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Job Aid

Using the Eisenhower Hierarchy

Purpose: Use this job aid to help you apply the Eisenhower hierarchy to your team's tasks.

Distinguishing between important and urgent tasks can help your team use its time more effectively by concentrating its efforts on the most critical issues that need to be resolved. It can also help to eliminate time-wasting activities, and to overcome distractions and disruptions.

Using the Eisenhower hierarchy.
Categories Principles
Important and urgent Plan and avoid procrastination so you don't allow important tasks to become urgent; allow time in your schedule to handle unexpected issues and unplanned important activities.
Important but not urgent Ensure that you leave enough time for proper planning. Allocating time for developing new strategies can help prevent these tasks from becoming urgent issues.

Take unexpected problems into account in your schedule to make sure they don't interrupt your important activities.
Urgent but not important Find out if you can reschedule some activities. Sometimes it may be better to reject these demands diplomatically, and encourage others to find some other way of getting what they need.

You could also schedule a specific time when you or your team members can meet with clients or colleagues and deal with their demands directly.
Not important or urgent Avoid time-wasting activities where possible. You could, for example, restrict your team's access to certain web sites.

Sometimes it's best to say no politely and firmly.

Course: Setting and Managing Priorities within the Organization: Deciphering Priorities
Topic: Eisenhower Principle for Managing Priorities