How to make better decisions by applying the Eisenhower Matrix

Welcome to ‘Learning Tuesdays’, where we learn a particular skill or habit that will help you become a better you.

Today, we are going to be learning about how to make better decisions through the Eisenhower Matrix.


“Freedom has been defined as the opportunity for self-discipline.” ― Dwight D. Eisenhower


We live in a day and age where information is easily accessible. From accessing information via a google search, the influx of information has given birth to an array of options. Due to a overflow of options, we can often get caught in analysis paralysis which cripples our abilities to make a decision.

In the age of information, how can we make better decisions? One way we can make decisions is by applying the Eisenhower Matrix model developed by Dwight Eisenhower, but first who is Dwight Eisenhower?


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Who is Dwight Eisenhower?


“Leadership consists of nothing but taking responsibility for everything that goes wrong and giving your subordinates credit for everything that goes well.”  ― Dwight D. Eisenhower


Dwight Eisenhower served as the 34th President of the United State of America. During World War II, he took on the post as the General and later promoted as the Allied Supreme Commander for the United States of America. After World War II he became the Allied Supreme Commander for NATO.

It was due to Eisenhower’s leadership roles, that he developed a decision matrix that enabled him to make tough decisions that could affect the outcome of a world.


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Eisenhower Matrix


How can we apply the Eisenhower Matrix to our own life?

A. Understand your purpose


“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” ― Dwight D. Eisenhower

To have a purpose is the first step in better decision making. Not only does purpose determine the individual’s strengths and dislikes, but it also brings to the light the important and urgent tasks to a person’s mission.


B. Write a to-do list of all your tasks.
C. Group the to-do list tasks into the corresponding categories of the Eisenhower Matrix.


“Before you eat the elephant, make sure you know what parts you want to eat.” ― Todd Stocker


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1. Do first (Important-Urgent) – This category involves personal and family emergencies, car issues, work or school deadlines and bills. It requires immediate action and works towards the purpose and mission of the individual.


2. Schedule (Important-Not Urgent) – This category involves personal development activities, family and relationships and maintenance for the home and car. The important and not urgent category should be the main area of focus as it is the direct link with the purpose and mission of the person. It is often neglected, since it is not urgent and not competing for the attention of the individual.


3. Delegate (Not Important-Urgent) – This category involves interruption from other people in the form of personal visits, phone call and emails. The Not Important-Urgent category can make the individual feel important as they are helping people, but it’s not important to the individual themselves.


4. Don’t do (Not Important – Not Urgent) – This category involves tasks which are a distraction to achieving your purpose. The tasks included in this category includes spending hours watching Netflix, social media, shopping, and playing video games. These tasks are great for the individual to destress, but it can be a major distraction if it takes time away from the Do First and Schedule categories.


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