The Eisenhower Matrix arranges your to-do list based on each task’s relative importance and urgency. The design requires you to think of how a task can affect the overall enterprise. It may also encourage long-term preparation.
Miller Lite’s famous advertising campaign,”Tastes Great, Less Filling,” can offer an easy-to-understand example of how a standard, two-by-two decision-making matrix functions.
If we place the quality of”Tastes Good” on the vertical axis (y-axis), we anticipate the sum of”Tastes Good” to grow as we go up, so the top two quadrants flavor best. Likewise, with”Less Filling” plotted on the x-axis, we would expect to get the least filling beers at both right-hand quadrants.
In an ordinary two-by-two matrix, the top right is the”magical” quadrant, wherein you discover the best or most significant category.
Therefore, the quadrant at the upper right is both”Tastes Good” and”Less Filling.” For many two-by-two matrices, this upper-right quadrant is the very best or most important.
Importance and Urgency
For the Eisenhower Matrix, the y-axis is significance, and the x-axis is urgency.
As you review your list of ecommerce related jobs, you’d organize them in the quadrants.
If the Eisenhower Matrix were a typical matrix, it’d look like this. Relative importance is on the y-axis, and comparative urgency is about the x-axis.
One of the first advantages of the Eisenhower Matrix is that it compels us to compare or reconcile tasks which are”important and pressing” with tasks which are”important but not urgent.”
A frequent approach to describe the difference between these quadrants and tasks would be to think of a sinking boat.
Imagine you’re on a lake on your own in a small boat when suddenly a piece of debris pokes a fist-sized hole in the hull below the waterline. You could have two important tasks: (I) bond or pump rushing water from the ship before it sinks, and (ii) fix the hole.
Pumping or bailing water is both urgent and important. If you do not pump or bond, you’ll quickly be swimming. Plugging the hole is significant but comparatively less urgent. You could put it off at least until the ship was filled with water. So which should you do ?
Bailing water keeps you afloat, but does not fix the actual issue. Fixing the hole will fix the main issue, but the ship could sink before you are done.
Here the solution may be to bond fast so you can make the time required to fix the hole. You might want to bond for a while, work on the hole, and then return to bailing.
The Eisenhower Matrix
The Eisenhower Matrix addresses this conundrum in two ways.
First, it’s non-standard since it reverses the horizontal axis, setting the”important, but not urgent” quadrant in the upper-right position. This is because important but not urgent tasks are often the keys to long-term achievement.
If your ecommerce business is a sinking ship, it’s plugging the holes, not bailing, that will gradually get you sailing . Putting important, but not urgent tasks in the upper right acknowledges this.
However, second, the grid tags the quadrant in the upper left as”Do First.” These are the important and urgent tasks. This recognizes that sometimes you’ve got to do at least a while before it’s possible to plug in a hole even when the latter is ultimately more important.
The Eisenhower Matrix puts important but not urgent tasks in the magic quadrant on the top right. You should spend the majority of your time working on jobs within this quadrant.
Do First. By nature, pressing and important tasks are done first. As you read off your to-do list and assign a job to this quadrant, you’re essentially saying it is a priority, if not the priority. You need to do what you can to finish it immediately. You still need to think about time, resources, and costs, but these are what you have to do.
Pick (Schedule). The upper-right quadrant is tagged”Pick” as in”Decide When to Do” or simply”Schedule.” These are important but not urgent tasks. And, again, these are often the long-term initiatives which will grow your ecommerce business. Place these tasks on the calendar and treat them as sacred.
For instance, your ecommerce company might use content promoting to draw shoppers, therefore it’s necessary to publish a YouTube video every week. The YouTube recording is seldom urgent, but always significant, so schedule it. Pick that every Monday, you’ll devote 9:00 a.m. to noon on movie production. Don’t let other jobs interrupt this moment.
Delegate (Automate). Some jobs are urgent but not important to your ecommerce business. As much as possible, you should avoid doing these jobs yourself, but still make sure that they get finished.
By way of instance, paying invoices is an urgent ecommerce job. If you do not pay the rental on your warehouse, you won’t have any place to keep your stock. So delegate or automate it. Consider automatic bill pay.
Similarly, you might hire an assistant to screen calls or emails.
Delete. As you go through the lists of jobs, you’ll get some that aren’t important and not urgent. The Eisenhower Matrix enables you to just delete these.
The quickest way to check off an item on your to-do list isn’t to do it. Simply put a line through it and forget it ever existed.
If deleting seems too intense, consider moving it from the list. By way of instance, if you use a Kanban board for your ecommerce jobs, you could make a list of”tabled” items. Any task that falls to the not important and not urgent quadrant has”tabled.”
The Eisenhower Matrix is a tool. It’s meant to assist you consider the tasks you decide to work on and how they affect your company. Use this tool in combination with your good sense and comprehension of the resources and time necessary to complete each job.