"What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important"
Most people work approximately 45 hours per week. Amidst a fast-paced and changing business landscape, you are most probably handling a number of projects. The question is, which task is important and how can we prioritise the different projects that must be fulfilled?
The Action Priority Matrix is a model that was created based on the Eisenhower Method of arranging daily tasks by urgency and importance in a 2x2 matrix. In a 1952 speech, President Eisenhower quoted Dr. J. Roscoe Milled who reported that some problems can be urgent but not important. He also added that the urgent tasks are not often important and important tasks are not necessarily urgent.
In order to start using the matrix first, you need to identify scores for your tasks, firstly by their impact and secondly by the efforts required to accomplish them.
Before using the priority matrix, you must:
This framework for decision-making, delegating and delineating can be divided into four different categories.
This category is urgent and important, however, they require very little effort and have a high impact. Do as many of these everyday without compromising on the greater picture. If you have quick wins spread out across the week, one can be done every day.
These projects are high impact and high effort. They can crowd out many quick wins but require time and energy to accomplish. This is probably the bulk of your work or main role. You need to block out time for these projects and make sure not to compromise on their quality. They give great returns but are time-consuming. One major project can conjure many quick wins. Some tasks can be interdependent on others so always make sure you get done with the tasks that can affect other ones by prioritising them correctly.
These are also known as filler tasks and they happen to have a low impact and they do not require much effort. These can fit perfectly in the 15-30 minute gaps between meetings or when you are taking a break from bigger tasks. These tasks are usually urgent but not important and they are usually helpful as they will give you the feeling of productivity when you are too tired to work on bigger projects.
These tasks are low effort and low impact and they are also known as hard slogs. They are best avoided and delegated to someone else who can benefit from the experience of working on them. Because these tasks are so boring, you can add a touch of creativity to them by listening to music while working on them or by rewarding yourself after getting them out of the way.
To use this priority matrix efficiently, you need to go 4 steps first.
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