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How to Work More Efficiently — The Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix

This comes from The Decision Book: 50 Models for Strategic Thinking.

The US President Dwight D. Eisenhower supposedly once said “The most urgent decisions are rarely the most important ones.” Eisenhower was considered a master of time management, i.e. he had the ability to do everything as and when it needed to be done. With the Eisenhower method, you will learn to distinguish between what is important and what is urgent.

Whatever the job that lands on your desk, begin by breaking it down according to the Eisenhower method [see model], and then decide how to proceed. We often focus too strongly on the ‘urgent and important' field, on the things that have to be dealt with immediately. Ask yourself: When will I deal with the things that are important, but not urgent? When will I take the time to deal with the important tasks before they become urgent? This is the field for strategic, long-term decisions.

Another method of organising your time better is attributed to the multimillionaire* Warren Buffett. Make a list of everything you want to get done today. Begin with the task at the top of the list, and continue only when you have completed it. When a task has been completed cross it off the list.

* Buffett is actually a multibillionaire.