Successful Entrepreneurs Use The Eisenhower Matrix Template.
When it comes to business – and productivity – time is money. And, for many business owners and managers, deciding where to prioritize time and attention is one of the most pressing challenges faced on a daily basis.
It comes down to productivity: you only have a set number of hours available every day, and tasks can multiply very quickly. Those ‘to-do’ lists can also be a source of frustration, because as we all know, it can be really difficult to prioritize a seemingly endless list of tasks.
Using the Eisenhower Matrix Template could be the answer. This is a simple (but really smart) planning grid that has been around for decades. It’s stood the test of time and has probably most famously been endorsed by Stephen Covey in his classic book The 7 Habits Of Highly Successful People.
What Is The Eisenhower Matrix Template?
The Eisenhower Matrix, also sometimes called the Eisenhower Decision Matrix or the Eisenhower Priority Matrix, is a simple grid consisting of a square divided into four equal blocks. Each block represents a specific category of task importance, and you get to decide which task fits where.
The genius aspect of the Eisenhower Matrix Template is its simplicity. You can understand it and a glance and populate the day’s tasks in just a minute or two. That same simplicity is its power:
- You to easily categorize and prioritize your tasks on an ongoing basis
- Eliminate linear to-do-lists. (where important tasks go to die)
- It reduces the mental bandwidth required to keep track and shift priorities
- A huge increase in productivity.
- Saying ‘no’ to things that don’t serve you becomes easier
- It introduces focus and reduces stressful multitasking
What Do The 4 Boxes In The Eisenhower Matrix Template Represent?
Within the larger square, the Eisenhower Matrix Template has four smaller squares or boxes. Each one represents a different category of importance or priority, and it’s here that you get to exercise your discretion. In fact, it actually forces you to decide exactly how important those seemingly ‘urgent’ tasks really are.
Here’s how it works.
Block 1: Important and Urgent
The first block is designated for listing the tasks that you believe are both urgent (time-critical) as well as important (mission-critical). These tasks are the ones that are central to the immediate survival, wellbeing, and growth of your business.
Processing the payroll so your employees or suppliers can get paid is a great example. It’s critical to your business, and it can’t be delayed or ignored.
A simple way to define these tasks is to label the box ‘DO’ – in other words, these must be done, and they must be done before anything else.
Block 2: Important But Not Urgent
Here, you need to list tasks that are really essential to the longer-term growth and health of your company. These are often the rote tasks that strengthen your company’s stability and growth. However, they don’t have to be done with the ‘same-day’ urgency as the tasks in block 1.
An example of this would be putting together those updated service contracts to send to suppliers or ensuring that your social media marketing campaign is on track.
This is the ‘DECIDE’ box. In other words, you decide when to do these and then carry them out according to schedule.
Block 3: Urgent But Not Important
Who is assigning urgency to these tasks? You, or someone who wants your time and attention?
All too often, this is the one single factor that causes more stress and poor performance in business than any other! In an interconnected economy, someone always wants something from you, whether it’s an ‘urgent’ reply to a mail, or yet another meeting, or a task that will benefit them while not benefiting you much at all.
This is what the third Eisenhower Matrix Template block is for: it’s for those tasks that you’d like to (or need to) get done, but don’t want to allocate the time or mental bandwidth. And for these tasks, delegation is the answer. Here’s an example: you’re shipping a product to a customer, and the warehouse mails you to ask what size box they should use. Of course, it’s urgent (the customer can’t wait), but it shouldn’t take priority over the tasks that build your business and bring you more customers. It’s a no-brainer that someone else should be able to answer that question on your behalf.
So, this box can be described as ‘DELEGATE’ – others should be handling these things for you.
Block 4: Not Urgent And Not Important
It is surprising how often these ‘tasks’ encroach on your time. Commanding attention like they pay rent. And, equally surprisingly, we very often fall into the trap of treating these things as though they are important – when they’re not.
These tasks are the complete timewasters. Imposed on us by others, and imposed on ourselves because of habit or procrastination. Examples might include requests for appointments that you already know are pointless. Spending time and energy trying to resurrect a product that never sold more than a few units anyway.
Perhaps surfing social media for longer than you should.
Or any habit or request or task that robs you of genuine progress or growth.
This is the ‘DELETE’ box. And it’s okay to be ruthless. One of the most powerful habits that we can cultivate is the ability to say ‘no’ to things that no longer serve us.
In The Eisenhower Matrix Template, Which Block Is Most Important?
Obviously, Block 1 is the most important on an ongoing basis… right?
Well, maybe not. The Eisenhower Matrix Template has been in use for many decades. Because it’s incredibly effective. However, the block that can make the biggest difference to your business, is actually the third block. DELEGATE.
Why? Simply because when you’re delegating something, you’re multiplying your time. You’re doing the important things and literally buying yourself more time. And if you put those delegated tasks in the hands of someone truly trustworthy and capable, new possibilities open up.
Who Should I Delegate My Tasks To?
For many entrepreneurs and business owners, the answer is simple: hire a virtual assistant.
This is a smart strategy:
- You can brief and train your virtual assistant to work flexibly and accurately according to the needs of your business.
- A virtual assistant costs less overall than a full time employee – so you’re ‘buying’ more time for yourself, more affordably.
- You’re have a equally well trained backup.
- You can choose from a range of skill sets, including industry-specific virtual assistants.
- There’s no time spent on unnecessary ‘employee supervision’. A VA can work autonomously, while being on call and keeping you updated as often as you require.
- At MYVA360, we give you a free trial. In addition to a discovery call and careful, professional placement of a VA exactly suited to your needs.
How Serious Are You About Growing Your Business?
Book a Discovery Call today and discover just how easy – and affordable – it can be to get your own virtual assistant.