Time Management with the Eisenhower Matrix

Time is something most of us never seem to have enough of, especially in a time sensitive industry such as Logistics. Most of us have felt overwhelmed at work at some point which can lead to longer working days and increased stress levels as we struggle to cope.

So how can you manage your time better? One method is to step back for a moment and prioritise your tasks. Using a simple matrix, like the Eisenhower matrix shown below, you will be able to prioritise your tasks in the best order for you to tackle them effectively, within the time you have.

What is the Eisenhower Matrix?

The Eisenhower matrix is a simple four box ‘window’ type matrix used for categorising your daily tasks into one of four headings:

  • Important and Urgent
  • Important but Not Urgent
  • Unimportant and Urgent
  • Unimportant and Not Urgent

The Eisenhower matrix gets it name from the former US President, Dwight Eisenhower, who developed this time management tool to prioritise his work due to its urgency and importance.

Important and Urgent – these are tasks you must do today and must be completed first. For example: its 3pm and a customer order must be packed, invoiced and shipped by 4pm. It has to be and has to be done now.

Important but Not Urgent – these are tasks you do need to do but not right away. They can be done later or even postponed to be done another day. For example: Its 2pm Monday and you must draft an itinerary for the Wednesday afternoon staff meeting. It has to be done but can wait.

Unimportant and Urgent – these tasks need to be done quickly but not necessarily by you. These tasks could be delegated. For example: Courier has just arrived and is impatiently waiting on a signature for a delivery. It has to be done – but not necessarily by you.

Unimportant and Not Urgent – these are tasks that you can ignore as they are not relevant to your work. Look at them in your own free time if you wish. For example: Social media or personal messages. This can wait or be left.

The additional factor of Time

An important note to make regarding this matrix is the items within it are not static. If you choose to ignore an item it will eventually migrate from one box to another due to – yes you guessed it – TIME!

Lets look at the Important but Not Urgent example above of the meeting itinerary. It is currently Important but Not Urgent at 2pm Monday – what about if its its ignored until 4pm Tuesday – now people would start asking asking where it is. The task has now migrated and is now Important and Urgent as it has been left too long. See the video visualisation below:

As you get more used to how to prioritise your tasks you will soon be able to categorise them in your mind.

To download a free A4 pdf Eisenhower Matrix template to use as a visual learning aid, use the link below:

Published by A Kennedy

An award winning, UK based, International Logistics Manager for a multinational tool company. Over 25 years experience in international logistics and supply chain management. Elected ‘Chartered Status’ by the CILT and ‘Expert Status’ by the IoSCM.

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