The Magical Clarity of the Eisenhower Box for Better Productivity and Time Management

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When it comes to time management, few things cause more stress than our mounting to do list. It seems like no matter how many items we check off, more and more continuously pile up through the day. Not to mention the hours of time wasted at work each day…and when you run your own business, there is no extra time to waste. This is why I’m constantly learning how to be more productive–because between home to do lists, homeschool, and work, I HAVE to figure out how to manage my time efficiently. I don’t know about you, but this makes me crazy anxious. And when I get anxious, many times I find myself getting super distracted on things that don’t move the dial in my business or at home. Which is why I’m so excited about the Eisenhower Box, sometimes called the Eisenhower matrix.

The Eisenhower box is a tool used to categorize tasks based on importance and urgency, and decide which tasks really do need to be done first, which can be saved for later, which can be delegated, and which can just be nixed from your list altogether. I love it because it forces me to be ruthless in eliminating stuff (much like when I go on a tear through my kids’ rooms when I can’t handle the mess any more.)

It visually is a matrix, and is such an awesome tool for time management, getting more done, and staying productive. Here’s what the Eisenhower box looks like:

eisenhower box matrix productivity time managament

What is the Eisenhower Method?

The Eisenhower Method is a way to increase productivity by categorizing tasks or your to-do list based on whether each task is important or not, and urgent or not. Like I mentioned before, it looks like a matrix so you can place to-do items in each box then know what to do with them. By categorizing this way, each box will designate each task based on the 4 D’s of time management: delete, delegate, defer, or do.

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How does the Eisenhower Box work?

When you look at your Eisenhower Matrix you’ll see that on the sides and top it has labels: urgent, not urgent, important, and not important. The important part to note here is that each thing on your to-do list will be a combination of two of those 4 things.

What you want to do is take each to do item on your list, and decide whether it is important or not important, then decide if it’s urgent or non-urgent. Place it in the appropriate box. And then this is how you decipher how to deal with the items in each box:

  1. Urgent + Important: DO (Place these items on your to-do list and organize by priority)
  2. Urgent + Not-Important: DELEGATE (These are the things that need to get done, but they’re not important enough to demand your full attention. Have someone else do them.)
  3. Not Urgent + Important: DELAY (Put this in a time-slot on your calendar or in your planner for a later date and don’t think about it again until necessary)
  4. Not Urgent + Not Important: DELETE (Get rid of this task, as it’s probably sucking time and energy that you should focus somewhere else.)
Eisenhower box matrix printable template

Example of the Eisenhower Box in action

Here’s an example of how the Eisenhower matrix works for me. Keep in mind that we have 3 kids homeschooling right now, I work from home, and I’m also the ‘manager’ of our house. So saying I have a lot on my plate is a drastic understatement. Which makes it VERY important that I’m organized and as productive as possible every day. (Ya know, except our vacations and weekends, which I treat as a sacred time for our family.)

Eisenhower box matrix printable template
Eisenhower box matrix printable template
Eisenhower box matrix printable template

Eisenhower Box Template

This is honestly something I use all the time because of the accumulation of to do lists that I have. I have several goals for my business I’m always working on in tandem. But not only that– my husband hadn’t heard of it before and once I showed it to him started using it regularly and also pushed it out to his team to use. (Cue proud moment twinkle in my eye where the hubby actually listened to me for once. ?)

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