Working Smarter Not Harder - lessons from the Eisenhower Matrix
“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.”
Dwight Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States
Dwight Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, serving two terms. He was a 5-star General during World War II.
During his time in office, he built the Interstate Highway System and created NASA. He knew how to get things done. He had an amazing ability to be incredibly productive and was able to sustain high levels of productivity for decades.
His methods for time management, task management and productivity have been studied by many in the business world.
He is credited for creating what is now known as the Eisenhower Box, which is a simple decision-making matrix to help you become more productive and work smarter and not harder.
The premise is simple: some tasks are urgent, and some are not. Organizing your tasks will help you be clear about what is necessary to accomplish right away and what tasks can be delegated or eliminated. It is a great aid to help you organize your time.
Here is how it works:
· Urgent and important tasks are done immediately
· Important but not urgent tasks are done later
· Urgent but not important tasks are delegated
· Neither urgent nor important tasks are eliminated
Here’s what it looks like in graph form:
The advantage of this matrix is that it can be used to implement large scale plans and changes to your business or for smaller daily tasks. It provides a clear framework for making decisions.
One of the nice benefits of the Eisenhower Box is that it can be used for both long-term goals (“How best can I use my time to accomplish my yearly goals) as well as short-term goals (“What should I do today?”)
Other smarter not harder tips (check the ones that apply to you and then create an action plan and timeline to complete each one):
¨ Have a strong “why” for each goal
¨ Define what is the highest and best use of your time to achieve your goal(s)
¨ Time block your ideal work week
¨ Create a stick to a routine
¨ Stop multitasking
¨ Automate as many tasks as you can
¨ Maintain a positive attitude (as Zig Ziglar once said, “When was the last time you had a check up from the neck up?”)
¨ Use the Eisenhower Box to eliminate items on your to-do list
¨ Plan tomorrow's work today
¨ Every project needs to have a target deadline for completion
¨ Schedule uninterrupted and concentrated time to work on your business and not in your business
¨ Stop trying to “squeeze in” tasks
¨ Track your time to see where you can eliminate wasted or unproductive time
¨ Declutter your work space wherever it may be
¨ Schedule to work on your priority tasks and projects during your most productive body-clock time
¨ Learn from others who you perceive as working smarter and not harder
I hope that you discovered or even re-discovered an idea or two that will help you (if implemented) work smarter and not harder.
“You can call it what you like, but it boils down to this: Decisions should be made intentionally and purposefully on what you want your end result to be. See it in your mind's eye. Feel it in your gut. Act as if whatever you desired has already been achieved. Then go about your business and you'll begin to witness all of the ways your desired result will present itself to you.” – Robert A. Arzt
“Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.” ― Peter Drucker
Good luck on your journey to success.