The Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix is a popular method for prioritizing tasks based on their importance and urgency.

In this article:
  • How the Eisenhower Matrix works
  • What research says about the Eisenhower Matrix
  • Using Basis to enhance the Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix, also known as the Eisenhower Box, is a popular method for prioritizing tasks based on their importance and urgency. The Matrix was popularized by Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, and is based on the idea that not all tasks are created equal. By prioritizing tasks based on their importance and urgency, the Matrix makes it easy to identify the projects that matter most, helping you avoid the trap of wasting time on trivial tasks.

Here is how the Eisenhower Matrix works:

  1. Identify your tasks: The first step in using the Eisenhower Matrix is to identify all the tasks you need to complete. These can be tasks related to work, personal projects, or other areas of your life.

  2. Determine the importance and urgency of each task: Once you’ve identified your tasks, determine the importance and urgency of each task. Importance has to do with how much a task matters; urgency with how pressing a task is. Tasks can be (a) important and urgent, (b) important but not urgent, (c) urgent but not important, or (d) neither important nor urgent.
  3. Prioritize your tasks: After determining each task's importance and urgency, prioritize them based on their quadrant in the Eisenhower Matrix. Complete tasks in the "important and urgent" quadrant first, followed by tasks in the "important but not urgent" quadrant. Tasks in these quadrants are significant for your project and worth your time and attention. However, tasks in the "urgent but not important" quadrant are not. While you should complete these tasks, spending time detracts from the time you have to work on what matters most—delegate tasks in this quadrant to others. If delegating is not possible, consider postponing them. Tasks in the "not important and not urgent" quadrant should be eliminated or completed once you've finished everything else.


To determine a task’s importance, ask yourself questions like: How much hangs on this task? What will completing this task allow me to do? How necessary is this task for getting me to the end goal?
For urgency, consider questions like: By when should this task be done? How quickly should it be done? How hard is the task’s deadline?

What research says about the Eisenhower Matrix

TThere is limited research on the effectiveness of the Eisenhower Matrix as a time management tool. However, some studies have found that it can be a valuable tool for prioritizing tasks and improving productivity. For example, a study published in the Journal of Business and Technical Communication in 2009 found that students who used the Eisenhower Matrix reported higher levels of productivity and lower levels of stress compared to a control group.

Using Basis to enhance the Eisenhower Matrix

Basis can help you maximize your productivity when using the Eisenhower Matrix. Important and urgent tasks should be completed during your first high-energy zone of the day. Basis determines your peak energy times every day; a 2.5 - 3 hour time block you should make the most of every day. Whether working on a challenging task or attending an important meeting or presentation, you should spend this time of the day on what matters most. Then, you can get to less critical tasks during your second energy zone of the day or your downtime.

If you'd like to see how our community uses Basis to enhance their productivity around the Eisenhower Matrix, check out the Eisenhower Matrix channel in Discord here.

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