Important but not urgent? How you need to act according to the Eisenhower Matrix

This blog post is going to talk about the top right hand box of the Eisenhower Matrix – a strategy designed to help those in important positions within their company improve productivity and decision-making. The Eisenhower Matrix is also referred to as the urgent-important matrix. The top right hand box falls at the point where a task or tasks are important, but not urgent. It is sometimes called the leadership box as this is the area that leaders spend most of their time.

So, what should a leader do when they find themselves facing a task that sits in that box? It’s easy to feel under pressure, as when the task is going to greatly affect other employees or your company’s success, it can begin to overshadow everything else you do that is more time-sensitive. It is also easy to ignore it: some things will always be more urgent. You can fool yourself that your focus is in the right place if you are always doing time sensitive tasks BUT are they the tasks that give the most benefit to the organisation and teams?

However, the most important thing to remember is that the most efficient way to deal with a task that falls within the top right hand box is to schedule in a time that you will dedicate to it. And make sure you do focus on it. Delegating to other staff within the company isn’t a practical solution here, though it might be when the task is less important. It’s likely that a task that falls in this top right hand box will require your personal knowledge and experience as a leader within your organisation. For this reason, it’s important to clear a particular afternoon, day, week or maybe even longer to dedicate to this task when you know you can give it your full attention.

Yes, other urgent things may well come up. In that case, deal with them and reschedule the time to get back to this important task. Can you work in a different location? At home? In a meeting room to give you the right environment to focus.

Other things that might also fall within the top right hand box include priorities in your personal life. For example, planning a holiday with your family or significant other, fitting more exercise into your daily routine and creating a long term plan are all incredibly important, but might not be urgent at a very busy time for the organisation. Like other tasks that sit in this box, If they get ignored for too long, they could have some serious impacts on key aspects of your life or health.

Always remember that your personal time is no less valuable than your time at work, and using the Eisenhower Matrix to maintain a healthy work-life balance is just as essential as using it to achieve better time management during your working hours.