Elevate the important with the Eisenhower matrix

Dwight Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States. He is best known for his productivity and time management, in particular the Eisenhower Matrix.

Whenever he was confronted with a task, he would ask himself two questions. First, is the task important? Second, is it urgent? The matrix looks like this:

Obviously your time and attention will first have to go to those tasks that are important and urgent but the main idea is to spend most of your time in the upper right-hand corner. The important but not urgent quadrant.

The real crux of this matrix is differentiating between what is urgent and what is important.

“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” – Dwight Eisenhower

Here are examples of what I find urgent and what I find important in my life at the moment.


emails, phone calls, new stories, notifications


exercise, meditation, writing, spending time with loved ones

The thing is urgent tasks can feel important but in reality “most emergencies aren’t” and really it’s the important tasks that contribute to our long term goals, values and well-being.

When the urgent begins to take precedent over the important our values are at odds with our actions.

Reduce the “urgent”

Most modern day distractions seem to stem from technology. It’s easier to escape down the rabbit hole of our phones than face the harder tasks.

Turn off 


notifications on your phone except for phone calls and text messages/messaging apps. (Yes that includes all social media and even email.)

We feel that everything has to be responded to almost instantaneously or at least viewed or reviewed. 

It. Can. Wait. 

But what if someone needs to get hold of me? 

Tough. If it’s truly an emergency they will call.

Yes, but everyone has a mobile these days and expects you to be available? 

Once again, tough. If you don’t make time for yourself someone else will.

Reduce other distractions

Limit the amount of blogs, news, websites, apps, magazines, junk mail etc. that take up your time.

All of these take time and energy to review, let alone take action on. If you eliminate it at the source the more time you have for the important.

I may lose readers over this but if you feel my blog doesn’t add value to your life, eliminate it. I’ll be sorry to see you go but only you know what’s important to you.

Reduce possessions that don’t add value

For everything you own you have to use it, repair it, clean it, store it, organise it. The more you have the more time you have to devote to it.

Elevate the important

Block out time for your goals. Set limits, deadlines and


on what is important to you.

If someone wants to meet up with you when you usually like to write/exercise maybe suggest another time. Unless say that friend is only in town for a day, then it may become more urgent



Overall the end goal is to quickly filter out the distractions and noise and focus on what is important and adds value.

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