The Eisenhower Decision Matrix

Fabio Rosato

August 31, 2022

The Eisenhower Decision Matrix is a very simple 2x2 matrix.

It’s a visualization tool that forces you to differentiate between the urgent and the important to prioritize your time accordingly.

It was popularized by Stephen Covey in his book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”.

Here’s how it works:

An “urgent” task is one that requires immediate attention.

An “important” task is one that furthers your long-term values or goals.


Depending on the importance and urgency of each task, you get four categorizations:

C1: Important & Urgent

C2: Important & Not Urgent

C3: Not Important & Urgent

C4: Not Important & Not Urgent

C1: Important & Urgent

They require immediate, focused attention – but also contribute to our long-term vision, goals, or principles.

These are “do now!” tasks.

C2: Important & Not Urgent

These tasks are your compounders – the tasks that compound long-term value in your life.

This is where you should try to spend most of your time and energy. Schedule them on your calendar!

C3: Not Important & Urgent

These tasks are the “beware” category – the tasks that can drain time and energy without contributing to our end goals.

These are tasks to delegate if you can. If you can’t delegate them, batch them and schedule them to a time of day when you’re not feeling particularly productive.

C4: Not Important & Not Urgent

These are the mindless activities like TV and social media that sap our productivity.

Limit your time on these.

Here’s a visual recap:


The ultimate goal?

Spend more time on important tasks that further your long-term values, missions, goals, and principles.

In simple terms:

  • Manage top-right
  • Invest more time in top-left
  • Waste less time in the bottom half

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