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Blog > How to Use the Eisenhower Matrix to Boost Your Team’s Productivity

How to Use the Eisenhower Matrix to Boost Your Team’s Productivity

Sharpen your focus
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Proper time management and delegation are crucial if you want to effectively lead high-productivity teams. However, if you work in a fast-paced, demanding environment, time management and delegation may be easier said than done.

If you’re working on prioritizing your most important tasks, the Eisenhower matrix can be a valuable tool. It helps you sort tasks by their level of urgency and importance, allowing you to determine which tasks should be at the top of your and your team’s to-do list — and the ones you can eliminate from the list altogether.

Here’s what you need to know about this productivity game changer.

What is the Eisenhower Matrix?

The Eisenhower Matrix, invented by Dwight D. Eisenhower, is an approach to time principles that helps you better define a list of tasks to determine how important they really are.

The Matrix separates all tasks into four quadrants: urgent and important tasks, important but not urgent tasks, urgent but not important tasks, and neither urgent nor important tasks.

Your first thought might be that all urgent tasks are important, and vice versa, but that’s not necessarily true.

According to the Eisenhower Matrix, urgent tasks involve time restriction; you must complete them promptly, possibly before a deadline, or you will face negative repercussions. In contrast, important tasks come with no specific timeline, but they’re vital for helping you achieve your long-term goals; you can put these tasks off, but they are critical to your success.

Using the Eisenhower Matrix can help leaders better delegate tasks and decide which tasks require their immediate attention, which tasks they can put off until later, and which tasks they can remove from their to-do list entirely. As such, the Eisenhower Matrix is a favorite tool among the Arootah executive coaching community, as well as many business advisory professionals.

Practical Application of the Eisenhower Matrix

So, what does using the Eisenhower Matrix look like in action? Read on to learn how you can use the four quadrants listed above to better manage your time and your teams.

Urgent and Important Tasks

Which tasks on your to-do list belong in the “urgent and important” quadrant? Tasks that come with a deadline and are crucial to your overall success.

For example, portfolio managers might place immediate risk management and compliance issues in this quadrant. Similarly, they might place urgent client requests or market-sensitive trades that need to be executed promptly in this category.

Often, these urgent and important tasks require an all-hands-on-deck approach or business must assign them to an experienced team member. If you’re focused on these tasks personally, then it’s a good idea to eliminate all possible distractions and concentrate fully on them. Doing so will ensure you complete these tasks efficiently and to the best of your ability.

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Important but Non-Urgent Tasks

As previously discussed, important but non-urgent tasks are those you must complete if you want to achieve a goal. This quadrant is where many businesses put strategic planning, such as long-term investment research, development of new fund offerings, or enhancement of client relationships. Often, leaders will spend more of their energy on these important but non-urgent tasks, as doing so will prevent the non-urgent tasks from becoming urgent.

There’s no timeline for completing these tasks, but if you never schedule them in your calendar, you may put them off entirely or indefinitely. Scheduling important but non-urgent tasks means planning that strategic, long-term vision meeting for later in the month and only changing your schedule in the event an important and urgent task requires your immediate attention.

Urgent but Not Important Tasks

Urgent but not important tasks are often those that you can delegate to another individual on your team. They’re tasks that aren’t crucial to your team’s overall success, but you do need to complete them in a timely manner.

For example, urgent but not important tasks might include responding to non-critical emails or attending meetings with no clear agenda. Again, these tasks can be delegated to support staff, to ensure leaders have energy and availability to focus on the strategic tasks that fall into the two “important” boxes.

Of course, as you delegate these tasks, keep your finger on your team’s pulse to ensure they are completing the tasks and follow delegation best practices by providing them with clear guidance and sharing feedback. Otherwise, though, let the support team focus on the unimportant parts of your business.

Neither Urgent nor Important Tasks

Non-urgent and unimportant tasks can drain your valuable time without offering any tangible return on investment. Consider the time you spend monitoring the news or participating in unproductive meetings that don’t involve your goals. To efficiently meet your most important goals, reduce or cut out these activities out of your life.

Although it might be challenging to remove these tasks from your professional routine, particularly if they’re embedded in your company’s culture, eliminating them can free up a significant amount of time. You can then dedicate this newfound time to prioritizing tasks that are truly important.

The Bottom Line

Mastering the Eisenhower Matrix is a game-changer for leaders aiming to steer high-productivity teams in demanding environments toward success. By categorizing tasks by urgency and importance, leaders can sharpen their and their team’s focus on what truly drives success.

Learn more about time management at Arootah’s upcoming Time Principles Fireside Chat on April 25 from 6-9 PM EST.

Get practical strategies you can apply for personal and professional growth. Sign up for The Weekly Return newsletter today.

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Disclaimer: This article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be and should not be taken as professional medical, psychological, legal, investment, financial, accounting, or tax advice. Arootah does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or suitability of its content for a particular purpose. Please do not act or refrain from acting based on anything you read in our newsletter, blog or anywhere else on our website.

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