The Most Simple Strategy For Setting Priorities

In my last article I wrote about ‘The Ivy Lee Method’. It is one of the most simple and effective strategies you can use today. Everyday you are setting 6 to-do’s on your to-do list from important to least important. But how do you know what is most important and maybe even more important, most urgent?

Let’s discuss ‘The Eisenhower Matrix’. A simple and effective strategy you can use in your daily and working life.

But first, let’s make a step back.

Who is General Eisenhower?


General Dwight D. Eisenhower


Eisenhower was born in Denison, Texas on October 14, 1890. He grew up in Abilene, Kansas, as the third of seven sons in a poor family. Eisenhower won an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, and graduated in the middle of his class in 1915. He married with Mamie Geneva Doud. The couple married in 1916 and had two sons, Doud Dwight (died at an early age) and John Dwight.

The most important thing Eisenhower was known for was the plannend Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe. On D-Day (June 6, 1944), more than 150,000 Allied forces crossed the English Channel and stormed the beaches of Normandy; the invasion led to the liberation of Paris on August 25 an turned the tide of the war in Europe.

(source article:

“Always try to associate yourself with and learn as much as you can from those who know more than you do, who do better than you, who see more clearly than you.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower, At Ease: Stories I Tell to Friends


The Eisenhower Matrix

Why is it called ‘The Eisenhower Matrix’ (also known as ‘Urgent-Important Matrix’) ? In his career Eisenhower had to make tough decisions continiously about which of the many tasks he should focus on each day. That continiously decision-making has led to The ‘Eisenhower Matrix’. He invent this Matrix to help prioritizing by urgency and importance of tasks.

How to Use ‘The Eisenhower Matrix’?

In the matrix you have four quadrants. The first quadrant is called ‘Do’. Here you place tasks you can execute right know. The second quadrant is called ‘decide’. Here you place tasks which are important but not urgent. So you schedule this taks on a time to do it. The third quadrant is ‘delegate’. Here you place tasks which are not important but urgent. So you give a task to someone else. In the last quadrant you place tasks which are not important and not urgent. So you delete them. You don’t look at the taks. Just delete them right away.

“The world is more like it is now then it ever has before.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower


Eliminate the unnecessary

I use this matrix in combination with ‘The Ivy Lee Method’. So you get a powerful productivity brain you can use to eliminate unnecessary to-do’s. And remember, according to James Clear ( productivity is: “a measure of efficiency of a person completing a task. We often assume that productivity means getting more things done each day. Wrong. Productivity is getting important things done consistently. And no matter what you are working on, there are only a few things that are truly important.”

I write about productivity and leadership

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store