An importance-urgency matrix is an effective method for organizing priorities. It is a four field matrix that can be used to prioritize work activities as well as personal activities. For example, you can use it to enable you to manage your work and time more effectively. It is also referred to as the Urgent-Important matrix and the Eisenhower matrix.
In the importance-urgency matrix, all activities are evaluated in terms of importance and urgency. They are then placed in the appropriate quadrants of the matrix. The importance-urgency matrix consists of four quadrants.
Using the Importance-Urgency Matrix
The following steps describe how to organize your activities using the importance-urgency matrix:
- Begin by your personal or job-related activity list.
- Draw the importance-urgency matrix on a paper (or on a flip chart if you are working with a team).
- Sort all the activities in the appropriate quadrant.
- Manage what’s on the first two quadrants, and pushback or ignore what’s on the last two quadrants.
Example – Work-Related Activities
Take your list of job-related activities then sort them in the appropriate quadrant of the importance-urgency matrix. The following is an example:
Example – Personal Activities
Take your personal to-do list then sort it into the appropriate quadrants. The following is an example of a personal importance-urgency matrix:
There are many tools that can help you to manage your activities in terms of urgent, important, both or neither. The simplest way is to use this template.