What Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower Can Educate You About Time Administration
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This story originally appeared on the calendar
Dwight D. Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States of America. He was elected in 1953 and was elected for a second term in 1956. He was to be president until 1961. During his presidency, he accomplished a number of things, including the Federal Highway Act of 1956 and the effective ending of the Korean War.
It's worth noting that one of Eisenhower's longest-running accomplishments did not come from his presidency, although it influenced his ministry. As a general in the U.S. Army and in other senior military positions, Eisenhower developed a system that helped him prioritize his daily to-do list. This effective prioritization made him a better leader for both the military and his country.
The Urgent-Important Matrix, also known as the Eisenhower Matrix, helps you prioritize your to-do list and increase your daily efficiency and productivity. Let's summarize how it works and how you can implement it in your own life:
The Eisenhower Matrix works by dividing tasks into four quadrants. The rows and columns help you determine which tasks should go where. The columns represent urgently and not urgent Tasks, while the accompanying lines indicate important and unimportant Tasks. Together you get these unique quadrants:
Quadrant 1: Thu
The first quadrant contains all of your most important tasks for the day. This is the cross section between urgent and important, so of course your attention will be focused on it first and foremost. Next, this is the "do" quadrant, which means that these tasks must be completed as quickly as possible.
This is where your previously set deadlines are displayed, especially those that have no flexibility. This includes customer meetings, scheduled flights or fixed editorial deadlines. These types of tasks will be the first thing to catch your attention every morning.
Unscheduled tasks can often sneak their way into these quadrants and you need to be prepared for them. For example, if your entire office goes down the internet, you need to make room on your schedule for that emergency by shifting your priorities in a snap.
Quadrant 2: Decide
Some people will mistake important tasks for urgent ones. This second quadrant will help you tell the two apart. While these tasks are certainly important to you, they can be scheduled on their own time instead of being forced into available areas on your calendar.
For example, maintaining your physical health is important, but may not be as urgent as having a project deadline with a set due date. So take the time to add gym visit times to your calendar here. This will help ensure that you are taking time to care for your physical health without it becoming a stressful endeavor.
You can use this quadrant to plan more time with your family, pursue a personal hobby, or even read a leisurely book to relax in the afternoon.
Quadrant 3: Delegate
Some tasks are urgent, but not quite as important as the tasks that fill out the first quadrant. These are the tasks that you should delegate to others if possible. For those in leadership positions, this is an especially important quadrant to focus on. Many executives can get so caught up in the details that they spend too much time cramming quadrant one while they could move some tasks into quadrant three.
Just think about the kind of tasks you would hand off to an assistant or department head. For example, it might be urgent to schedule appointments on your calendar, but not as important as the meeting you are currently attending. The responsibility for scheduling can instead be delegated to a secretary.
Quadrant 4: Disregard
This is the last quadrant of the Eisenhower matrix. These tasks are neither urgent nor important and should therefore be forgotten. Some will call this the "Don't Do" section or even the "Delete" section because you have three other quadrants to deal with first with much more important tasks.
Some of these tasks don't even make it onto your calendar, such as: B. scrolling through social media or taking a nap. These tasks, by and large, just aren't important or urgent, although they can be tempting. Part of the reason the Eisenhower Matrix works so well is because it moves your attention away from those distractions and onto more productive projects.
Everyone will have a different matrix, depending on their profession, seniority and the decision to prioritize their own tasks. However, here are a few steps you can take to get started:
List your tasks
Start by listing each and every task you want to accomplish in the coming days. List important deadlines, goals, and dates. Feel free to add even the smallest items to this list as you will look through them later.
As you get used to using a matrix to prioritize your to-do list, don't worry about which quadrants everything belongs in just yet. Instead, first focus on having all of your tasks in front of you so that you can decide how to organize everything.
Start at the top
Now that you've tidied up your to-do list, it's time to create your Eisenhower matrix. You can draw one in a notebook or you can use an online program such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. Your matrix consists of four squares that together form a larger square.
Quadrant one, the "Do" quadrant, is positioned in the upper left corner. Quadrant two is directly to the right, quadrant three directly below it. The fourth and final quadrant takes up the remaining space in the lower right corner.
Once you are done with the simple drawing, start filling in each quadrant with the appropriate tasks. Start with the most urgent and important tasks first and slowly work your way through each quadrant. The more you become familiar with how the matrix works, the better you can organize your tasks in this way.
Keep it with you
The Eisenhower Matrix is not a set-it-and-forget-it model unless you have an impeccable memory. In the beginning, keep your matrix with you so you can refer to it all day. It's easy to do if you can track it online and access your matrix from any electronic device.
This is an important step as there may be times when your matrix needs to be adjusted, as mentioned in the case of an unplanned crisis. In addition, referring to your matrix often helps ensure that you are following the parameters you set for each task.
Now that you have a feel for how the Eisenhower Matrix is built, it is time to put it into practice. Do a test run for the next week to get a feel for how prioritization is changing your approach to work and affecting your productivity.
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What Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower Can Teach You About Time Management appeared first on the Calendar.