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Last updated June 29, 2018

Busy is the new black. In this world that never sleeps, the endless list of tasks can be quite overwhelming! The Einsenhower Matrix is a system to help you decide on and prioritize tasks by urgency and importance. Instead of just leaping into the river of work, start each day with a good look at your to-do list, and organize each task into the relevant section.

Impact Zone
Important but not urgent. Do these tasks first each day.

This quadrant is for the things that will have the biggest impact on your organisation for the long term eg. Funding applications, strategic planning, relationship development.

Many tasks start off in this quadrant and end up in the urgent category because of poor planning. Spend the first 30-60 minutes of every day working on important tasks before they become urgent, putting yourself in a much better place to manage a genuine crisis when it occurs.

Crisis Zone
Important and urgent. Respond as required (but exercise caution to what sits in this space).

The only things that should sit in this quadrant are things that happen without warning eg. Client crisis, health and safety emergency, or staff issues. Make sure you have a system for accurately determining what sits in this space – not every crisis is as urgent or as important as you might think!

Remember, while it is important that we are responsive to our client and staff needs, sometimes being unavailable empowers people to find their own solutions.

Slump Zone
Less important and less urgent. Do these tasks during your slump – if at all.

This quadrant is for tasks that will have little impact on the long-term sustainability of your organisation and are not essential for day-to-day operations.

You need to ask yourself why you do these tasks. Are they tasks being imposed by others unnecessarily? Do you do them out of habit? If it is useful for these tasks to be continued, do them during your ‘slump’ time (the time of the day where you have the least amount of energy).

Every Day Zone
Less important but still urgent. Do after 30-60 minutes in your impact zone.

This quadrant is where your day-to-day tasks sit. These are the tasks that are neither crisis nor will have a long-term impact. They are the things that simply need to be done to keep the wheels turning eg. attending meetings, responding to emails.

It’s a good idea to prioritize tasks in this quadrant and consider which of them only you can do, which you can delegate to others, and which you can drop altogether. Of the tasks that are left, number them together in order of importance.

Emily Woolerton
Emily is our Marketing and Communications guru with Exult and has a passion for digital marketing!

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