in a nutshell
“What is urgent is seldom important and what is important is seldom urgent.” U.S. General Dwight Eisenhower was known for his time management skills. Enough so that his methods inspired a tool leveraged by companies to plan, schedule and, if necessary, delegate tasks according to assigned priority: the Eisenhower Matrix.
• Personal time management: The matrix – also known as the urgent/important matrix – invites one to graphically distribute personal commitments into four quadrants determined by alternating two variables: urgency and importance. It is a method of prioritizing and behaving in a manner that optimizes the time available. No matter the military, political or diplomatic value, Eisenhower knew how to best manage the most precious resource.
• Work life: Eisenhower was a great tactician and a tireless workaholic. It is inevitable, therefore, that his matrix favors the timely performance of work tasks. E-mails and meetings constantly take time away from more important activities. Hence, a good solution might be to assign urgent but secondary tasks to a co-worker. This is the “interruptions” quadrant.
• Study method: Of course, the Eisenhower Matrix can also be exploited by students so that they adopt an effective method of dividing the study load. Assuming that they cannot delegate the performance of homework to other students, the system recognizes the situations of “crisis” (urgent and important), “success” (important but not urgent) and “loss of time” (not urgent and not important).
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• Eisenhower Matrix in the information technology industry
Datisfy produces reports for QuickBooks, cloud-based management software. The Canadian company decided to implement a time management system that allowed its employees to gain a cohesive view of the projects that needed to be done. This way, they could jointly evaluate them over the long term and assign each its respective relevance.
• Eisenhower Matrix in the construction industry
The Australian company Obsidian Plumbing was founded in 2005 and has grown significantly since then. To cope with communication problems that were slowing down the implementation of their projects, the managing director decided to use the Eisenhower Matrix. By organizing priorities and dividing them into consistent quadrants, the business teams were able to optimize work planning, with appreciable results.
• Eisenhower Matrix in the healthcare industry
In Kansas, the Leawood Pediatrics practice has long encountered problems in managing appointments. Specifically, the difficulties were related to the use of different types of systems, digital and non-digital. The use of the Eisenhower Matrix has led to an improved workflow, which allocates the time saved from managing work to visiting patients.
• Eisenhower Matrix in support of information technology
Tuff Shed is an American company that manufactures and installs storage buildings and garages. To maintain business efficiency in all areas, the IT department decided to stay on top of assignments by adopting Eisenhower Matrix. The breakthrough was evident: the IT department – and therefore the entire company – completed all the tasks related to the begun projects on time, dividing the work according to the urgency and importance of the tasks.
• Eisenhower Matrix in support of HR
The Texas-based company G.A.S. Global was founded in 1970, and has since expanded to more than twenty countries. As a result, the HR department has a significant task: dealing with the sorting of the workforce to manage the different jobs. The use of the Eisenhower method has made it easier to monitor the progress made by the teams in charge.
• Eisenhower Matrix in support of research
George Washington University conducted a study on the implementation of the Eisenhower Matrix – in the text denoted as the Priority Matrix – and its effects on production. The resulting suggestion pertains to people in every organization: use the matrix, or at least a method of organization and time management, to channel the right amount of energy into work life.
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