Computer on a desk showing the text "Do more."

The Eisenhower Matrix


Today, I would like to talk about a VERY simple concept for time management. It is called the Eisenhower Matrix and it is supposed to help you with deciding which tasks need your attention and which don’t. I also want to talk about how this method can help in academia.

What is the Eisenhower Matrix?

The Eisenhower Matrix is a simple 2×2 matrix of priorities. You divide the rows into important and not important and the columns into urgent and not urgent. The matrix then tells you what to do. If it is urgent and important (A), you should do it yourself immediately. If it is not urgent, but important (B), you should do it yourself, but later. Just set a date and do it then. If the task is urgent and not important (C), you should delegate, meaning let someone else do it. Lastly, if the task is not urgent and not important (D), just don’t do it at all.

How I apply it in my work

So this is obviously simple, but I was wondering, if this productivity model is also applicable to academia, because to be honest, normally, we do everything ourselves. So for starters, I have already utilised the first row of the matrix pretty extensively. Normally, I try to do it all immediately, just to keep my head free of tasks. Sometimes however, there are more urgent matters than others and I have already written about my tray system, which is divided into Now, Later, Doesn’t Matter and Done.

Where Now corresponds to A, Later to B and Doesn’t Matter to D, I did not have a delegation option. In my work, I also really don’t as I have co-workers, but no employees. This is certainly different for someone higher up in the system, but for now, I really can’t delegate. So urgent becomes important and I do it as well immediately, no matter how important it is.


It doesn’t matter though, if I can delegate or not, the important thing is the matrix and how to decide what to do. I somehow already did it subconsciously, but it helps to visualise the decision process. What I really like about the Eisenhower Matrix is it’s simplicity. Other productivity methods seem to be way to complicated and I think that simple methods also encourage more productive work.

What about you? Did you already knew about the Eisenhower Matrix? Did or do you utilise it? Let me know in the comments down below.



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Sebastian Hageneuer

Hi! My name is Sebastian. I am an archaeologist, a university lecturer, freelancer, guitarist, karateka and father. You could say I am quiet busy, so I learned to manage my time and energy to build good habits and still have space for myself and my family. Sounds difficult? Read here how I do it. Every Friday.

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