Make Work Simpler: The Eisenhower Decision Matrix
To Our Valued Clients and Friends:
Entrepreneurs. They – or, rather, we – are a unique breed. We drive a significant segment of the world’s economy, we create jobs – and we help people. But one thing I’ve found about us – we tend to take on too much ourselves.
I don’t know whether Dwight D. Eisenhower ever thought of himself as an entrepreneur – maybe not, having lived much of his life in the U.S. Army. But, as a general in that body, as Allied Forces Supreme Commander during World War II, and as the 34th President of the United States, serving for two terms, he had to have known the feeling of having too full a plate.
In response, he invented the Eisenhower principle, which is translated graphically into the matrix above, to help him regiment his days and weeks.
How do we use it? Read on to learn how:
DO IT NOW – this section is where we put the tasks which are at once the most urgent and the most important, which aren’t always the same thing. These tasks also require our personal attention and timely completion.
PLAN IT – for work which is less urgent but still essential and requires us to address it ourselves. We schedule these tasks for the coming days.
DELEGATE IT – if a task is urgent, requiring immediate attention but not necessarily ours, delegate the work to the best person to handle it. Find a WHO not a HOW!
DROP IT – is the task neither urgent nor essential? If so, can we simply delete it from the schedule? Sometimes we can’t – so those occasions would fall under the ‘Delegate’ category. But, by all means, eliminate what really doesn’t need doing.
The fundamental principle holds that a single schedule can work for both work and personal matters; I’m not so sure that is what works best for me, though I’ve certainly used the principle.
But the Eisenhower principle, and the decision matrix, are an excellent reminder to:
- Prioritize, with intention,
- Not try to do everything ourselves,
- Delegate!!! again, FIND a WHO sometimes and not a HOW (this is a reference to Dan Sullivan’s excellent book, Who Not How: The Formula to Achieve Bigger Goals Through Accelerating Teamwork, which I highly recommend).
- Maybe some things don’t even need doing at all.
How do you schedule your day?
Please click here to email me directly – I’d love to know your strategies.
Until next Wednesday –