How to Implement Eisenhower Matrix to Streamline Your Workload [12+ Templates Included]

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The Eisenhower Matrix, also known as the Eisenhower Box or the Urgent-Important Principle, is a time management technique that can help you prioritize tasks and optimize productivity. This method was popularized by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who used it to effectively manage priorities during World War II.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about implementing the Eisenhower Matrix, including:

  • What is the Eisenhower Matrix and how does it work?
  • The benefits of using the Eisenhower Method
  • Step-by-step instructions to create your own matrix
  • Tips for effective implementation
  • 12+ free templates to get you started

What is the Eisenhower Matrix?

The Eisenhower Matrix is a simple 2×2 grid that helps you categorize tasks based on two criteria:

  • Importance – How important is this task? Is it critical or just nice to have?
  • Urgency – How time-sensitive is this task? Does it need immediate attention?

Based on these two factors, tasks are divided into four quadrants:

Eisenhower Matrix quadrants

The four quadrants of the Eisenhower Matrix
  • Do First – Important and urgent tasks that require immediate attention
  • Schedule – Important but not urgent tasks that should be planned and executed
  • Delegate – Urgent but not important tasks that can be assigned to others
  • Don‘t Do – Neither urgent nor important tasks that can be eliminated

This enables you to visualize all your tasks in one place and make better decisions about how to spend your time and resources.

The Benefits of Using the Eisenhower Matrix

Implementing the Eisenhower Matrix offers several advantages:

1. Prioritize effectively

The matrix instantly helps you identify the tasks that should be tackled first. This prevents important work from slipping through the cracks.

2. Reduce stress

Knowing which tasks can wait and which need immediate attention reduces anxiety. You won‘t feel overwhelmed trying to juggle conflicting priorities.

3. Work smarter, not harder

You spend time on high-payoff activities instead of getting bogged down in low-value busywork.

4. Improve time management

Categorizing tasks eliminates guesswork and helps you batch similar tasks. This results in better time allocation.

5. Increase productivity

You complete more meaningful work in less time. Delegating and eliminating tasks also clears your plate for deep focus work.

6. Achieve goals

Regularly reviewing the matrix keeps you focused on completing tasks that align with your short and long-term goals.

How to Create Your Own Eisenhower Matrix

Follow these steps to start using this technique:

Step 1: List Your Tasks

Grab a piece of paper and make a list of all your current tasks and obligations. This could include work projects, household chores, appointments, emails to respond to – anything that requires your time and attention.

If the list is too long, try breaking it down into daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. You can create separate matrices for different time frames.

Step 2: Add Columns and Rows

Draw a 2×2 grid on a sheet of paper or whiteboard. Label the columns "Urgent" and "Not Urgent". Label the rows "Important" and "Not Important".

You can also create an Eisenhower Matrix electronically using spreadsheet software or online templates.

Step 3: Categorize Tasks

Go through each task and determine where it falls in the matrix based on importance and urgency. Ask yourself:

  • Is this task aligned with my goals and priorities? If yes, it‘s important.
  • Does this task require immediate attention? If yes, it‘s urgent.

Place each task in the appropriate quadrant. Urgent, important tasks go in the "Do First" quadrant. Important but not urgent tasks go in "Schedule". Urgent but unimportant tasks are marked "Delegate". Unimportant, not urgent tasks go in "Don‘t Do".

Step 4: Prioritize Quadrants

Once all tasks are plotted in the matrix, your focus should be:

  1. Do First – Tackle these ASAP and remove once complete
  2. Schedule – Assign due dates and schedule time to work on these
  3. Delegate – Assign these tasks to others if possible
  4. Don‘t Do – Eliminate or postpone these tasks

Be sure to regularly review and update tasks in your matrix as priorities change.

Tips for Effective Implementation

Here are some tips to get the most out of the Eisenhower Matrix:

  • Use it daily – Setting aside 15 minutes in the morning to organize the day‘s tasks will lead to greater productivity.

  • Add visual cues – Use colors, symbols, or highlighting to make important tasks stand out. This improves focus.

  • Break down large projects – Big projects should be divided into smaller actionable tasks before adding to the matrix. This prevents procrastination.

  • Set deadlines – Assigning due dates for "Schedule" tasks creates accountability and a sense of urgency.

  • Limit tasks per quadrant – Each quadrant should have no more than 5 tasks. Too many and none get done.

  • Re-evaluate regularly – Review and update your matrix at least weekly to account for shifting priorities.

  • Use it for groups – Teams can collectively plot tasks on a shared matrix to improve coordination.

12+ Free Eisenhower Matrix Templates

Luckily, you don‘t have to create the Eisenhower Matrix from scratch. Here are 12+ free, customizable templates to help you get started:

1. Excel Eisenhower Matrix

Excel Eisenhower Matrix template

Download this simple Excel template to start plotting your tasks in a spreadsheet.

Download Here

2. Printable PDF Eisenhower Matrix

Printable Eisenhower Matrix PDF template

Print this PDF template to easily create matrices on paper.

Download Here

3. Online Interactive Eisenhower Box

Online interactive Eisenhower Matrix

Use this free online matrix to categorize tasks in your web browser.

Use Here

4. Evernote Eisenhower Template

Evernote Eisenhower Matrix template

Add this template to your Evernote account to manage tasks on-the-go.

Find Here

5. Trello Eisenhower Board

Trello Eisenhower Matrix template

Manage your matrix with this pre-made Trello board.

Get Here

6. Coggle Eisenhower Diagram

Coggle Eisenhower Matrix template

Visualize your matrix online using this Coggle template.

Access Here

7. Smartsheet Eisenhower Chart

Smartsheet Eisenhower Matrix template

Map out tasks on this editable Smartsheet chart.

See Here

8. Asana Eisenhower Board

Asana Eisenhower Matrix template

Manage team priorities with this pre-built Asana template.

Get Here

9. Word Eisenhower Matrix

Microsoft Word Eisenhower Matrix template

Plot your matrix in Word with this document template.

Download Here

10. MindMeister Eisenhower Map

MindMeister mind map template

Visualize your tasks on this mind map.

Get Here

11. Google Sheets Eisenhower Grid

Google Sheets Eisenhower Matrix template

Use this Sheets template to create sharable online matrices.

Access Here

12. ClickUp Eisenhower Chart

ClickUp Eisenhower Matrix template

Manage tasks on ClickUp with this pre-made board.

Find Here

With these templates, you can start organizing your tasks into an Eisenhower Matrix right away. Look for a format that aligns with the tools you already use to manage work.

Key Takeaways

The Eisenhower Matrix is a versatile time management technique that helps prioritize your workload based on urgency and importance. To implement it effectively:

  • List out all your tasks and break down large projects
  • Plot each task on a 2×2 matrix under "Urgent/Not Urgent" and "Important/Not Important"
  • Tackle "Do First" tasks immediately, schedule "Schedule" tasks, delegate "Delegate" tasks, and eliminate "Don‘t Do" tasks
  • Use the matrix consistently, set deadlines, and re-evaluate regularly
  • Take advantage of free templates to create matrices in your preferred format

Implementing the Eisenhower Method requires discipline, but doing so will enable you to spend time on high-value tasks, reduce stress, and work smarter. The result is greater productivity and faster achievement of your goals.


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.