The Eisenhower Matrix – Tribe Pro

February 15, 2016
Oliver Stahl

In Tribe Pro, there is a Rank view which shows you quickly what the most important task you have is. You find it by looking for the top priority task that falls into Tribe’s organizational system (Later, Soon, Now, Late). What you maybe didn’t know is that the rank view is really an Eisenhower matrix for your Tribe tasks.

You might ask yourself, how does an Eisenhower matrix work? We thought it would be helpful if we explained what the Eisenhower matrix is, but why try and reinvent the wheel, right? That’s why we chose to feature this article about what the Eisenhower matrix is, written by productivity expert James Clear.

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Original Article written by James Clear
How to be More Productive and Eliminate Time Wasting Activities by Using the “Eisenhower Box”

Dwight Eisenhower lived one of the most productive lives you can imagine.

Eisenhower had an incredible ability to sustain his productivity not just for weeks or months, but for decades. His most famous productivity strategy is known as the Eisenhower Box and it’s a simple decision-making tool that you can use right now. Let’s talk about how to be more productive and how Eisenhower’s strategy works.

The Eisenhower Box: How to be More Productive

Eisenhower’s strategy for taking action and organizing your tasks is simple. Using the decision matrix below, you will separate your actions based on four possibilities.

  1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
  2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
  3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
  4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

The great thing about this matrix is that it can be used for broad productivity plans (“How should I spend my time each week?”) and for smaller, daily plans (“What should I do today?”).

Here is an example of what my Eisenhower Box looks like for today.

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The Difference Between Urgent and Important

Urgent tasks are things that you feel like you need to react to: emails, phone calls, texts, news stories. Meanwhile, in the words of Brett McKay, “Important tasks are things that contribute to our long-term mission, values, and goals.”

Separating these differences is simple enough to do once, but doing so continually can be tough. The reason I like the Eisenhower Method is that it provides a clear framework for making the decisions over and over again. And like anything in life, consistency is the hard part.

Here are some other observations I’ve made from using this method.

Elimination Before Optimization

The fastest way to get something done — whether it is having a computer read a line of code or crossing a task off your to-do list — is to eliminate that task entirely. There is no faster way to do something than not doing it at all. That’s not a reason to be lazy, but rather a suggestion to force yourself to make hard decisions and delete any task that does not lead you toward your mission, your values, and your goals.

Too often, we use productivity, time management, and optimization as an excuse to avoid the really difficult question: “Do I actually need to be doing this?” It is much easier to remain busy and tell yourself that you just need to be a little more efficient or to “work a little later tonight” than to endure the pain of eliminating a task that you are comfortable with doing, but that isn’t the highest and best use of your time.

As Tim Ferriss says, “Being busy is a form of laziness — lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.”

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Does This Help Me Accomplish My Goal?

In my experience, there are two questions that can help clarify the entire process behind the Eisenhower Method. Those two questions are…

  1. What am I working toward?
  2. What are the core values that drive my life?

These are questions that I have asked myself in my Annual Review and my Integrity Report. Answering these questions has helped me clarify the categories for certain tasks in my life. Deciding which tasks to do and which tasks to delete becomes much easier when you are clear about what is important to you.

The Eisenhower Method isn’t a perfect strategy, but I have found it to be a useful decision-making tool for increasing my productivity and eliminating the behaviors that take up mental energy, waste time, and rarely move me toward my goals. I hope you’ll find it useful too.

Footnotes:

  • Thanks to Brett McKay at The Art of Manliness for his post on the Eisenhower Box.
  • The term “highest and best use” is a real estate concept for finding the most valuable use of a piece of property. My friend Mark Heckmann is a fan of using the phrase for personal time management and I like it too. Thanks Mark!
  • For other useful productivity tips, check out this article summarizing Scott Hansleman’s work.

Follow James for his productivity advice and thought leadership through his social media accounts:
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