These tasks should be rare with good planning, but many people spend too much time here putting out fires.

Examples include:

  • An actual fire
  • Taxes that are due tomorrow
  • A last-minute presentation for a project deadline

Quadrant I is an endless cycle of crisis management. Be careful not to get caught in the loop and spend too much time here, as it can lead to stress and burnout . You can decrease your time in this quadrant by being proactive and prioritizing your tasks so you can focus on the most important things before they become emergencies.

Quadrant II — Important and Not Urgent

The second quadrant contains tasks that are important but not urgent. Since duties in the first quadrant should be rare, most items deemed important will probably fall into this category. Eisenhower named this the Schedule section since these are the tasks we should focus on accomplishing.

Quadrant II should contain the most important tasks related to our long-term goals. These tasks are the core of our progress — the “meat and potatoes.” However, since these items aren't time-sensitive and aren’t likely to yield any tangible benefits right away, they tend to get overlooked. It's easy to put them off until later.

  • A networking lunch with a prospect
  • Making a time management schedule

This quadrant has the most potential to add value to our lives. Accomplishing high-impact Quadrant II tasks requires discipline and making wise time management decisions. Items in Quadrant II can end up in Quadrant I if neglected long enough, something procrastinators often struggle with.

Quadrant III — Not Important and Urgent

This section is for urgent tasks that aren't important for your long-term goals. The items in Quadrant III can be deceptive — they may feel necessary due to their urgency and time sensitivity, but they don't have much impact in the long run. Often, we end up in this quadrant when we tend to other people's priorities and expectations rather than our own.

Delegate was Eisenhower's title for this section since Quadrant III tasks are ideally delegated or automated to free up time for Quadrant II work. Don't ignore these items since they have some significance in the short term. Just determine the best way to handle them quickly so they won't distract from the essential tasks.

Examples are:

  • Most phone calls
  • Routine meetings
  • “Busy” work like emails

The goal is to spend as little time as possible on Quadrant III tasks. This work is usually counterproductive since it’s low on your priority list, unlikely to achieve your goals, and adds clutter to your life.

Quadrant IV — Not Important and Not Urgent

Eisenhower called this fourth and last quadrant Don't Do — and that's precisely what we should learn from this section.

Quadrant IV is the category for tasks that are neither urgent nor important, which means they're likely not worth doing. These activities are time wasters because they're not critical and don't advance our goals. Usually, we use them to procrastinate or avoid doing the things that really matter to us.

  • Scrolling social media
  • Continuing to perfect something that is already done

Quadrant IV is like quicksand. The longer you spend floundering in there, the deeper you get sucked in until you have no energy left. Determine which tasks belong to this quadrant and work to reduce them or eliminate them altogether.

How to use the time management matrix in 4 steps

Leadership concept with ball at the top shelf

Analyzing the time management matrix, it’s clear that it’s a powerful tool. Science agrees. Research has shown that the Eisenhower Matrix effectively improves time management skills in terms of attitude, priorities, and balance. Still, it can be challenging to master this complex system.

One secret key can help you unlock the time management matrix — Quadrant II.

The trick to mastering time management is becoming a “ Quadrant II Self-Manager .” Quadrant II tasks should dominate your weekly schedule to keep you focused on what is most crucial for your goals.

According to Covey, there are four steps to planning a Quadrant II-focused week.

1. Define your roles

First, think about your many roles in daily life and write them down. This includes functions like your position as a family member — husband, wife, parent — and your work and community roles. And don't forget yourself. Your role as an individual is essential too.

If you’ve never taken the time to identify your roles, this is a great exercise that will help you see the bigger picture. Write down the first things that come to mind, and don't worry about the future. Just focus on the present and where you see yourself spending time during the week.

2. Choose your goals

Next, make a list of the goals, projects, and tasks you should focus on in the upcoming week.

Ideally, you’ve already categorized a list of tasks with the time management matrix and just need to pick a few. Quadrant II tasks should dominate your list if you used the matrix correctly since those in Quadrants III and IV were probably delegated, automated, or eliminated.

If you need to create a task list, refer to the list of roles you've identified to help you determine your responsibilities. Covey recommends assigning a couple of tasks from each position to achieve balance. Using this approach, we can be productive and feel fulfilled in all our roles.

Don't worry if you aren't sure of your tasks and roles yet — just schedule what you have. You can always set more goals later.

3. Schedule tasks weekly

Once you have a list of goals and tasks to accomplish, you can plan your week. Take a look at your calendar, planner, or task manager app, and see where you can add each task. Give each activity a dedicated day and time, like an appointment.

After scheduling all your tasks, you may be surprised by how much time is left. Despite feeling busy, we usually have more time than we realize. Prioritizing our schedule to focus on completing the most important tasks usually reveals areas where we've wasted time.

Try adding more activities to achieve your goals if you have free time. Just be careful not to overplan. Give yourself room for unexpected interruptions and changes.

4. Adjust plans daily

After your weekly schedule is organized, managing your daily workload becomes more of an adaptive process. Set a time to review your plan each morning. This serves two purposes:

  • Adapting as needed. A quick review gives you a chance to see if anything needs tweaking. Unexpected things will inevitably arise. Use the matrix to help you determine whether you can fit it into your current schedule or if it can wait until next week. If you're behind, rearrange a few things to make sure you stay on track.
  • Focusing on the big picture. Keeping track of your goals will ensure that you follow your personal mission with a balanced approach to self-management no matter how your week goes. Even just a quick glance at your priorities can gently remind you of the value-based decisions you made when you planned your week.

A time management system that fits your needs and lifestyle is achievable using these steps. When you prioritize your week from a Quadrant II perspective, you can maintain a healthy balance between your personal and professional lives while achieving high productivit y .

Regain control of your time with the management matrix

Highly effective people — like Eisenhower and Covey — use time management skills and tools like the matrix to make their days more productive. The key is that no matter what method of time management you choose, you have to stick with it . Success won’t make you good at managing your time — but good time management can make you successful.

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Time Management Matrix: The Key to Prioritizing Work and Getting the Best Results

Time Management Matrix

Table of Contents

#ezw_tco-2 .ez-toc-widget-container ul.ez-toc-list li.active{ background-color: #ededed; } Table of Contents

Introduction.

If you’re an entrepreneur or work in an office with multiple deadlines, you understand the importance of time management and prioritizing work to get things done correctly.

The quality of your work within the limited time of your day depends on how you manage each task and how effectively you can complete them. 

And this is where many people struggle – knowing which tasks to do first and which tasks are more critical than others.

If you’re also struggling to manage your time, it might be time to try out the Time Management Matrix. David Allen developed the time management matrix, which has since been popularized in his book, Getting Things Done.

According to a recent survey, 44% of Americans say they don’t have enough time to do what they want.

The time management matrix helps you prioritize your work based on the essential tasks you want to achieve in the given time. 

The idea behind the method is simple: if you know what needs to be done and how much time you have, then all you need to do is arrange those tasks according to their urgency and importance so that you can work on them from bottom to top.

This blog will cover everything you need to know about the time management matrix. From what the time management matrix is to tips to make sure you’re using it correctly, we’ll show you the ins and outs of this helpful technique.

So without any further ado, let’s get started.

What Is A Time Management Matrix?

Time management involves planning and controlling how much time you spend on activities.  The Time Management Matrix is a tool that can help you prioritize your work and achieve the best results. 

By distinguishing between urgent, meaningful, and less important tasks, the Time Management Matrix allows you to focus on what’s most important first.

This helps you avoid trying to do everything at once and enables you to complete each task more effectively based on its priority. 

The Time Management Matrix lets you focus on your top priorities and manage your workload better.

The Time Management Matrix is a highly effective tool that allows you to achieve the best results with limited time by prioritizing your work. It helps you know when it’s the right time to move from one task to another, so you don’t waste any time on unimportant tasks.

The best thing about the Time Management Matrix is that it enables you to be more efficient without being interrupted in the middle of any task because you now know what needs to be done first according to its priority level. 

It allows you to allocate appropriate time to each task and avoid feeling stressed or worried.

Now, let’s understand why the Time Management Matrix is important.

—————————————————————————————————————————

Also Read: Stress at Work: Stress Management Techniques to Get You Through the Day

Why Is Time Management Matrix Important For Business?

Time management is important for businesses because it helps them allocate resources efficiently. 

Some of the best reasons for using a time management matrix are listed below:

1) It can help an organization identify which jobs need the most attention.

2) The time management matrix can show when there’s too much work being done in a certain area, indicating that it needs more staff members or support services.

3) The tool can also assist with prioritizing tasks, deciding about which ones will be tackled first, second, third, etc.

4) A well-designed matrix also provides information on how long projects take so you can track them against deadlines.

5) With this valuable information, you can see if you have enough time to complete a project or if it needs rescheduling.

With such benefits, it’s easy to see why all businesses should consider implementing a time management matrix . 

By evaluating your workloads and planning accordingly, you’ll ensure that your company continues running smoothly even when confronted with a sudden work overload.

Let’s now learn

Time Management Matrix – How It Works

The time management matrix is a system that helps you break down your work into four categories:

1. Urgent and important

These urgent and important tasks are assigned the highest priority. You should start with these tasks first because they will bring the greatest benefits to the business and impact the achievement of goals.

2. Urgent but not important

These tasks are assigned a medium priority. They must be completed just after the urgent and important tasks because these projects still require attention, and their completion can help alleviate pressure from higher-priority jobs. 

For example: scheduling meetings or setting deadlines for other employees.

3. Important but not urgent

These tasks should be completed last since they do not need immediate attention. However, their completion will benefit the company over time. 

For example: Tasks in this category could include creating an employee handbook or organizing documents.

4. Not important and not urgent

 These tasks are of low priority and may even be eliminated if there is not enough time left at the end of the day or week. 

For example: Low-priority items might include cleaning out a desk drawer. The key to this category is to work on them only when there’s nothing else left!

The above steps make it easy to see how the time management matrix works. 

If you prioritize your actions using such methods, you will feel more accomplished at the end of each day because you know you are taking care of everything that needs your attention without neglecting any task.

Now let’s understand the

Tips for Getting Started with Time Management Matrix

Step 1 – define your main goal.

Defining your main goal is the first step in creating a time management matrix.  This will help you determine the most important tasks of the day. The next step is to define your urgency levels for each goal.

For example, you should complete urgent items as soon as possible, while other items might not need to be done right away but should still get done before they become too old or forgotten. 

You should consider how long it will take to complete each task when you place them on the matrix to know when it’s best to start working on them.

Once you have placed your goal and essential tasks on the chart, list the time you think it will take to complete each one.

 Then divide these hours into quarters and simply get started with them.

Step 2: Calculate the Time You Need for Each Task

Calculating the time you need for each task is essential to create an effective schedule using employee scheduling software . It will help you understand how long each task will take and help you plan your day accordingly.

To calculate the time you need for each task, first estimate the time it will take to complete the task. Then, add 10% to that number to account for unforeseen circumstances.

For example, if you think a task will take one hour to complete, add six minutes to that estimate. It will give you a buffer in case the task takes longer than expected or something else arises.

Once you have an estimate for each task, add all the estimates to get an idea of how long your day will be and what time you should start working on each task. You may find that some tasks are not worth starting because they don’t fit into your timeline. 

You can then eliminate those tasks from your list so you can focus on what matters most to you and simply get on the tasks that will be worth your time.

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Step 3 – Rank Tasks by Importance

Once you define your goal and calculate the time needed for each task, rank them by importance. 

Start from the bottom of the list, which is your least important task. With every new task, ask yourself: Will this task help me reach my goal? 

If yes, move it up in ranking; if not, leave it where it is. Keep asking this question until you reach your most important tasks.

Once you have ranked your tasks, work on the first one. 

That way, when you work on your next priority task, you will be more productive, as your brain has already warmed up.

For those who feel they do not have enough time for all their tasks, prioritize what needs to be done first (most important), then do the less-important ones later or delegate them to someone else who can take care of them. You will find out how much time you need for each task.

 Once you have prioritized your goals, your decisions about how to spend your time will become clearer.

Step 4 – Track Everything You Do

To measure the accurate spending of your time, it’s important to track everything you do. This includes work tasks, personal errands, and even leisure activities. 

You can use simple employee management software to do this.

Employee management software makes it easy to track how much time you spend on every task during the day and helps you find where the most time is being spent.

For example, if you notice that you have been spending too much time on emails and not enough time on client meetings, then you need to reduce your time on emails to make more room for client meetings.

With some knowledge about where your time is going throughout the day, you can make changes more confidently and find out what works best for you.

Step 5: Celebrate Your Accomplishment

You’ve completed the time management matrix and clearly understand how to prioritize your work. 

Now it’s time to celebrate your accomplishment! Take a few minutes to reflect on what you’ve accomplished and how you’ve grown while completing these tasks.

Congratulate yourself on a job well done. 

Pat your back because you’ve earned it. You’ve managed your time well and accomplished a lot.

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Also Read: How To Measure Productivity Of Employees

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Workstatus: The Best Time Tracking Software

If you find it challenging to manage your time, you can easily lose track of tasks and end up feeling like there are never enough hours in the day. 

The best way to avoid this is by using time tracking software, which helps you monitor how much time you spend on each task and prioritize your work.

Workstatus is the time tracking software that helps you ensure you’re spending your time wisely. Its AI-powered interface allows you to monitor how much time you spend on each task and prioritize them accordingly so that all your projects get equal attention.

You can also see the average time allocated to each project or take a quick snapshot of how you’ve been doing at the start of any week, month, or year. 

These features make it easy for anyone to plan their workload and get some control over their schedule, ensuring they don’t feel stressed because they couldn’t manage their time well enough.

Keep track of hours spent on projects.

So, what are you waiting for? 

Get your free 7-day trial here and experience the power of Workstatus for yourself!

The key to successful time management is knowing how to prioritize your work. 

The Time Management Matrix can help you do so. 

Use it to evaluate each task and determine whether it’s a high-payoff or low-payoff activity. Then follow the rules of the matrix to get the best results from every hour.

That’s all for today.

We hope this blog post helped you understand the time management matrix and its importance.

 If you have ‌questions about anything, ‌leave them in the comments below. We would love to answer your queries.

Also, don’t forget to share this post with anyone who could benefit from learning more about time management.

Stay tuned for our next blog post.

Until next time, keep learning and reading.

You can also use time tracking software like Workstatus to monitor progress on every task.

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The inside out of time management matrix.

time management task matrix

How often do you find yourself all over the place during the week? 

While sometimes you might be spreading yourself too thin to break the records, you are usually not short of time if you know how to spend it.

We are often intimidated by the most impactful tasks, and so we keep postponing them for a later time. In doing so, we fall prey to that nasty trap of procrastination that drifts our minds away from what is important to what appears to be urgent but is mostly unimportant. 

time management task matrix

If you have been trying to improve your time management and organizational skills, you need to explore the time management matrix today. It might not be the time turner that allowed Hermione Granger to turn back time and take multiple classes at a time, but it can definitely help you set, plan, and prioritize your tasks to increase the likelihood of completing them within deadlines!

Simply put, it is a time management model that helps you organize your daily matters based on the two dimensions of time management: importance and urgency. From this perspective, you divide your tasks into four quadrants and practice planning for a more fulfilling personal and professional life. 

  • Waste of time directly results from a lack of prioritization.
  • Knowing the difference between the important and the urgent is essential for effective time management.
  • Everything you do in a day can be categorized into the four quadrants of the time management matrix.
  • Identify the tasks that require immediate attention and focus on completing those that impact your goals.
  • Automated time-tracking tools can assist you in identifying time wasters and distractions.

What is a Time Management Matrix?

We all know that time management is the key to a productive life. So why do we often struggle with it?

When we have a long list of chores on our to-do list, we instinctively take up the ones that are easy to do and provide a temporary sense of accomplishment. It's like chasing after that dopamine hit without putting in much effort. That's the human psyche.

But at the end of the day, we realize that what we have accomplished is of little value.

Stephen R. Covey introduced a time management framework to counter this tendency in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People .

The time management matrix aids in task organization, categorization, and subsequent completion in accordance with priority and urgency. The basic rule is to identify the difference between things that have a greater impact on your goals versus things that appear to be urgent.

time management task matrix

This particular time management grid is structured around organizing tasks in four quadrants in order of importance and urgency, providing you with a well-defined sense of priority:

  • Quadrant 1: tasks that are urgent and important
  • Quadrant 2: tasks that are important but not urgent
  • Quadrant 3: tasks that are not important but urgent
  • Quadrant 4: tasks that are neither important nor urgent

How Does it Affect Your Productivity?

In today's fast-paced work environment, where the average employee’s daily productivity is only 2 hours and 53 minutes , finding dedicated time for focused work can be challenging amidst restroom breaks, social media distractions, coworker interactions, and constant inflow of interruptions.

The time management matrix is a valuable tool for understanding your priorities and goals when you are struggling with distractions, procrastination, or an overwhelming feeling.

By providing a structured framework for organizing goals, the time management matrix enables you to concentrate on achieving them rather than wasting excessive time planning for them. 

Developing effective time management habits in personal and professional life can reduce stress levels, improve work quality, and enhance career prospects. The time management matrix allows individuals to prioritize tasks more effectively, enabling them to allocate their limited time and resources to the most important activities.

The most notable benefit of using this powerful tool is the heightened awareness and consideration given to one's to-do list, resulting in a clearer mental organization of tasks. By understanding the four quadrants of classification based on relevance and urgency, individuals gain clarity of purpose in their obligations.

How to Categorize Tasks In Each Quadrant

Let's dive deeper into how to work through each quadrant:

Quadrant 1: Important and Urgent

The first quadrant is devoted to pressing and significant matters. Various tasks may fall into this category that demands immediate attention. In these cases, you might face serious consequences or setbacks if you do not respond quickly. 

Things that are urgent or important are frequently called "firefighting" situations. As the term suggests, these tasks should be your top priority: Drop everything you are doing and jump into action with all your concerted effort and energy to tackle these matters first.

They could be: 

  • Project deadlines : Completing a website development project before the launch date to ensure a smooth online presence
  • Unforeseen engagements: Handling an urgent client request to maintain client satisfaction and meet their immediate needs

Quadrant 2: Important, But Not Urgent

Tasks and activities typically part of long-term goals and personal or professional development are placed in the second quadrant of the time management matrix. These projects require persistent effort and regular input for you to meet their objectives.

You can schedule these projects with the help of a to-do list, monthly progress charts, or digital time-tracking tools. These tasks might not have a deadline or urgency, but they significantly impact your long-term goals .

Some of the examples include:

  • Getting professional training: Participating in professional development programs or conferences for career advancement
  • Setting long-term goals: Reviewing personal and professional objectives to work towards over an extended period
  • Maintaining relationships: Engaging in regular communication with friends, family, and business partners to strengthen relationships
  • Taking care of physical and mental health: Incorporating regular exercise routines or physical activities into your schedule

If you find yourself in a situation where all your important tasks also appear to be urgent, it indicates that you have not maintained the distinction between them. It might create a backlog of crucial tasks on your to-do list. These tasks can gradually become overwhelming due to prolonged postponement or procrastination.

time management task matrix

Quadrant 3: Urgent, But Unimportant

Put urgent but unimportant tasks in the third quadrant of this time management model. These can be things that you must take care of but are not crucially important for your personal goals.

For instance, You snag a moment to take a business call while spending time with your family after work. Other examples could be:

  • Replying to non-urgent emails or texts
  • Engaging in excessive social media usage.

Once you have identified these time-wasters, setting a time limit for these tasks is important. You can also tackle these unimportant engagements by automating batch processing and outsourcing external services.             

time management task matrix

Quadrant 4: Neither Important Nor Urgent

The last quadrant of the time management matrix focuses on all the activities that are a waste of time but we nevertheless engage in them. These activities include browsing social media on your phone, watching TV, or playing video games, which are a regular part of our life. 

Although we can't completely subtract them, we can identify them as guilty pleasures and work on spending the least amount of time possible there. Putting them in the last quadrant can also remind us to check ourselves and prevent overindulgence. 

time management task matrix

Strategies for Working through Time Management Matrix

The time management matrix is useful only if you know how to apply it effectively. Here are some effective strategies to work through the four quadrants of the time management matrix:

1. Identify Your Priorities

First things first, to ensure that the categorization of tasks is flawless, it is crucial to set your priorities straight. The basic purpose of this method is to prompt you to consciously evaluate the impact of what you do in a day.

See if your priorities are in line with your goals and aspirations. By reorganizing your To-Do list according to the time management matrix, you can instantly discern which tasks require immediate attention and focus.

For instance, fulfilling client commitments remains a higher priority for corporate workers due to its direct impact on business outcomes. In comparison, internal meetings and training sessions can be flexibly managed without compromising client obligations.

time management task matrix

The Time Management Matrix is a dynamic tool requiring continuous task classification. A helpful strategy is to develop a habit of instant categorization of daily tasks based on their impact and consequences. It helps you place tasks in the respective quadrants, focusing mainly on the first two. Quadrant three tasks are delegated, and quadrant four tasks can be disregarded with experience.

2. Schedule Dedicated Time Slots

The next step is to proactively schedule dedicated time blocks for important tasks to prevent them from becoming urgent. Spending more time on important but not urgent tasks (second quadrant) reduces the need to tackle urgent and important issues (first quadrant). Set specific deadlines and create a timeline to ensure progress on long-term projects.

Staying prepared and working ahead helps conserve energy for unforeseen problems and emergencies. Identify important tasks and create uninterrupted space for them. Maintaining a state of flow and concentrated focus for extended periods enhances productivity.

3. Automate, Delegate, and Outsource 

Assess tasks that can be delegated to others, empowering them to take ownership while freeing up your valuable time. By entrusting capable team members or colleagues with responsibilities, you will lighten your workload and foster their growth and development.

Delegating tasks allows you to focus on critical responsibilities and creates opportunities for others to contribute and showcase their skills.

You can also leverage time-saving tools; automation can significantly streamline your workflow. Identify areas where technology can help automate repetitive or administrative tasks, such as project management tools, email filters, or task scheduling software.

By embracing these tools, you can reduce manual effort and increase efficiency, enabling you to save valuable time and redirect it towards more critical and meaningful work.

For tasks that cannot be automated or delegated within your team, outsourcing becomes a valuable option. By outsourcing these tasks to freelancers and virtual assistants, you can utilize the expertise of professionals who specialize in specific areas, freeing up your time and allowing you to focus on high-value activities that require your unique skills and attention.

4. Eliminate Distractions

It's crucial to regularly evaluate tasks and activities that don't contribute to your objectives or personal growth. Identify and limit time spent on unproductive activities such as excessive social media browsing or unnecessary meetings. One effective way to combat distractions is by using anti-distraction apps, which help you focus on important tasks by preventing meaningless activities from highjacking your time or interrupting your workflow.

time management task matrix

These apps can be particularly helpful in managing self-distracting behaviors by blocking specific websites or limiting non-work-related browsing during designated work hours. While anti-distraction tools are not foolproof solutions, they can encourage you to fight the impulse to engage in time-wasting activities.

You can use them as valuable reminders and support systems to keep you on track, allowing you to allocate your time and energy to tasks that truly matter and contribute to your success.

Time Management Matrix in Action! Has It Helped People Increase Productivity?

Covey’s matrix time management concept has helped many individuals increase their productivity and achieve greater success in various fields. We have examples of astoundingly successful people who embraced the principles of the Time Management Matrix in their unique ways. 

The co-founder of Microsoft and one of the world's most accomplished individuals, Bill Gates, is known for his disciplined approach to time management. He has credited time blocking and prioritization for enabling him to accomplish tasks effectively, focus on important projects, and allocate time for personal growth and reflection.

And who doesn’t know Elon Musk? 

The visionary entrepreneur behind companies like Tesla and SpaceX is famous for his ambitious goals and relentless work ethic. Musk has emphasized the significance of “timeboxing” to achieve his ambitious targets. By planning his tasks based on their priority, he has navigated numerous projects simultaneously and made significant advancements in various industries.

Google's co-founder, Sergey Brin, advocates for minimizing distractions by setting specific times for checking emails and avoiding constant interruptions. He cautions against letting social media, particularly Facebook, consume excessive time by limiting usage to short periods or logging out completely.

These and many more real-life instances demonstrate how the time matrix can be a powerful tool for anyone seeking to enhance productivity and manage their time while maintaining a work-life balance.

Integrating Time Management Matrix with Time Tracking and Productivity Tools

Time-tracking and productivity management software provides valuable assistance in implementing the principles of the Time Management Matrix. These tools enable you to track and analyze your time usage, allocate tasks to specific quadrants, and gain insights into your productivity patterns , ultimately helping you make informed decisions and optimize your time management strategies.

time management task matrix

With smart time-tracking software, you can;

  •  keep track of work progress
  •  set objectives and make schedules,
  •  analyse your productivity levels.

Being more self-aware, you feel empowered to check and improve the inconsistencies in your behavior.

How to use the Time Management Matrix with time tracking and productivity tools

You can divide tasks more skillfully into the four quadrants by combining this matrix with time-tracking tools.

A smart time-tracking and project management tool like timegram offers data-driven insights that help you prioritize tasks intelligently based on their importance and urgency. With the help of daily or weekly progress reports, you may prevent urgent but less significant chores from taking priority over critical ones. 

time management task matrix

By keeping track of the time spent on each work, you can see how your productivity levels affect your task completion rate. This information allows you to streamline processes, reduce distractions, and increase productivity .

Combining a time-tracking tool with the time management matrix ensures that urgent and significant jobs (Quadrant 1) receive quick attention and those that are important but not urgent (Quadrant 2) are planned ahead of time.

The time management matrix helps you create a productive routine by prioritizing your tasks based on their importance and urgency. You can actualize your true potential by focusing on things that contribute to your long-term goals and objectives.

Working ahead of your schedule allows you to deal with any unforeseen calling and creates room for a better work-life balance.

timegram helps you categorize, plan, schedule and manage your tasks by providing valuable insights into your activity patterns. It enables you to identify time-wasting tendencies and align your objectives with how you spend your time.

Automated time-tracking can streamline your management processes by removing the repetitive and urgent but less important tasks from your to-do list. 

Learn more about our key features , and sign up today for free!

What are the time management matrix dimensions?

The time management matrix consists of two dimensions:

1. Importance: This dimension evaluates the significance or impact of a task on your goals, values, and priorities. Important tasks contribute to your long-term objectives and align with your values.

2. Urgency: This dimension measures the time sensitivity of a task, indicating how quickly it needs to be addressed. Urgent tasks often have immediate deadlines or consequences if not completed promptly.

What are the 4 Ds of time management?

The 4 Ds of time management are:

1. Do : Take immediate action on important and urgent tasks.

2. Delegate : Assign tasks to others if they can be completed by someone else.

3. Defer : Postpone tasks that are not urgent or important at the moment but still need to be addressed.

4. Delete : Eliminate tasks that are neither important nor urgent, freeing up your time for more valuable activities.

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Sidra Ali Shah

Sidra is a research scholar and a philosophy nerd who fell in love with language at a very young age. She believes it's words and their combinations that make the world go round. In her free time, she likes to brainstorm with her children.

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Prioritizing for Productivity: Leveraging the Eisenhower Matrix

By Wrike Team , October 5, 2023 - 10 min read

In today's fast-paced world, juggling multiple tasks and responsibilities has become the norm for many individuals. Whether you're a professional striving to meet deadlines or a student managing various commitments, effective prioritization is key to maintaining productivity. One tool that can greatly assist in this endeavor is the Eisenhower Matrix. This article will delve into the concept behind the Eisenhower Matrix, its importance in boosting productivity, how to apply it to your daily tasks, and strategies for overcoming common challenges. By leveraging the Eisenhower Matrix, you can maximize your productivity and achieve your goals efficiently.

Understanding the Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix is a powerful tool for effective time management and productivity. Named after former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was renowned for his exceptional organizational skills, this concept has become widely popular in various fields. It encourages individuals to evaluate tasks based on two dimensions: importance and urgency. Importance refers to the significance of a task in relation to one's goals and values, while urgency refers to the time sensitivity or deadline associated with a task.

By considering both importance and urgency, individuals can gain a holistic view of their tasks and make informed decisions on how to allocate their time and resources. The goal is to focus on tasks that are both important and urgent, while minimizing or eliminating tasks that are neither.

Post it notes arranged in a square

The Four Quadrants 

The Eisenhower Matrix divides tasks into four distinct quadrants, each representing a different combination of importance and urgency. Let's explore each quadrant in more detail:

Quadrant 1: Urgent and Important

The first quadrant consists of tasks that are both urgent and important. These tasks require immediate attention and should be dealt with promptly to avoid negative consequences. Examples of tasks in this quadrant include deadlines, critical meetings, and urgent requests from clients or supervisors.

When tasks fall into this quadrant, it is crucial to prioritize them and allocate the necessary resources to complete them efficiently. Procrastination or neglecting tasks in this quadrant can lead to increased stress, missed opportunities, and potential damage to one's reputation or professional relationships.

Quadrant 2: Important but Not Urgent

The second quadrant includes tasks that are important but not necessarily urgent. These tasks contribute to long-term goals and require careful planning and execution. Examples include strategic planning, skill development, and relationship building.

Tasks in this quadrant often involve activities that are proactive and contribute to personal growth, career advancement, or the achievement of long-term objectives. While they may not have immediate deadlines, neglecting tasks in this quadrant can lead to missed opportunities, stagnation, or being overwhelmed by urgent tasks in the future.

Quadrant 3: Urgent but Not Important

The third quadrant comprises tasks that are urgent but not particularly important. These tasks often involve distractions or interruptions that can hinder productivity if not managed effectively. Examples include unnecessary phone calls, non-essential meetings, or responding to unimportant emails.

Tasks in this quadrant can be deceptive as they create a sense of urgency, but they do not contribute significantly to one's goals or priorities. It is essential to be mindful of these tasks and find ways to minimize or delegate them, allowing more time and energy for tasks that truly matter.

Quadrant 4: Not Urgent and Not Important

The fourth and final quadrant consists of tasks that are neither urgent nor important. These tasks are essentially time-wasters and should be minimized or eliminated altogether. Examples include excessive social media usage, aimless web browsing, or engaging in unproductive conversations.

Tasks in this quadrant can be tempting distractions that consume valuable time and energy without providing any meaningful value. It is crucial to be aware of these tasks and consciously avoid falling into the trap of unproductive behaviors.

The Importance of Prioritization in Productivity

Prioritization plays a crucial role in enhancing productivity and ensuring that important objectives are met. It enables individuals to allocate their time and energy towards the most impactful tasks, allowing them to make the most out of their limited resources.

The Role of Prioritization in Time Management

Effective time management is all about making conscious choices about how to spend your time. Prioritization is a key component of this process as it helps individuals identify and focus on tasks that align with their goals and values.

By prioritizing tasks, individuals can ensure that they are dedicating their time and energy to activities that have the greatest impact. This not only increases productivity but also helps individuals achieve a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction in their work.

Moreover, prioritization allows individuals to allocate their time in a way that balances their personal and professional lives. By identifying and prioritizing tasks that are important to them, individuals can create a more harmonious and fulfilling lifestyle.

How Prioritization Boosts Efficiency

One of the key benefits of prioritization is that it boosts efficiency. By focusing on high-priority tasks, individuals can minimize distractions and increase their concentration on the task at hand.

When individuals have a clear understanding of what needs to be accomplished and prioritize accordingly, they can work more efficiently. This targeted approach to work allows individuals to complete tasks within designated time frames, reducing the risk of procrastination and ensuring that deadlines are met.

What's more, prioritization helps in decision-making. When faced with multiple options or opportunities, knowing how to evaluate their importance and urgency enables individuals to make informed choices. This not only saves time but also leads to better outcomes.

Person writing in a daily planner

Applying the Eisenhower Matrix to Your Daily Tasks

The Eisenhower Matrix is a powerful tool that can help you prioritize and manage your tasks effectively. By categorizing your tasks based on their importance and urgency, you can make informed decisions about how to allocate your time and energy. 

Identifying Your Tasks

Before you can apply the Eisenhower Matrix, you need to have a comprehensive list of all your tasks. This includes both professional and personal commitments. It's important to capture every task, no matter how small or trivial it may seem. Sometimes, even the smallest tasks can have a significant impact on your overall productivity.

Once you have your list of tasks, it's time to assess the importance and urgency of each one. Consider the potential impact of each task on your goals or responsibilities. Think about whether the task is crucial for your long-term success or if it can be postponed without any negative consequences. Additionally, take into account any deadlines or time constraints associated with each task.

Sorting Tasks into the Eisenhower Matrix

Now that you have your list of tasks and their respective importance and urgency, it's time to sort them into the four quadrants of the Eisenhower Matrix. Refer to the explanation above to determine which quadrant each task should fall under.

Remember, the Eisenhower Matrix is a dynamic tool that requires regular review and adjustment. As new tasks arise or priorities shift, it's important to reassess and reorganize your task list accordingly. By consistently applying the Eisenhower Matrix, you can enhance your productivity, reduce stress, and achieve greater success in both your personal and professional life.

Overcoming Common Challenges in Using the Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix is a powerful tool for prioritizing tasks and managing time effectively. However, like any system, it comes with its own set of challenges. 

Dealing with Overlapping Priorities

One common challenge when using the Eisenhower Matrix is dealing with overlapping priorities. Sometimes, tasks may fall into multiple quadrants, making it difficult to determine their true importance and urgency. In such cases, it is important to consider the potential consequences of not addressing each task and use your best judgment to prioritize accordingly.

For example, let's say you have a task that falls into both the "Important and Urgent" quadrant and the "Important but Not Urgent" quadrant. In this situation, you may need to evaluate the potential impact of not addressing the task immediately versus delaying it for a later time. Consider factors such as deadlines, dependencies, and the long-term goals associated with each task.

Additionally, it can be helpful to have open and transparent communication with stakeholders or team members who may be affected by the overlapping priorities. By discussing the situation and seeking input from others, you can gain valuable insights and make more informed decisions about how to prioritize your tasks effectively.

Managing Time-Sensitive Tasks

Time-sensitive tasks, such as deadlines or urgent requests, can feel overwhelming when they pile up. To manage these tasks effectively, it is important to break them down into smaller, actionable steps. This approach allows you to tackle them systematically without feeling overwhelmed.

Start by identifying the specific actions required to complete each time-sensitive task. Break them down into smaller, manageable tasks that can be accomplished within a reasonable timeframe. This not only helps you stay organized but also provides a sense of progress as you complete each step.

Additionally, consider leveraging tools such as calendars or task management applications to set reminders and allocate specific time slots for completing these tasks. By scheduling dedicated time for each task, you can ensure that they receive the attention they deserve without sacrificing the completion of other important tasks.

Lastly, it is crucial to practice effective time management techniques such as prioritizing tasks based on their importance and urgency, minimizing distractions, and delegating tasks when necessary. By adopting these strategies, you can better manage your time-sensitive tasks and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Maximizing Productivity with the Eisenhower Matrix

To ensure the continued effectiveness of the Eisenhower Matrix, it is essential to regularly review and adjust your priorities. As circumstances change or new tasks arise, reassess the importance and urgency of each task and adjust their placement in the matrix accordingly. This ongoing evaluation helps you stay focused and adaptable in a dynamic environment.

Also, while the Eisenhower Matrix is a powerful tool on its own, pairing it with other productivity tools can further enhance your efficiency. Combining the matrix with a task management system helps you track the progress of your tasks and ensure their completion. On the other hand, adopting time management techniques such as Pomodoro or time blocking can complement the matrix by providing structured time slots for different types of tasks.

Prioritize for Productivity with Wrike

Leveraging the Eisenhower Matrix for prioritizing tasks is like having a compass for a journey. It guides your actions and ensures that you focus on important and urgent tasks. However, managing these matrices across multiple projects can be complex.

This is where Wrike steps in. Within Wrike, you can easily create folders for each project or matrix. These folders can serve as a place where you can store task details, priority rankings, and even your time management strategies. This structured approach brings focus and productivity to your tasks, much like a well-used compass.

And when it comes to the other documents and workflows your business needs — whether it's task management or team collaboration — Wrike has you covered with robust project management features and ready-to-use templates. Ready to prioritize for productivity? Start your free trial of Wrike today.

Note: This article was created with the assistance of an AI engine. It has been reviewed and revised by our team of experts to ensure accuracy and quality.

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Priority planning

Priority Planner for Effective People

Priority Planner for Highly Effective People

Written by October 01, 2018

✎ Edit Post

People do things differently, but do you know what most of us have in common?

We do the most urgent things first, not considering if it’s the most important. You may say yes, it’s normal because that is how things are usually done.

The truth is you’re wrong. Here’s why: There are classifications in everything you do in life.

First is the urgency of the matter (urgent or not urgent) and second, by its importance (important or not important).

We can then create these time management quadrants:

Time Management Matrix Important not important information

  • Matters that are Important and Urgent . These are things such as crises, emergencies, or deadlines. Remember that business proposal you worked overtime because it’s due the next day? This is an example of a matter that should be done right now. But it was stressful, right? But remember it was given weeks before the deadline? This is to point out how important matters should be addressed before they become urgent to avoid stress and conflicts.
  • Matters that are Important but Not Urgent. This is where you should focus and spend your time. It is all about planning. Addressing these matters helps you do the task more effectively. And in doing so, you actually learn more out of those tasks. This is a quadrant of opportunities, opportunities to learn, to improve yourself or your relationship with people, and see what’s in store for you.
  • Matters that are Not Important but Urgent . This is where most of us sit. We tend to focus on matters that are urgent without thinking if it’s important. The problem with this is we lose track of the important matters. That phone call amidst your date with your wife. It deviates you from what you should be prioritizing at the moment. It affects your priorities just because it’s urgent.
  • Lastly are matters that are Not Important and Not Urgent. Obviously, these are what they call time wasters. Thus, these are mostly matters you shouldn’t spend so much time on, like that mindless Facebook-scrolling or binge-watching movies. These matters aren’t really that helpful to you so it would be useful to limit your time on these things.

This decision matrix, also known as the 4 Quadrants of Time Management matrix, is the brainchild of Dwight Eisenhower, the decorated army general and President of the United States.

He said we should identify ourselves with several roles. You can be a husband, a mother, a daughter, or a businessman.

These roles can change though. They depend on what you consider as a priority. These priorities would serve as guides for the tasks at hand for each role.

Let’s say your priority as of the moment is being a mother, you then spend more time taking care of your children.

Additionally, other roles would need to cope with the change in priority. Your awareness for each role and your priority lets you balance everything.

Also, if you are looking to better manage time - consider investing in time tracking software or a time planner app for yourself and your team. With an app that helps you keep track of time spent on tasks, you can analyze what tasks consume most of your work hours, what are the priorities for your team, and how you can cut down on time spent to get things done.

All in all, Eisenhower’s purpose for the four Quadrants time matrix is to achieve real progress in life. Life isn’t just about being an employee or a boss. It’s a mix of everything. By ensuring harmony between the roles, we can achieve our goals.

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Time Management Skills

Have you ever wondered how it is that some people seem to have enough time to do everything that they want to, whereas others are always rushing from task to task, and never seem to finish anything?

It cannot just be that some people have less to do. It’s much more likely that they are using their time more effectively: in other words, showing good time management skills.

Time management is the ability to use your time productively and efficiently. You could also think of it as the art of having time to do everything that you need, without feeling stressed about it. It sounds simple, but it is much harder in practice.

This page explains some of the principles behind good time management.

The Importance of Time Management

Time management skills are essential because few, if any, of us ever have enough time to do everything that is asked of us, or that we want to do.

Time management is defined as using your time productively and efficiently—but what about when you are working as productively as possible, and you still can’t get everything done? It may be better to think about time management as a combination of working productively and prioritising your time.

In other words, people who are good at time management are good at getting on and doing things. They are also, however, better at prioritising , and working out what really needs doing—and then discarding the other things.

They can do this because they understand the difference between urgent and important.

‘ Urgent’ tasks demand your immediate attention, but whether you actually give them that attention may or may not matter.

'Important' tasks matter, and not doing them may have serious consequences for you or others.

For example:

Answering the phone is urgent . If you don’t do it, the caller will ring off, and you won’t know why they called—and it might be important. It may also, however, be an automated voice telling you that you may be eligible for compensation for having been mis-sold insurance. That’s not important.

Going to the dentist regularly is important (or so we’re told). If you don’t, you may get gum disease, or other problems. But it’s not urgent. If you leave it too long, however, it may become urgent because you may get toothache.

Picking your children up from school is both urgent and important . If you are not there at the right time, they will be waiting in the playground or the classroom, worrying about where you are. You may also inconvenience others such as teachers who are waiting with your children for you to arrive.

Reading funny emails or checking Facebook is neither urgent nor important . So why is it the first thing that you do each day? See our page minimising distractions to help you recognise and avoid other things that may distract you from getting your urgent and important tasks done.

This distinction between urgent and important is the key to prioritising your time and your workload, whether at work, at home or when studying.

It enables you to work out what to do first, and what can be left either until later, or not done at all. For example, if you leave an urgent but unimportant task, you may find that it becomes unnecessary.

Using a grid like the priority matrix below can help you to organise your tasks into their appropriate categories:

The Priority Matrix helps you categorise tasks depending on their urgency and importance.

Using the Priority Matrix

To use the priority matrix, it is best to review your tasks on a daily basis. Each day, ask yourself:

Which of my tasks needs doing within the next 48 hours?

Those are the ‘Urgent’ tasks.

Of the urgent tasks, which ones are more important?

It is a good idea to list your tasks in order of importance, rather than giving them an absolute ‘important/not important’ distinction.

Of the non-urgent tasks, which ones are more important?

Again, it is a good idea to list them in order, rather than giving them an absolute distinction.

Now use the answers to these questions to allocate your tasks to the boxes in the priority matrix, following these rules:

Each box should contain no more than about seven or eight tasks .

Start with the ‘Do Now’ box .

Crucially, don’t put off urgent or important things just because they are unpleasant. They won’t get any better for procrastinating.

If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the BIGGEST one first.

Next, look at the less urgent but still important tasks . Decide what you are going to do about them, and then schedule time into your diary to do them, or consider delegating them to someone else.

Delegate the urgent but easier/less important tasks.

Now eliminate the non-urgent and non-important tasks.

Finally, do the work. Start your ‘Do Now’ list. When you finish it, move onto the scheduled work or tasks.

If there are more tasks that you can manage in any quadrant, it is time to a) do some, b) delegate some or c) eliminate some.

Regular pruning of your matrix in this way will ensure that you can focus on what really matters, and keep work flowing.

An individual judgement

The urgency and/or importance of a task is not absolute. Only you can decide what you really think is important or urgent.

Some people, for example, prefer to wait until they are asked a second time for a piece of work before they start to do it. If they are never asked again, they never start the work—they simply decide that it is not important enough to anyone for them to spend the time.

Remember, too, that you and your health are important . Just because you have lots to do doesn’t mean that doing some exercise, going for a 10-minute walk or making time to eat properly is not important. You should not ignore your physical or mental health in favour of more 'urgent' activities.

Urgency and/or importance is not a fixed status. You should review your task list regularly to make sure that nothing should be moved up because it has become more urgent and/or important.

What can you do if an important task continually gets bumped down the list by more urgent, but still important tasks?

First, consider whether it is genuinely important. Does it actually need doing at all, or have you just been telling yourself that you ought to do it?

If it really is important, then consider delegating it. See our page on Delegating Skills for more.

Case Study: A Win-Win Situation from Delegating

Jenny was the leader of a busy, highly reactive team, with constant and urgent demands on her time. She knew that she needed to think about the longer-term strategy for her team , but it was very hard to set aside the time.

In a development discussion, Sara, one of her team, expressed her desire to do some more strategic work to build up her skills. Jenny saw an opportunity for both of them, and offered Sara the opportunity to map out the strategy for the team.

Sara jumped at the chance and produced a carefully-considered plan which was a great foundation for further work.

Personal vs. Professional

What about the balance between personal and professional priorities? There are two ways to manage this:

Include both in the same matrix

Advantages: your personal items do not get lost.

Disadvantages: you will need to find a balance between work and personal items.

Use two separate matrices, and allocate separate time slots for dealing with each

Advantages: means that you can deal with both, with a realistic view about urgency.

Disadvantages: can get quite complicated.

It is really up to you which you choose—the key is to make it work for you.

Further Principles of Good Time Management

The priority matrix is therefore key to prioritising your workload. However, time management is more than just prioritisation: it is also about being able to work more productively. There are a number of other ways in which you can improve your efficiency and productivity.

For some of us, clutter can be both a real distraction and genuinely depressing.

Tidying up can improve both self-esteem and motivation. You will also find it easier to stay on top of things if your workspace is tidy, and you keep your systems up to date.

Top Tip for Tidying:

Create three piles of your stuff: Keep, Give Away, and Throw Away.

  • Keep , if you need to keep it for your records, or do something with it. If it needs action, add it to your task list.
  • Give away , if you don’t want it, but someone else might be able to use it, and/or it is work that can and should be delegated.
  • Throw away (or recycle) for things that have no value to you or anyone else.

Use A ‘To Do’ List

Whether electronic or paper, lists are a good way to remember what you’ve got to do, and to see at a glance what you’ve forgotten.

Consider highlighting the most important items in some way, and remember to take things off your list when they are complete and/or no longer need doing.

Pick Your Moment

All of us have times of day that we work better. It’s best to schedule the difficult tasks for those times.

However, you also need to schedule in things that need doing at particular times, like meetings, or a trip to the post office.

Another useful option is to have a list of important but non-urgent small tasks that can be done in that odd ten minutes between meetings: might it be the ideal time to send that email confirming your holiday dates?

Top Tip: Using Scheduling Technology

Some people still prefer to use a paper diary and to-do list—and that’s fine.

However, for those who like technology, there are now plenty of tools available to help you with scheduling. Apps like Doodle, Calendly, Microsoft Bookings and Google Calendar can help you to schedule your work, and also make appointments with others.

You can also provide pre-set appointment slots for others to book meetings with you, keeping the rest of your diary hidden. This means you can schedule in ‘me-time’ or family time without worrying what anyone will think, or whether they will try to override your priorities.

This allows you to automate your meetings, without handing over control of your time to anyone else.

Don’t Procrastinate, but Do Ask Why You’re Tempted

If a task is genuinely urgent and important, get on with it.

If, however, you find yourself making excuses about not doing something, ask yourself why.

You may be doubtful about whether you should be doing the task at all. Perhaps you’re concerned about the ethics, or you don’t think it’s the best option.  If so, you may find that others agree. Talk it over with colleagues or your manager, if at work, and family or friends at home, and see if there is an alternative that might be better.

Don’t Try to Multi-task

Generally, people aren’t very good at multi-tasking, because it takes our brains time to refocus.

It’s much better to finish off one job before moving onto another. If you do have to do lots of different tasks, try to group them together, and do similar tasks consecutively.

Stay Calm and Keep Things in Perspective

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to stay calm. Feeling overwhelmed by too many tasks can be very stressful. Remember that the world will probably not end if you fail to achieve your last task of the day, or leave it until tomorrow, especially if you have prioritised sensibly.

Going home or getting an early night, so that you are fit for tomorrow, may be a much better option than meeting a self-imposed or external deadline that may not even matter that much.

Take a moment to pause and get your life and priorities into perspective, and you may find that the view changes quite substantially!

Continue to: How to Write a To-Do List Organising Skills

See also: Minimising Distractions Avoiding Procrastination Work-Life Balance

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What Is Time Management? 6 Strategies to Better Manage Your Time

Manage your time to reduce stress, raise productivity, and increase well-being with these tips.

[Featured image] A black woman and white man stand in front of several calendars discussing time management.

In school, work, and daily life, we may encounter people who seem to have it all together. They are productive, stress-free, high achievers. But chances are, they were not born that way. Managing, organizing, and distributing time are skills that we can learn. Doing so can help you control your time and promote overall satisfaction.

Here are some tips and methods that can help you harness your time for better well-being.

What is time management?

Time management is the process of consciously planning and controlling time spent on specific tasks to increase how efficient you are. You may be familiar with setting deadlines, writing to-do lists, and giving yourself small rewards for accomplishing certain activities.

Motivating ourselves is a core part of time management—and it takes a bit of effort not only to motivate yourself but to cultivate good habits to work and live more efficiently.

To develop good routines and habits, you can start by knowing what strategies and best practices are out there. You can experiment with them in your own life to see what works for you.

Benefits of time management

Good time management can lead to a healthy, balanced lifestyle that may manifest as:

Reducing stress

Increasing energy

Achieving goals more efficiently

Prioritizing what's important

Accomplishing more in less time

Reducing procrastination

Boosting confidence

Getting further in your career or education

How we spend our days...

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim,” wrote Annie Dillard in her book The Writing Life [ 1 ] .  

This quote summarizes how humans conceptualize time and how we can develop skills and schedules to maximize productivity and achieve our goals. 

6 time management strategies

If you’re looking to take control of your time, here are six tips and strategies to get you started:

1. Conduct a time audit.

Start by assessing where you actually spend your time. Create a visual map of the approximate hours you spend on work, school, housework and chores, commuting, social media, and leisure activities. Then, you can drill in on school or work, dividing your previous week into days, then hours. How much time did it take to finish that paper? Did a work project take longer because you were scrolling on your phone?

Set goals based on this outcome. Planning ahead and setting time limits on your tasks and priorities can free up time for what’s most important to you, like spending more time with friends and family.

Start by dedicating a half hour every Sunday to intentionally planning your week ahead and setting daily goals.

Awareness, arrangement, adaptation

At the core of time management methods are the basic skills of awareness , arrangement , and adaptation [ 2 ]. This means being mindful of your time, structuring it, and adjusting it as you go, is the secret to effective time management. Executives now point to behavioral skills as the most important for the modern workforce, with “time management skills and the ability to prioritize” ranking second in IBM’s skills gap survey [ 3 ].

2. Use the Eisenhower Matrix to set your priorities.

The Eisenhower Matrix is a popular tool that helps you distinguish between tasks that are important, not important, urgent , and not urgent . The quadrant has four boxes in which you can split your tasks to prioritize what you should focus on first. They also correspond with the 4 D’s of execution: do, defer, delegate, and delete .

Quadrant 1: Important and urgent. Do these tasks first. These are the priorities that are most relevant to your goals.

Quadrant 2: Important but not urgent. Defer these for later in your schedule.

Quadrant 3: Urgent but not important. Delegate these to others, if possible, especially if they do not contribute to your long-term goals.

Quadrant 4: Not important and not urgent. Delete these tasks, or do them when you have free time because they are distractions from your priorities.

For an even simpler approach, create a task list and mark each item as urgent or important. Often, we prioritize urgent tasks instead of important ones—such as tasks that may be creative, important, and fulfilling but do not have a deadline—so identifying and labeling them can be a helpful step toward accomplishing your personal and professional goals.

3. Employ methods to “chunk” your time.

Once you have a better idea of what your priorities are, setting limits can be an excellent time management tool. There are several options for chunking your time into digestible pieces.

Try the Pomodoro method . This technique was developed in the late 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, a university student who was overwhelmed by studying and assignments. The Pomodoro method requires using a timer to break down your work into 25-minute intervals, separated by 5 minutes of break time. After four pomodoros, you may take a longer 15-30 minute break. Pomodoro (“tomato” in Italian) promotes concentration and relieves mental fatigue, which is especially useful for open-ended work like conducting research, studying for an exam, or finishing a consulting project.

By “chunking” time, you make big projects and goals less daunting. Less procrastination, more productivity.

Try an app to help you focus

Download Pomodor on your desktop or the Focus Keeper app for your phone.

4. Focus on one thing at a time. 

For most of us, multitasking is generally less efficient than focusing on one task at a time. In fact, one study found that only 2.5 percent of people are able to multitask effectively [ 4 ]. Doing too many things at once can impact your cognitive ability, making you feel unproductive or dissatisfied with your progress. Arranging your time so that you complete one task before starting another can boost your confidence.

Further, it may be helpful to compartmentalize tasks. If you are a writer, for example, you might dedicate Monday to research, Tuesday through Thursday to writing, and Friday to editing. 

5. Give yourself a reward.

Rewards can be a great source of motivation for adopting good time management habits. For each important task you accomplish, you can give yourself a little treat. It doesn't need to be extravagant or expensive. Here are some simple ways to motivate yourself:

Taking a break to enjoy your favorite snack

Going for a short walk outside

Call a friend or family member

Meditate for five minutes

Listen to a podcast episode or a chapter of an audiobook

For bigger rewards, you can indulge in activities like reading a book in the bath, planning a night out with friends, or booking a getaway. Exciting rewards can help you push through an especially tough project or work period.

6. Use apps to block out distractions.

Sometimes, rewards and good intentions are not enough to keep us focused. An app or browser extension can help you minimize distractions by blocking you from using social media or touching your phone. Here are some apps and extensions you can try:

Forest is an app that helps you stay focused and off your phone. The company partners with an organization called Trees for the Future to plant trees when you spend virtual coins earned in Forest.

StayFocused is a browser extension that prevents you from using time-wasting websites like Reddit, Twitter, Wikipedia, Instagram, and more. It’s highly configurable, so you can customize it to your specific distractions.

Freedom is a tool that can block both websites and apps on all of your devices, simultaneously. Take advantage of their free trial to know if it’s right for you.

How to create your own time management strategy

Now that you have some potential time management tips and methods in your toolkit, it’s time to create a strategy. You might experiment with several techniques before establishing the most effective long-term habits and routines for you. 

Establish goals and priorities.

Consider your lifestyle, whether you are a student or a working professional (or both), whether you have a family or aspire to become a digital nomad (or both!). Think of your long- and short-term goals for your career and personal development. Make sure the goals are SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. What will it take to achieve them? How can you manage your time to maximize your productivity?

Once you have established your goals, prioritize them in order of importance. It may be helpful to use Post-its or pen and paper to visualize them.

Choose the best method for you.

Using the list of tips above, decide upon a method or two to implement. Based on what has worked for you in the past, you can mix and match different time management skills. If you are unsure of which ones will work for you, pick one at random and give it a try.

Plan and implement.

Apply your chosen method over a period of time. A month is typically enough time to evaluate whether a strategy is working. Over 30 days, monitor your progress. Take notes on how you feel after one or two weeks. Was one method more effective than the other? 

Take action today

Use a physical planner, Google calendar, or a simple notebook to set your monthly and weekly goals. For daily tasks, write a to-do list every morning with achievable (Swiss Cheese) goals. Feel free to buffer your days for flexibility and sprinkle in plenty of little rewards.

After one month of your new time management methods, it’s time to reassess. What’s working? What’s not working? Adjust your strategy and plan to be more effective. Continue to practice these habits each month, adapting them as your priorities change. What works for you when you are a student may not be the same as when you start a new job.

Remember, practicing time management is an ongoing process, and life happens. It’s about progress, not perfection.

Learn how to manage your time effectively

Learn more effective time management tips from instructors at top universities with a course like Work Smarter, Not Harder: Time Management for Personal & Professional Productivity from the University of California Irvine. This course is offered on its own as well as part of the Career Success specialization.

Give your team access to a catalog of 8,000+ engaging courses and hands-on Guided Projects to help them develop impactful skills. Learn more about Coursera for Business .

Article sources

Dillard, Annie. “ The Writing Life , https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Writing_Life.html?id=it8NwjEKwCMC." Accessed July 14, 2023.

Harvard Business Review. “ Time Management Is about More than Life Hacks , https://hbr.org/2020/01/time-management-is-about-more-than-life-hacks." Accessed July 14, 2023.

IBM. “ Research Insights the Enterprise Guide to Closing the Skills Gap , https://www.ibm.com/downloads/cas/epymnbja." Accessed July 14, 2023.

Springer-Verlag. “ Supertaskers: Profiles in Extraordinary Multitasking Ability - Psychonomic Bulletin and Review , https://link.springer.com/article/10.3758/PBR.17.4.479." Accessed July 14, 2023.

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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Your Introduction to The Time Management Matrix

  • Productivity

Your Introduction to The Time Management Matrix

Playback speed:

Few things are more important to a productive team than ensuring that everyone in your workforce can manage their schedules effectively.

Time management is frequently overlooked as a business skill, but it’s often one of the core factors that determines whether a business is successful. When teams can manage their time efficiently, they don’t just meet deadlines, they also become more efficient.

In today’s digitally enhanced landscape, companies leverage a range of tools to assist employees with time management, from productivity apps , to task tracking tools. However, if you really want to transform your team’s workflows, it might be beneficial to start with a different framework for how projects are assigned and prioritized.

The time management matrix is a phenomenal and easy-to-use tool, enabling every employee to thrive in the business landscape. Here’s everything you need to know about the priority matrix for time management.

Table of Contents

What is a Time Management Matrix?

A time management matrix is a flexible tool for managing productivity. The strategy comes in a range of different forms, from the 7 habits time management matrix, to the Eisenhower time management matrix, Covey matrix and the priority time management matrix.

The solution leveraged by most businesses is the Covey time management matrix, which revolves around identifying which tasks in the business have the highest level of urgency or importance. Using this tool, companies determine which tasks need to be addressed as quickly as possible by team members to drive the most value for the company.

Rather than just focusing on what’s important, you determine which tasks are both important and urgent, to align your teams around shared, collaborative goals . When you know what the most important and urgent tasks are in your company, you can begin to create workflows for your team, often assigning tasks to different categories based on their value.

Why is a Time Management Matrix Important?

Why is a Time Management Matrix Important?

Managing time effectively is crucial for just about everyone. Whether you’re leading a team, or working on personal goals, managing your time correctly will ensure that you can achieve the best results. A time management matrix essentially gives you the tools you need to prioritize your workflow, determining which tasks need to be completed first, with the highest degree of urgency.

In the business landscape, a priority matrix for time management can also ensure you’re getting the most out of your human resources or teams. According to some studies , the average office worker is only productive for around 2 hours and 53 minutes each day. This means your teams could be wasting a significant amount of time just trying to figure out what they should be doing.

The author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, Stephen Covey, suggests that using a time management matrix helps individuals to improve their productivity and focus when working or studying. The right matrix also reduces the risk of team members having to rush to meet deadlines.

The Four Quadrants of the Time Management Matrix

The Four Quadrants of the Time Management Matrix

The Covey time management matrix breaks tasks down into four distinctive quadrants, based on their urgency and importance. Each quadrant helps professionals to determine how they use their time to address different tasks and requirements. The quadrants include:

  • Quadrant 1: Urgent and important
  • Quadrant 2: Not yet urgent, but still important
  • Quadrant 3: Urgent, but not as important
  • Quadrant 4: Not important or urgent

Let’s take a closer look at each quadrant.

Quadrant 1: Important and urgent

The first quadrant is reserved for tasks that have the highest degree of both urgency and importance. Crucially, just because a task is essential for a business, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s also urgent. However, if a task requires immediate focus, and is also crucial to the business, it’s something everyone should be working on immediately.

The important thing to remember here is that although many tasks in a business can seem urgent or important, they won’t all be essential to the continued success of the company. Knowing how to define urgency and importance realistically is crucial.

Quadrant 2: Important, but not yet urgent

Quadrant 2 in the time management matrix is reserved for tasks that are crucial, but potentially not yet urgent. For instance, you may need to install an instant messaging tool into your business, but unless your teams are struggling to communicate elsewhere, this task may not be urgent straight away.

Important tasks without urgency are what team members need to focus on after all of the crucial and urgent tasks have been completed. They may not have a specific deadline straight away, but they do hold value for the business.

Quadrant 3: Urgent, but not yet important

Tasks defined as urgent, but not important fall into the third quadrant of the time management matrix. There are specific deadlines associated with these tasks, but they don’t deliver as much value to the business immediately. For instance, team leaders may need to quickly hold a meeting to keep teams informed of events in the business, but this task may not be defined as important.

Experts recommend spending as little time as possible in this quadrant, because it can often be filled with counterproductive tasks which don’t contribute much to business or professional goals.

Quadrant 4: Not urgent or important

Finally, the fourth quadrant is intended for tasks which you have defined as being both unimportant, and not particularly urgent. Tasks like responding to emails, for instance, may have some value, but they shouldn’t be taking up the majority of your day.

Defining which tasks aren’t as important as they seem can help business leaders to avoid allowing their teams to focus too much of their effort on non-productive jobs.

How to Create a Time Management Matrix

How to Create a Time Management Matrix

A time management matrix can be a valuable tool for both remote and in-office workers alike. It can even help people to accomplish their goals in areas outside of work. The good news is that it’s relatively simple to create your own time management matrix.

All you need to do is start with a simple structure of four boxes, titled with each of the four quadrants mentioned above. Once you have this template:

  • List your tasks: Create a to-do list of tasks that need to be completed. At this stage, you simply write down everything that needs to be done, regardless of its value, importance and level of urgency.
  • Add deadlines: Next to the tasks on your list, write deadlines or specific dates when the task needs to be completed. This will help you to determine how urgent each project is, and where you need to focus your attention first. Highlight the most urgent tasks on your list.
  • Organize by importance: Once you’ve identified the most urgent tasks with the use of deadlines, determine how important they are. Figure out how much value each task will bring to you or your company. Align importance and urgency to pinpoint which tasks need to be completed as quickly as possible.
  • Arrange your tasks: Using your matrix, organize your tasks into the correct quadrant based on their urgency and importance. Take note of any tasks which appear to be neither important nor urgent, as these could be draining your valuable time.
  • Assess your productivity: Repeat the process for your daily, weekly, and monthly activities, then reflect on your performance. Determine whether using the matrix to organize your tasks has helped you to reduce your stress levels, improve your workflow and boost efficiency.

Using a Time Management Matrix to Your Advantage

Using a Time Management Matrix to Your Advantage

Leveraging a time management matrix effectively can help you and your team to become more productive and efficient. It will help you to prioritize your tasks, and ensure you’re focusing on the most valuable and urgent projects on your list first. It’s also a great way to pinpoint any time-consuming tasks which might be damaging your company’s performance.

Using a time management matrix correctly can ensure you and your team members are able to thrive effectively in your workplace, and minimize procrastination.

Once you have your time management matrix, make sure you communicate it clearly and effectively to your team. Share your goals and targets with staff through an instant messaging app like Brosix, or use the in-built whiteboarding capabilities to work on your matrix collaboratively.

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Radina Skorcheva is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Brosix, specializing in Content marketing and SEO. Besides her passion for digital marketing, she likes traveling and spending time with her family. Connect with her on LinkedIn at @radina-skorcheva

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Everything you need to know about the Time Management Matrix

When we discuss the projects , we follow a timeline during which we have to complete a certain task or work. The project manager must know the time management matrix . By adopting a time management matrix , he can not only do his work on time but can adopt the habit of being organized.

time management task matrix

We all are doing some tasks in our professional and personal lives. In our personal lives, we are not answerable to anyone, but in professional life, we have to answer our organization or boss. We need to think practically and keep arranged for fulfilling our tasks.

When we discuss the projects, we follow a timeline during which we have to complete a certain task or work. The project manager must know the time management matrix. By adopting a time management matrix, he can not only do his work on time but can adopt the habit of being organized.

Time management matrix: A way to manage tasks smoothly

Many successful business companies are following the seven habits of Stephen Covey and adopting the time management matrix to bring about a success formula. Time management is not about noting the starting time and ending only. It is about deciding the time and then using it productively to complete the tasks on their time.

 The time management matrix helps you organize the tasks, categorize them, and then do them according to their importance and urgency. If you start a project, you do not split it into little chunks and start working on the raw material. You won't be able to complete it in the right way.

We observe nature, which shows everything is organized and scheduled, and nothing gets out of the way. Don't you think we also need some tricks to organize and proactively deal with any situation if we get urgent work?

We need to categorize the thing and keep working on them that demands your attention continuously and do the thing on time that is urgent only. Following four quadrants will help you to organize the tasks, especially in your professional life, and make it clear for you to pick the right one first.

Quadrant 1: Put at first

The first quadrant is about urgent and important tasks. We have different categories of tasks that we need to do on time, which are also important. These tasks need our quick attention. Otherwise, we may observe severe loss.

For example, if you were calmly conducting an important meeting in your office and suddenly you heard an alarming sound of fire. What would you prefer to do? Will you continue your meeting, or will you ask to look for the extinguishers to control the fire? It is time you need to decide what is important and urgent.

This emergency seeks more attention, and you need to work on it compared to the meeting. You can postpone your meeting for another, but you can't as the fire to for you before spreading.

Quadrant 2: Scheduling big rocks

In the second quadrant, you will put those important tasks and activities that are usually part of long-term goals. These tasks need your long-term planning so that you can reach your goal at the end of a certain period.

For example, if you are working on a project and a long project usually does not have a definite date and day, you can decide on a time like one year or six months. You will plan this project accordingly using monthly Gantt charts and another daily to-do list. You do not need to follow an exact deadline but some fixed time. I may include your health maintenance, walking, taking exercise, relationship maintenance, etc.

Quadrant 3: Attention-seeking Distractions

In the third quadrant, put tasks that are urgent but not important. We need to do things that are not important but urgent, so we put them in quadrant 3. For example, paying utility bills, we need to grab the time to attend an office call when we are with family after office. You need to define your urgent but not important tasks.

Quadrant 4: Eliminate wastage

If we talk about quadrant 4, it is all about things that are a waste of time usually, but we still do them. Such things are part of our lives, like using social media on the phone, watching TV, or playing games. We cannot subtract them totally but put them in quadrant 4 and try to spend the least time in this quadrant. So, you may call this quadrant dustbin of your tasks.

time management task matrix

Ways to manage time management matrix

When you know a time management matrix, you must know how to use it effectively. So, here are some tips to use or manage the time management matrix given below.

·  Enlist the tasks with deadlines

Before playing with the time management matrix, you should be very clear about the deadline for the assigned tasks. First, you should develop a list of tasks you will be doing throughout the month, every day or after taking a pause. Do not forget to write the deadline in front of each task. Doing so lets you know which task has a close deadline and is also important. It will enhance your planning skill as well.

·  Identify your big rocks.

The next step in using the time management matrix is to organize the things so that you can extract important things or tasks. Suppose we randomly put stones of all sizes in the jar. Can we make maximum space for them?

Never, the place would be low for them. If we sort out the stones as big and small rocks, we put them in the jar, starting with the big rocks. You will see more space in the jar, and all rocks are properly arranged without any hassle. Similarly, if we put our tasks in the right category by sorting them as big and small rocks, we can get them done easily.

·  Be mindful

When working on a project, you should be mindful and responsible. If you observe things deeply and sort them wisely, you will get them done in perfect order without getting into flaws.

·  Learn to say no to less important things

We have many things to do around us that can be professional, personal, or related to relationships. Sometimes, we are packed with hectic routines, and we still waste our energy on the things which are less important or are not part of our job. Yes, it is a good thing to do a favor to others, but when you are not available, you should say not instead of working on things you can't do or things that are not in your control. It would not be a big deal to say no to less important things. It will save your energy and time.

·  Keep checking your score every week.

We set our targets with some deadlines. Do you think you will achieve them if you do not keep track of them? No, it is not possible as you do not know whether you are following the right direction or not. You need to keep a check and balance the score you have set for a week or a month.

Suppose you want to lose weight of about 5 kg in two months. You will develop an action plan regarding how many glasses of water you will drink daily, how much time you will spend on a walk, and avoid eating junk food.

Every day you need to track your performance by looking at your action plan, whether you followed it today or not.

·  Identify the lacking areas.

Now, look for the next productive step: identifying the lacking behind your goal. You can identify them by looking at the scoreboard of your goal and being firm. It will show you how often you have avoided your plan and how much more concentration you need.

time management task matrix

What are the advantages of using a time management matrix?

The time management matrix is like a magic wand as it can turn your days and performance if you stay firm. You must learn and focus on the time management matrix according to your to-dos and find the best solutions. Following are some advantages of the time management matrix.

·  Helps you to be organized

When you are following this beautiful tool, you become organized. You look deeply into the things you must do and have the mind to sort them accordingly. So, you will not be confused about things' right place.

·  Let you know what is most important.

As we learn about four quadrants for categorization of the tasks so, we can better arrange them in the relevant quadrant by knowing their importance and urgency.

·  Develop planning skills

Now, you know your duties and responsibilities and how you will fulfill them. You will plan your weeks for your office work, family and friends, and yourself. You will develop planning skills soon, and it will enhance the chances of your productivity.

Final Remarks:

A time management matrix is a methodology of planning your tasks according to their importance and deadline so that you can do them at the right time. Four quadrants will help you to categorize the tasks and develop planning skills for a happy and satisfying professional and personal life.

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Time management matrix template is a great tool to rate your tasks and objectives according to their importance and urgency. Time management matrix definition: it is a table of four quadrants where you can record your activities characterized and ranged by matters of Urgency and Importance (Urgent and Not Urgent, Important and Not Important). Actually, you can find many printable matrix examples on the Web, as this is quite popular and proved tool helping you to get a critical review of your agenda to prevent your time and energy wasting for thankless activities. Time management matrix of Stephen Covey that he has elaborated in his book helps us to find an explanation for the fact that many of us just work hard all the day long, but manage to accomplish just too little, while another person can appear incomparably more productive during the same day. This author highlights quadrants of this matrix as: 1) Quadrant of Necessity (Urgent-Important) 2) Quadrant of Quality & Personal Leadership (Not Urgent-Important) 3) Quadrant of Deception (Urgent-Not Important) and 4) Quadrant of Waste (Not Urgent-Not Important).  The problem is that we usually spend plenty of our time fighting in quadrants 3 and 4 and this is a great mistake. In his books called “7 habits of Highly Effective People” he gives the model of the workforce matrix with suggestions: to manage the Quadrant of Necessity as best as we can, to focus on the Quadrant of Quality and Personal Leadership to achieve our goals faster, to be Careful with the Quadrant of Deception as it can slow progress towards reaching our goals, and Avoid the Quadrant of Waste as much as possible.

VIP Task Manager is real-time teamwork software for planning, controlling and analyzing project and individual time. It provides you with sharable interface modes (Task List, Task Tree and Calendar) which can be used for rating your tasks as if they were recorded on a matrix with important-urgent gradation.

To plan and analyze working time – do the following:

  • start your time planning software;
  • plan and schedule tasks in terms of costs, time, etc;
  • rate your tasks by important and urgency;
  • set priorities for the tasks;
  • control work performance parameters;

time management task matrix

Small Business Trends

5 project management tools for developers.

project management tools for developers

When most teams think of project management software , they think of using it to stay organized and on task. For software developers, though, project management tools are much more than that. These applications are lifelines that map out a dev team’s plans, establish accountability and support collaboration. Efforts could come to a standstill without some way to manage and track all of a developing app’s moving parts. That’s where project management tools for developers come in.

Benefits of Project Management Tools for Software Developers

Project management tools offer significant benefits to software developers, streamlining their workflow and enhancing productivity. These tools provide a centralized platform for managing various aspects of software development, including task tracking, team collaboration, and resource allocation. This centralization ensures that all team members are on the same page, reducing miscommunication and improving efficiency. Moreover, project management tools often come with features like time tracking and progress reports, enabling developers to stay on schedule and within budget. They also support agile methodologies, which are crucial in today’s dynamic development environments.

time management task matrix

Benefits for software developers include:

  • Improved Collaboration : Facilitates effective communication and coordination among team members, regardless of their location.
  • Enhanced Efficiency : Streamlines the development process by organizing tasks, deadlines, and priorities in a clear, accessible manner.
  • Better Resource Management : Allows for efficient allocation and tracking of resources, including time and manpower.
  • Increased Transparency : Offers visibility into the progress of projects, aiding in accountability and expectation management.
  • Support for Agile Methodologies : Enables teams to adopt agile practices such as sprints and scrums, which are vital for adaptive development.
  • Centralized Documentation : Keeps all project-related documents in one place, making it easier to access and update information.
  • Task and Deadline Tracking : Helps in monitoring progress and ensures that project milestones are met on time.
  • Risk Mitigation : Assists in identifying potential risks early on, allowing for proactive measures to avoid or mitigate them.
  • Scalability : Adapts to the changing needs of the project, accommodating growth and modifications without disrupting the workflow.

Choosing the Best Project Management Tools for Developers: Our Methodology

For entrepreneurs and small business owners in the tech sector, picking the right project management tools is vital. Here are the key factors we considered when compiling our list:

  • Look for tools with features tailored to software development, like version control integration, issue tracking, and sprint planning.
  • Evaluate the tool’s capability to handle complex project requirements.
  • An intuitive interface enhances productivity.
  • Ensure the tool is user-friendly and has a gentle learning curve.
  • Features facilitating team communication and collaboration are crucial.
  • Assess the tool’s ability to integrate with other communication platforms.
  • The tool should grow with your business and adapt to changing needs.
  • Look for customization options and scalability.
  • Consider the pricing structure in relation to the features offered.
  • Determine if there are additional costs for extra features or users.

Project management tools like JIRA, GitHub, and Shortcut are often well-regarded in the developer community for their robust feature sets and collaboration capabilities. By considering these criteria, you can choose a tool that not only fits your current project needs but also supports your team’s growth and efficiency.

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Top project management tools for software developers.

There are plenty of project management tools on the market, so teams sometimes face challenges in choosing ideal applications. Because each solution will have its mix of pros and cons, you should start with outlining your group’s processes and workflows. By prioritizing your list and matching it with available development features, your team can begin to narrow things down. To help you get a head start, here’s a guide to the five top project management tools for software developers.

1. Shortcut

project management tools for developers

Part of what makes Shortcut unique is that a team of software engineers created it. That wasn’t because they were bored or thought their ideas were more brilliant than others. Instead, these software developers designed the tool because they were frustrated with existing project management applications. Current tools weren’t meeting their needs, so the group decided to do something about it.

The tool they built is both agile and fast; it’s customizable but also easy to use and understand. Shortcut tries to simplify the workflow process while supporting goal setting and progress tracking. Reporting features include various project overviews, such as burndown charts and cumulative flow diagrams. It’s also possible to tweak Shortcut’s API to customize reports, automate workflows, and support app integrations.

Although you won’t find any time-tracking capabilities, the tool does give your team early access to new features. Through Shortcut Labs, your engineers can preview, experiment with, and provide feedback for improvements. As those features become refined and released, you’ll gain access to more beta capabilities. It’s a win-win.

project management tools for developers

For dev teams that need to remain flexible, Jira offers customized workflows. If you don’t want to start from scratch or need some inspiration, the software also has pre-designed templates. These workflow templates are made to sync up with how your group works on projects. It can be a complex or more simplified process that flows from progress to review to approval. Whatever the case, customizable setups are there to fit practices you already have in place.

Another well-known feature of Jira is its user stories. As any software developer team worth its salt knows, apps are meant to serve the people who use them. You can’t create a positive user experience without knowledge of end users’ pain points. Even after a piece of software launches, the ways users interact with and perceive its functionalities can lead to improvements. User stories capture preliminary needs, bug reports, and ongoing feedback.

Besides user stories, Jira’s platform includes performance tracking and Scrum or Kanban planning boards. Many software developers prefer Kanban boards because they illustrate individual assignments. Your team can view and organize tasks by a project’s stage. Other engineers like Scrum boards because they help arrange assignments into s prints to enhance a team’s focus. Similar to other tools, Jira is scalable to the size of your team.

3. Microsoft Azure

project management tools for developers

Microsoft Azure supports the creation of cloud-based apps. Software developers will find support for multiple programming languages, including .Net, Python, and Java. Built into the platform is support for relational databases and SQL Server.

Engineers can work on coding projects directly in Azure. Teams have the choice between using command-line interfaces or PowerShell.

Due to the complexities of Azure, it does come with a bit of a learning curve. Seasoned software engineers may not have any difficulties diving into the platform. For teams unfamiliar with non-intuitive interfaces, some training or certification courses will probably be necessary. However, Azure supports integrations with other development tools such as Visual Studio.

project management tools for developers

GitHub is a versatile space for your team to collaborate on coding projects. Since GitHub is 100% cloud-based, you have the option of setting up a public or private workspace. You don’t have to worry about using on-site servers or finding workarounds for remote access. Another nice feature for developers is GitHub’s community projects. Teams may discover shared code to augment projects, solve issues, or get inspired.

GitHub’s management functionality includes pull requests, code review, and mobile app notifications. Team members can start conversations about an app’s features, bugs, or enhancements. Everyone is able to join in, offer suggestions, ask questions, and experiment with potential solutions.

With built-in review processes, managers can make suggested changes and approve code. The entire team will see when the code is ready to merge and deploy. GitHub is also accessible from mobile apps if your team needs to work or receive project notifications on the go.

project management tools for developers

Linear gives software developers big-picture and granular views of a project. The tool’s road map shows how individual milestones connect to a single project and the organization’s goals. Within Linear’s road map, your team sees all apps that are in progress. It’s easier to identify which projects engineers need to focus on now and what’s coming down the pike.

Within separate projects, there’s the ability to switch between board and list views. Teams can dig into single tasks, see outstanding issues, and organize assignments or problems with color-coded labels. Linear supports interface and command-line navigation to cater to different developer preferences. Integration with other tools such as Slack and Zapier is also available.

Project management tools are absolutely essential for software developers, but finding the right solution can be a slippery road. Let your procedures and workflows guide you through the selection process to keep productivity on target. Don’t be afraid to experiment once you’ve narrowed down your list of must-have features. By experiencing how different platforms work in your organization, you’ll discover the best fit.

Image: Depositphotos

what is an app

I’ve never heard of Shortcut before but it sounds interesting. Two of the project management tools that I like are Quire ( https://quire.io/ ) and Todoist ( https://todoist.com/ ). Although I like Quire a bit more since it has sublists and smart folders. But both are great apps!

Thanks Smallbiztrends, your research needs to be appreciated. As a software developer, I know how challenging it becomes when things aren’t well-organized. You will invest too much time in finding the things, may be end up repeating one thing multiple times. But these software are the beast! Jira is my favorite, but github and linear are also good. However, I have not tried them, but will share the review. Thanks!!!

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IT Incident Management: How to Manage IT Incidents

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An incident is when something happens that isn’t expected and usually has a negative impact on what you’re doing. When working in information technology (IT), an incident can shut down a network or server and stop work, which is why IT incident management is so important.

Before we go into the process of IT incident management, let’s first understand what the term IT incident means and how IT incident management is defined. Then we’ll offer a few free IT incident management templates to help you control issues in your IT and how project management software can do what templates can’t.

What Is an IT Incident?

Where an incident is somewhat neutral in natural speech, it’s a different matter when you’re talking about IT management . An IT incident is unexpected and tends to be disruptive to the operational processes of an organization. It can also reduce the quality of a service.

However you define it, you’re not going to want to have an IT incident, and if you do, then you’re going to want to be prepared to address it quickly. While many might use the word ‘risk’ to describe this, and they’d not be wrong, ‘IT incident’ is the nomenclature used by development and IT operations teams.

When an IT incident happens it can cause a service interruption or worse. Having project management software is a way to quickly restore service. ProjectManager has IT incident management features that allow IT teams to identify, mitigate and track issues in real time. IT incidents can be captured on task cards that show the priority, impact and likelihood of the IT incident occurring. The card also will have a plan of action, attached files as needed and be assigned to an IT team member. It can then be tracked on a kanban board as it’s being resolved. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

ProjectManager's risk card

IT Incident Examples

An IT incident is unexpected, but there are many examples of IT incidents that IT teams are always on the lookout for. Any violation of security policies and controls is a problem, whether it steals data or disrupts systems. Here are just a few of the potential IT incidents.

  • A network device that causes a hardware crash
  • A bug that prevents the software from working properly
  • Phishing scam to gain illegal entrance to a network
  • Malware is introduced to a computer
  • Application attack to illegally enter a website
  • Ransomware that holds data hostage for payment
  • Unauthorized access
  • Email virus
  • Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, etc.

What Is IT Incident Management?

To control IT incidents, development and IT operations teams use IT incident management, which organizes the response to unplanned events or service interruptions to resolve the issue quickly. This is clearly one of the most important functions of an IT team, as the loss of IT functionality can be devastating to the organization’s operations.

IT incident management helps IT teams to respond effectively to recover fast. It also addresses customers, stakeholders, service owners and others in the organization by communicating clearly about the IT incident. IT teams need to collaborate in order to get the system back up and running and continuously improve by learning from past IT incidents so they’re less likely to occur again.

Recovering from an IT incident using IT incident management should be done without affecting service-level agreements (SLAs), which define the level of service expected from a vendor. There can be penalties if the agreed-upon service levels are not achieved.

IT incident management usually starts with a report of an issue from an end user. The benefits of IT incident management include proactive identification and prevention of major IT incidents, improved productivity, consistent service levels, heightened visibility of known issues and more. By mitigating IT incidents and preventing others from happening, businesses can stay in operation and meet compliance and regulatory standards.

IT Incident Management Process

The process for IT incident management is used to identify, prioritize and resolve IT incidents quickly while also reducing their negative impact on business operations and customer satisfaction. IT incident management follows these five steps.

1. Identify Potential Incidents

First, you have to identify potential IT incidents. This can be IT incidents that have yet to occur or capturing those that have been reported. That identification process can include using user logs and solution analysis. Whatever the process, IT teams need to be thorough and collect all the data to keep the recovery process moving swiftly forward. They can also use support teams to set up relevant channels for end users to report issues.

2. Create an IT Incident Log

The IT incident log will collect all the pertinent information and help to classify the IT incident. Use the information you gathered in the first step to name the incident, add an ID number to more easily track it, describe the incident, the date it was discovered and who the manager of that IT incident is. In the incident log, you’ll also want to categorize it.

3. Prioritize IT Incidents

Next, you’ll want to prioritize the IT incident. This is especially helpful when there are many and you have to manage your time and effort to address the most severe IT incidents first. You’ll have to look at all the IT incidents that have been reported and prioritize those against one another. This will allow you to start with the high-priority incidents that will have the greatest impact on your IT first.

4. Create an Incident Response Plan

Now, you’re ready to make your plan of action. IT teams will investigate and analyze the IT incidents and come up with a plan to resolve them. This will require a series of tasks that will need to have resources and costs attached.

5. Execute IT Incident Response Tasks

With the plan in place, the IT team will then go about executing the tasks of that plan. This will result in eliminating the threat and restoring systems or services to normal operation. Once the IT incident is resolved, the incident is closed. That process includes documentation , reporting and evaluating the steps taken to discern any improvements that can be made the next time an IT incident is reported.

time management task matrix

IT Incident Management Templates

In order to facilitate the process of IT incident management, ProjectManager has many free project management templates for Excel and Word that can be downloaded from our site. We have dozens of free templates that cover every phase of the project. The following are three IT incident management templates to help you implement a more successful process of eliminating incidents in your IT.

Risk Matrix Template

An IT incident needs analysis and our free risk matrix template for Excel helps you define the incident to know how to best respond to it. The color-coded matrix allows you to determine the priority of the incident as well as its severity and likelihood of happening (when preparing for a possible IT incident).

RAID Log Template

RAID stands for risk, assumptions, issues and decisions and our free RAID log template for Excel helps with the planning and execution of IT incident mitigation. It helps to mitigate those incidents by describing them, their impact and what the response should be. You can also prioritize and assign an IT team member to be responsible for the IT incident.

Action Plan Template

Once you’ve prioritized and analyzed the IT incident, the next step is to create a plan to resolve it. Use our free action plan template for Excel to create the steps you’ll need to execute, assigning team members to those tasks, with start and due dates. This planning document will give your IT incident management a framework to get things done efficiently.

How ProjectManager Helps With IT Incident Management

As helpful as these free IT incident management templates are, they’re not great for collaboration and must be manually updated, which will take the IT team away from the more important work of resolving the incident. Project management software is a more powerful alternative to respond effectively to IT incidents. ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that helps you identify, manage and track IT incidents in real time. Our software has multiple project views so you can use IT incident management with the tools that best fit your work, whether that’s Gantt charts for managers, task lists or kanban boards for developers.

Log Incidents and Assign a Priority Level

Whichever project view you use, you’ll be able to log the incident and add all the details you need to better address it and have it resolved quickly. For example, our robust task lists can list each IT incident, assign a priority level and tag to make it easy to find. You can attach photos and documentation to help with mitigation and then task a team member with executing it. This provides users with an IT incident log to identify, plan and track the response in real time. Managers can make sure the work is being done quickly without interrupting their team.

Assign, Schedule and Track Incident Response Tasks

Another project view that helps users with IT incident management are our customizable kanban boards. Incidents are registered on task cards, which show priority, tags, due dates and can be assigned to teams. You can customize the columns on the board to reflect your IT incident management plan and managers can view the card as it moves from column to column to make sure it’s being executed in a timely manner. Meanwhile, teams can collaborate by sharing files that can be attached to the cards and commenting to connect them whether they’re in the same office or working remotely.

ProjectManager's kanban with notifications

With our risk management features to capture, plan and track IT incidents, task management features to manage that work and resource management tools to ensure that everyone has what they need when they need it, our software covers every aspect of your IT incident management process. You can even automate workflows to keep teams focused on what’s important. Adding task approval settings makes sure work is properly done before moving forward.

ProjectManager is online project management software that connects teams in the office or anywhere they’re working. They are always working on the most updated, real-time data no matter which project view they’re using. Email notifications and in-app alerts keep them on top of any progress or changes, fostering better collaboration. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

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IMAGES

  1. The 4 Quadrants of Time Management Matrix: The Full Guide You Need

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  2. Boost Productivity with the Four Quadrants of Time Management

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  3. Stephen covey time management matrix

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  4. Time Management Matrix: The 4 Quadrants

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  5. 10 Tips for Mastering Time Management at Work

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  6. 10 Tips for Mastering Time Management at Work

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VIDEO

  1. Maximize Efficiency and Collaboration with Task Matrix for Better Work Management

  2. Mastering Time Management: Maximizing Productivity and Enjoyment

  3. Boost your productivity with a gamechanging task matrix

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  5. Master Your Time: The Eisenhower Matrix Explained

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COMMENTS

  1. The Eisenhower Matrix: How to prioritize your to-do list

    The Eisenhower Matrix is also known as the time management matrix, the Eisenhower Box, and the urgent-important matrix. This tool helps you divide your tasks into four categories: the tasks you'll do first, the tasks you'll schedule for later, the tasks you'll delegate, and the tasks you'll delete. Create an Eisenhower matrix template

  2. The 4 Quadrants of Time Management Matrix [Guide]

    The time management matrix enables individuals to prioritize effectively and allocate their time wisely to achieve optimal productivity and goal attainment. Nowadays, this self-management tool is widely used by businesses and individuals to prioritize tasks and identify time wasters.

  3. What Is the Time Management Matrix and How to Use It

    In Covey's time management matrix, any task, activity, or responsibility is assigned a section in a matrix with four quadrants. The criteria for doing so are: Urgency: What requires immediate attention; Importance: What has the highest significance or value.

  4. PDF Covey's Time Management

    for each day of the week, listing all activities and time spent. At the end of the week, Combine the five individual day data onto one summary grid (number 6) and calculate the percent of time in each grid. Then evaluate how well your time is spent and whether you work load needs to be reor-ganized. The Bottom Line: Do Important things First!

  5. How to Use Covey's 4 Quadrants Matrix for Effective Time Management

    These are the four quadrants of the Time Management Matrix: 1. Q1: Urgent and important. 2. Q2: Not Urgent but important. 3. Q3: Urgent but not important. 4. Q4: Not urgent and not important. By prioritizing your tasks across four quadrants, you can differentiate between tasks that make a real difference in the end.

  6. The Eisenhower Matrix Maximizes Time

    The Eisenhower Technique is a time management system that clarifies which tasks and activities deserve your time and effort to meet your goals. The technique helps determine task sequencing, delegation, and what to delete from your to-do list. The matrix's popularity stems from its simplicity and the universal method of prioritizing activities for a single person or for every facet of an ...

  7. A Guide to the Time Management Matrix

    What is a time management matrix? Defining the time management matrix is a bit tricky since there are so many facets that make it effective. In simple terms, a time management matrix is a productivity tool. It helps identify what's truly important, so you spend more time on what matters most.

  8. Priority matrix: How to identify what matters and get more done

    A priority matrix—also known as a prioritization matrix—sorts tasks or projects by a defined set of variables. Priority matrices can be simple or complex and may include anywhere from four quadrants to 20 rows or columns.

  9. The Covey Time Management Matrix Explained

    The Covey Time Management Matrix is a framework for prioritizing your time and tasks for optimized efficiency and productivity. Created by Steven Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, this model uses a four-quadrant system to help you categorize each task, responsibility and facet of your life based on:

  10. Eisenhower's Urgent/Important Principle

    The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent." This "Eisenhower Principle" is said to be how he organized his workload and priorities. He recognized that great time management means being effective as well as efficient. In other words, we must spend our time on things that are important and not just the ones that are urgent ...

  11. What is a Time Management Matrix?

    The Covey time management matrix is a framework that allows you to triage tasks and projects to boost overall efficiency and get the most important work done quickly. You can use the time management matrix to categorize tasks based on their importance and urgency.

  12. Eisenhower: Matrix Apps, Tools & Tips for Highest Productivity

    Get empowered by time management tools—like the Eisenhower Matrix—to achieve your goals while increasing productivity and happiness at the same time. Skip to the content. ... Effectively manage your tasks using the Eisenhower Matrix, a proven time management technique, and dramatically increase your productivity in an instant.

  13. Time management matrix: How to make the most of this useful tool

    Just focus on the present and where you see yourself spending time during the week. 2. Choose your goals. Next, make a list of the goals, projects, and tasks you should focus on in the upcoming week. Ideally, you've already categorized a list of tasks with the time management matrix and just need to pick a few.

  14. How to Use the Time Management Matrix

    A time management matrix is a tool used to prioritize tasks based on their level of urgency and importance. It helps individuals allocate their time effectively by categorizing tasks into four quadrants: urgent and important, important but not urgent, urgent but not important, and neither urgent nor important.

  15. Time Management Matrix: The Key to Prioritizing Work

    The Time Management Matrix lets you focus on your top priorities and manage your workload better. The Time Management Matrix is a highly effective tool that allows you to achieve the best results with limited time by prioritizing your work.

  16. What is the Time Management Matrix, and How to Use it Effectively

    The time management matrix aids in task organization, categorization, and subsequent completion in accordance with priority and urgency. The basic rule is to identify the difference between things that have a greater impact on your goals versus things that appear to be urgent. Covey's Time Management Matrix

  17. Boost Productivity with the Eisenhower Matrix

    Combining the matrix with a task management system helps you track the progress of your tasks and ensure their completion. On the other hand, adopting time management techniques such as Pomodoro or time blocking can complement the matrix by providing structured time slots for different types of tasks. Prioritize for Productivity with Wrike

  18. The 4 Quadrants of Time Management Matrix

    This decision matrix, also known as the 4 Quadrants of Time Management matrix, is the brainchild of Dwight Eisenhower, the decorated army general and President of the United States. He said we should identify ourselves with several roles.

  19. Time Management Skills

    To use the priority matrix, it is best to review your tasks on a daily basis. Each day, ask yourself: ... Further Principles of Good Time Management. The priority matrix is therefore key to prioritising your workload. However, time management is more than just prioritisation: it is also about being able to work more productively. ...

  20. 4 Quadrants of Time Management Matrix

    To help you become more productive, it's helpful to understand the 4 Quadrants of the Time Management Matrix. This matrix divides tasks into four categories: Urgent and Important, Not Urgent but Important, Urgent but Not Important, and Not Urgent and Not Important. By understanding how these tasks fit into each quadrant, you can quickly ...

  21. What Is Time Management? 6 Strategies to Better Manage Your Time

    Time management is the process of consciously planning and controlling time spent on specific tasks to increase how efficient you are. You may be familiar with setting deadlines, writing to-do lists, and giving yourself small rewards for accomplishing certain activities.

  22. Introduction To The Time Management Matrix

    The strategy comes in a range of different forms, from the 7 habits time management matrix, to the Eisenhower time management matrix, Covey matrix and the priority time management matrix. The solution leveraged by most businesses is the Covey time management matrix, which revolves around identifying which tasks in the business have the highest ...

  23. Time Management Matrix. Definitions & Examples. November 2023

    Time management matrix: A way to manage tasks smoothly Many successful business companies are following the seven habits of Stephen Covey and adopting the time management matrix to bring about a success formula. Time management is not about noting the starting time and ending only.

  24. Time management matrix

    Time management matrix template is a great tool to rate your tasks and objectives according to their importance and urgency. Actually, you can find many printable matrix examples on the Web, as this is quite popular and proved tool helping you to get a critical review of your agenda to prevent your time and energy wasting for thankless activities.

  25. 5 Project Management Tools for Developers

    To help you get a head start, here's a guide to the five top project management tools for software developers. 1. Shortcut. Part of what makes Shortcut unique is that a team of software engineers created it. That wasn't because they were bored or thought their ideas were more brilliant than others.

  26. IT Incident Management: How to Manage IT Incidents

    The process for IT incident management is used to identify, prioritize and resolve IT incidents quickly while also reducing their negative impact on business operations and customer satisfaction. IT incident management follows these five steps. 1. Identify Potential Incidents. First, you have to identify potential IT incidents.