Time management: understanding the Eisenhower principle

Why the Eisenhower Principle?

Time management and prioritization is important because it helps you to be more successful in your job in less time. It can even help you with personal matters like engagements, weddings, and family vacations. You are less stressed because you can get more done in less time. Time management also helps keep you on track at work and in personal life.

The Eisenhower Principle (or Eisenhower Method) is effective because it prioritizes important tasks while taking into account the urgency of these tasks. The Eisenhower Principle is a simple method of prioritization, in order to organize yourself so that nothing falls through the grate. Read the most important concepts in our blog post.

How does the Eisenhower Principle (named after President Dwight D. Eisenhower) work?

The Eisenhower Principle is a time management strategy that can help you achieve your goals more effectively and efficiently by first getting an overview. Named after President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, the principle is simple: divide your tasks into four categories according to their importance and urgency.

First, write down all tasks and topics in a task list. Important and urgent tasks should be done first. Important but not urgent tasks should be scheduled for later. Urgent but unimportant tasks should be delegated or deleted. Unimportant or non-urgent tasks should be deleted

By making this rule, Eisenhower made his decision-making process easier because he no longer had to decide whether something was important or not. The Eisenhower Principle can help you do the same by helping you distinguish between important and urgent tasks.

The importance is not always easy to determine, but of course it is usually related to your goals and objectives.

Eisenhower matrix: the four quadrants and their meanings

The Eisenhower matrix is a productivity tool that helps you to concentrate on the more important tasks (classification: ABCD priority categories) and to delegate or delete the less important. The Eisenhower matrix has four quadrants:

Important and urgent tasks should be done first. Important but not urgent tasks should be scheduled for later. The processing of urgent but unimportant tasks should be delegated / deleted. Unimportant or non-urgent tasks should be deleted.

This Eisenhower Principle serves as a technique and guide to help you get from quadrant one to four. You can do this by planning your time in 15 minute increments, prioritizing quadrant one, and then working through the list of quadrants until your day is filled with things to do. With this method you can do more in less time because everything starts on the right track.

A-Quadrant: A-tasks – important and urgent (deadlines): complete immediately

These are important, high priority tasks that require immediate attention. They may or may not be urgent, but they are both important and time sensitive. Do them first, if you are able to. These are the tasks that need to be done ASAP because they are both important and urgent. This includes things like answering emails, answering a phone call, or putting out a fire.

B-Quadrant B Tasks – Important but not urgent tasks: schedule them for later

B-tasks are important, but they can usually wait a while before they are done. This includes things like writing a report, developing strategies, filing your tax return, or seeing a doctor for an examination. These tasks can be postponed but not canceled. You should try to strike a balance between immediate and important. Do B-tasks whenever you have time, even if it is during your lunch break or before you start work in the morning. There is no real “wait” for these important decisions as they all have to be made at some level – just decide when you choose!

C-Quadrant: C tasks – urgent but not important: delegate or cancel them

C tasks are urgent, but not essential. This includes things like meetings that can be postponed or emails that can be answered later. If you can’t delegate the C tasks then try removing them. Usually there is no reason they should take up your time if they are not important. Remember, just because something is urgent doesn’t mean it’s important.

D quadrant: D tasks – unimportant and not urgent: delete them

D tasks are not important and not urgent. This includes things like chores, meetings that can be postponed, or tasks that you don’t want to do. This Eisenhower principle also includes time wasters such as playing games on your phone or watching TV. If it’s not important and not urgent, then D-tasks aren’t part of your day.

In the following you can download templates:https://www.alle-meine-vorlagen.de/vorlage-einer-eisenhower-matrix-wichtig-oder-dringend-prioritaeten-setzen-nach-dem-eisenhower-prinzip/embed/#?secret=b69OO1ANZu

Advantages, disadvantages, criticism – tips for use

Business Psychology currently states that many people fail to implement the Eisenhower principle and give 6 tips that should help to use the matrix correctly, to prioritize information sensibly and to reduce stress. They recommend:

  1. Clearly define “importance” and “urgency” and ask yourself for each task: “What happens if I wait (plan)?” What if someone else does it (delegate)? What if nobody does (let go) them?
  2. Clearly delegate: “Instead of” throwing over the delegation “(preferably impersonally by email), it is better to explain delegation as a conversation and set goals, give the opportunity for queries.
  3. Plan appointments with the calendar , which means that your own schedule is straightened out. To avoid the danger of “out of sight, out of mind”. It is recommended to estimate the effort required to set up the calendar for each task and to block a time slot for it in the future.
  4. Letting go step by step: Even thoughts about unimportant and unimportant projects require a lot of energy and time that are missing elsewhere. It is difficult to let go completely, especially when it comes to “cherished” topics. They suggest the “let-go box” that is filled with such tasks and stowed away so that it is clearly visible.
  5. Realistic planning at the beginning of the day , whereby the prioritization should be provided with different time horizons (days, weeks, months): Since, often already at the beginning of the day, it is clear that everything you intend to do cannot be achieved. It is worthwhile to make a realistic assessment at the beginning of the day and to prioritize again so that there is a real chance that the tasks will also be completed.
  6. Use of the matrix process “as access control” to determine, for example, that I or my entire team is more than busy or vice versa. The background to this is that we often simply do not know how complex tasks are before they are accepted.


Time management is an important skill that everyone should learn. The Eisenhower principle means that dividing your tasks into quadrants according to their importance and urgency will help you get more done and increase your productivity noticeably.

If you are a manager in a company, you can offer your employees the Primzip

You can also use Eisenhower Principle to plan your future tasks weeks or months in advance. Knowing what’s important to you and when to get it done can help you manage your time more effectively. The Eisenhower Principle is a great introduction to time management and a contribution and opportunity to become more productive. Try it

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