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Priority Defines Action: Applying Eisenhower’s Priority Matrix



As a Success Coordinator, I’ve seen many, many companies triumph – and naturally, I have also seem some companies falter. The most successful companies are led by individuals who empower the team as a whole. My experience has allowed me to identify some of the most common characteristics that can be attributed to your success: drive, decisiveness, and dedication.

The UDA Success Team reviews sources of inspiration on a regular basis to allow us to be most effective and efficient when guiding our clients down the path of success. We often discuss universal themes in these reviews, such as success, leadership, ingenuity. As a team, we strive to continually better our professional insight so that we may provide well-founded guidance to our clients and be the best team that we can be.  

Recently, we reviewed the Eisenhower Priority Matrix, which is a concept developed by President Eisenhower to support development of priorities and decisiveness of action. This matrix asks us to assess the importance of a task as well as the urgency of a task, thus creating 4 task classifications: Urgent+Important, Not Urgent+Important, Urgent+Not Important, Not Urgent+Not Important.

Theory is, all tasks fit into 1 of these 4 categories which supports the prioritization of one task over another. By thinking about tasks in the framework of these dual designations, you begin the process of streamlining your day to day task management. Decisions made.

Additionally, each classification has a related response that is, based on the urgency and importance of the task as classified. The associated responses are time specific and actionable: Do, Decide, Delegate, Disregard.

Urgent+Important - Time Sensitive, High Priority = Do It Now

Not Urgent+Important – Not Time Sensitive, High Priority = Decide when & Dedicate time

Urgent+Not Important – Time Sensitive, Low Priority = Delegate to others

Not Urgent+Not Important – Not Time Sensitive, Low Priority = Disregard

This simple approach allows for little hesitation and maximum efficiency when assessing any task. The specificity of only two characteristics provides you with precise direction, allowing for deliberate response and immediately progress on to the next task.  Action defined.

I’ve often heard that “action expresses priority” – the idea that it’s not what you say, it’s what you do that counts. True – but with a purposeful assessment on your tasks, priority should define your action, not vice versa. This perspective opened my eyes a great deal to the prioritization of tasks I face at work and at home on a daily basis and improved my overall approach to success. I encourage you to apply this matrix in your daily lives to enhance focus and improve clarity.

Interested in more insights about Project Management? Take a look at:

Topics: Inspiration

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