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Task Management

The Urgent Important Matrix

Among the time management tools and concepts available to us, “The Urgent Important Matrix” is one of the most helpful. Popularized by Steven Covey in his book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, and pioneered by former US President Eisenhower, this useful tool uses a grid to graphically visualize your tasks on their scale of urgency and importance

urgent-imporant matrix

Quadrant 1: Urgent/Important

Highest priority. Try to keep this list empty. If you spend too much time here, you are working solely as a trouble shooter, and never finding time to work on longer-term plans.

Quadrant 2: Not Urgent/Important Quadrant

This is where you want to spend most of your time; working on something important and have the time to do it properly. This will help you produce high quality efficiently.

Quadrant 3: Urgent/Not Important Quadrant

Consider for elimination. This is where you are busy but not productive. Tasks in this quadrant are often mistaken to be important.

Quadrant 4: Not Urgent/Not Important Quadrant

Minimize. Often we “escape” to this quadrant for survival after spending too much time in quadrants 1 and 3. This may cause quadrant 2 activities to get pushed aside until they become urgent and move to quadrant 1 — at which point its too late to do them effectively.


Using this technique for prioritization allows you to deal with the truly urgent while working towards your goals. This is where you plan properly, execute well and enjoy a stress free productive environment. However, adopting this matrix to manage your tasks is quite difficult without a properly designed application. Neither pen & paper nor traditional software (e.g word processor, spreadsheets) work well in grids. We tried!

Sandglaz is the only task management web app with great support for the Eisenhower grid. Sign up to experience higher productivity now