The Eisenhower Matrix - as a tool for prioritizing

You will never have enough time and resources to realize everything you plan. You always have to give up something. But what if all the things on your list seem super important, and you just can’t decide which one to do first? In this case, prioritization techniques will help you. They provide a formal method for assessing the importance of each matter. This way you can unload your brain to direct its resources to work. In this article we give 7 time management techniques: try them and choose the one that suits you best.


Prioritization Matrix

Eisenhower's strategy for taking action and organizing your affairs is simple. Using the decision matrix below in your time management, you will divide your actions based on four possibilities.

  1. Urgent and important - tasks that should be completed immediately.
  2. Important, but not urgent - tasks that need to be planned to be done later.
  3. Urgent, but not important - tasks that are better delegated to someone else.
  4. Neither urgent nor important - tasks that you would rather not do at all.

The great thing about this matrix is ​​that it can be used for large-scale promotion tasks AND for small daily plans - “What should I do right now?”

How to Focus on a Goal and Find Your Direction

There are many tips for making plans and properly organizing time. If you listen to the effectiveness of each of them, you can say that success is achieved extremely easily. However, in practice everything is much more complicated. Therefore, we have prepared a description of several methods so that you can choose the best one for yourself.

  • We recommend that you first assess the real situation. Try to set goals for yourself and don't be afraid to plan more than you can handle. This situation will always keep you on your toes.
  • The method of prioritizing by assessing the current state of tasks is effective in that you can understand what stage of development your life is at right now. The essence of the method lies in verbal analysis or description of what is happening right now. Try to look at your life from the outside. Identify positive and negative states and make adjustments.
  • Use the rule of things you want in a year. Try to imagine your life in 365 days. Project your actions, think about how you achieved your goals. Appreciate everything that brought you there. Try to distance yourself from reality, and an imaginary experience will help you understand whether your strategy is working or contains errors. Then you can decide whether you are moving in the right direction or whether you need to choose other options to succeed.
  • Using Reverse Thinking, you can understand the importance of your tasks thanks to your to-do list. To do this, you need to work with a vision board on which you write down your main goals. Start from the opposite, that is, why you achieve something, what is the point of it. This will allow you to determine the main things.

Working with a vision board is useful because it collects all plans in one place, and a person immediately understands what he wants.

Who is Eisenhower?

The exercise was invented by Dwight D. Eisenhower, a five-star general in World War II and the 34th President of the United States, who was an effective manager.

In the genre-defining self-help book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey distilled Eisenhower's ideas into a simple tool for prioritizing tasks, now known as the Eisenhower Matrix (or Time Management Matrix, Eisenhower Square, and Eisenhower Method).

This prioritization framework helps you combat the rush effect, eliminate time and energy drains in life planning, and create more mental freedom to achieve your goals.

Let's take a look inside the Eisenhower Square.

Quadrant 1: do it immediately

Quadrant 1 contains tasks that are both urgent and important . These are “do first” things because they are significant to your life or career in some way and need to be done immediately. You feel that these things are critical.

These are things that need to be done to avoid negative consequences . It is important to be able to manage goals in this quadrant of the Eisenhower Matrix.

An example of a Segment 1 mini-goal in your career could be responding to a time-sensitive email from a client.

This matrix can also be used in your personal life. An example of such a function in personal life could be registering a newborn baby, shoulder pain and the requirement to find a massage therapist, or buying tickets for tomorrow's train.

Using a scorecard to prioritize goals

What prioritization tools should your organization use and how do you calculate your priority score?

In fact, most organizations create their own version of the prioritization model. BSC Designer includes a prioritization template and templates available in the program.

Next we will look at:

  • building your own system of prioritization indicators
  • examples of using this template

Preparing a prioritization template and scorecard

Create a new scorecard using the Prioritization Models template:

Prioritization Template
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28 BSC templates, including
the Prioritization Template

In the Prioritization Template group, you'll see a list of default scoring options. For this example, we used the parameters of the RICE model.

Prioritization Template
Use our free plan to access
28 BSC templates, including
the Prioritization Template

Let's take a look at pre-configuring parameters and how to customize them to suit the needs of your prioritization model.

Parameter weight

Each parameter has a corresponding weight (in the “Weight” column). The weight of a specific parameter can be changed in the Performance tab.

Positive and negative parameters

Some parameters have been pre-configured to have positive

impact on the final priority score (reach, impact, confidence), some as having
a negative
impact (effort).

The optimization direction of a parameter can be changed in the Performance tab.

Prioritization Template
Use our free plan to access
28 BSC templates, including
the Prioritization Template


All parameters are configured to use "Expert Judgment" units, which numerically represent the parameters on a non-linear scale:

Prioritization Template
Use our free plan to access
28 BSC templates, including
the Prioritization Template

So we can determine the value of each parameter using natural selection:

If the suggested Expert Judgment units do not match your prioritization model, you can adjust them in the General tab:

Prioritization Template
Use our free plan to access
28 BSC templates, including
the Prioritization Template

Parameter icon

To make it easier to read the priority indicator system, we assigned icons to the parameters. To change it, click on the icon next to the parameter name:

Parameter description

A short name like "Impact" requires some explanation. For this purpose, you can use the “Description” field.

Example: Prioritization Model in Practice

To demonstrate how the prioritization pattern works, I use two competing ideas:

  • Product localization into Latin
  • Product localization into Portuguese

Creating a copy of the prioritization model

To give things some shape, let's create a new group

entitled “Case Study: Priority Analysis”

Prioritization Template
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28 BSC templates, including
the Prioritization Template

Now we can copy and paste

group prioritization template.

I renamed

the first copy to “Localization into Latin”, the second copy to “Localization to Portuguese”.

Competing Idea Scores

It's time to count the score

ideas in accordance with the proposed parameters.

While Latin is not without its uses, for this example we will assume that not many people are interested in localizing to Latin. Accordingly, the “Coverage” rating (see the “Value” field) is “ Low


Next, let's calculate the points for the Portuguese localization idea:

  • On the one hand, Portuguese is used by many of our potential clients (the “ Reach
    ” parameter is “
    ”), and
    is supposed to be “
  • On the other hand, we do not know whether the product will be suitable for the Portuguese-speaking market, so the level of confidence

Prioritization Template
Use our free plan to access
28 BSC templates, including
the Prioritization Template

If you are going to use the results of prioritization for strategic planning, I recommend that you write down the rationale for the scores assigned to the parameters.

For this purpose, BSC Designer has the “Initiatives” tool.

For example, for the parameter “ Confidence

” we can create a “
Local Market Consumer Insights
” initiative where we analyze website data and historical local market sales data:

Another initiative could be “ Localization Resources”

”, consistent with the “
” parameter. The initiative may include a budget and time frame for localization.

Prioritization Template
Use our free plan to access
28 BSC templates, including
the Prioritization Template

Priority score may vary

In BSC Designer, the priority score is time-based. For example, if your team has analyzed the local market, they will have more confidence about launching a product there.

To display this change in the program, we can select another date in the internal calendar and update the data in the “ Confidence”


If you plan to display score dynamics on your dashboard, you can track whether the score increase is associated with the completion of the initiative:

Finding the highest priority ideas

If we enter new data, the program updates the calculation of the priority of ideas:

In our example, Latin scored 13.61%, Portuguese – 46.27%. How does the program obtain this data? It normalizes the parameters, calculates the priority of each, and then uses their weight to calculate an overall priority score. We discussed the nuances of the calculation in this article.

If we have to choose one of two ideas, it becomes obvious which one has higher priority. If you are comparing more ideas, use the Analyze

. Sort the results by priority score (performance) and then focus on container analysis (competing ideas):

Prioritization Template
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28 BSC templates, including
the Prioritization Template

The list of ideas is now sorted by priority.

Quadrant 2: Decide when to do it

Tasks in Segment 2 are important but not urgent. This is where you want to invest the majority of your time. The objectives in this quadrant of the Eisenhower Matrix align with your long-term goals .

What are examples of these problems? Obviously, these are long-term planning goals . Or for example, exercise is important for your health, but you can decide when to do it. You should also spend time with your family, but again, this needs to fit around your schedule.

In your career, you may benefit from further education or training in a new professional skill. These things are good for your career, but they don't need to be done immediately.

Here you should understand that everyone has different goals and objectives. So just because something falls into Quadrant 2 for you, it doesn't mean it does for the other person. Also, just because these things aren't urgent doesn't mean they aren't important.

People often associate urgency with importance, which is not always true . Since your goals remain the same, everything that will benefit you in the long term gets second priority according to the Eisenhower method.

Prioritization task

Let's take for example a typical situation that any food company faces. The backlog is full of interesting ideas proposed by various parties:

  • Important clients
    urgently need something
  • The support team
    thinks something will make their job easier.
  • The developers
    propose changing the architecture to improve the quality of the product
  • Board members
    believe something will help them conquer a new market

Some prioritization tools can help you focus on the most important ideas. These tools can be divided into:

  • Prioritization charts
    are graphical diagrams that help you quickly analyze ideas.
  • Scoring tools
    are scorecards that take into account various factors and their importance and calculate a final priority score.

Next, we discuss both types of prioritization models. Which type should you prefer? Common sense suggests that you should start with a simple prioritization chart and then move on to a scoring tool that takes into account a lot of data.

Quadrant 3: Delegate

Have you ever felt like you were paying too much attention to a task that, in hindsight, wasn't very important? Or do you think that you need to do something right now, but in reality this is not the case?

If so, you are not alone.

This common mistake often occurs when someone asks you to do something that doesn't directly benefit you or doesn't get you any closer to achieving your goals. For Quadrant 3 tasks of the Eisenhower Matrix, it is valuable to learn and understand how to delegate certain things .

When you think something is urgent but it really isn't. Usually, this is an external source of distraction. Examples are constantly checking your email or phone, or responding to people as soon as they try to contact you.

You decide it's urgent at the moment, so you stop what you're doing to solve the problem. But in reality, all this can wait.

If you are busy working on a project and the phone rings, it is not critical for you to answer it now. This way, you can delegate this task to someone else. It may seem urgent at the time it happens, but these little things can be handled by other people.

Learn to wake up easily

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