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Boost Your Productivity: Adopt Eisenhower's Time Management Strategies

Before people started talking about business models on business frameworks I’m sure that they would say things such as “sort out your priorities by deciding what is important and what needs doing right now”. On this website we have this listed as the importance/performance matrix – . Indeed, there are other similar frameworks such as the cost benefit analysis framework ( ) or even to-do lists ( ). These frameworks make sense because they focus on things that are important and that need doing urgently.

The other day I noticed on LinkedIn there was quite a discussion about the Eisenhower matrix. When I saw what they were talking about I could see it is the good old prioritisation matrix. Eisenhower accomplished many things during his presidency including the Federal Highway Act of 1956 and ending the Korean War. However, he may be remembered longer for an accomplishment that began when he was a general in the U.S. Army. The urgent – important matrix also known as the Eisenhower matrix is his legacy. It looks like this:

The four quadrants make complete sense. If something is urgent and important we should focus on the task as it is both time sensitive and adds value. It is a number one priority. If something is important but not so urgent, it can be scheduled and put into the calendar. We then move onto the urgent things that might not be so important. These tasks need doing quickly but they could be delegated to somebody else. And finally, those things that are not important and have no urgency should be avoided as they are not worth spending time on.

The President of the United States has meetings organised almost by the minute because of the sheer volume and the importance of his work. Bill Gates is also reputed to have a timetable planned for him in the style of the US president. Days are carved into five-minute slices, with every meeting and handshake timed to the second. I am not suggesting that we run our lives like that of Mr Gates or Joe Biden, but we should think about taking a leaf out of Eisenhower’s book.


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