Michal Sobotkiewicz
Michal SobotkiewiczKANBO PRODUCT OWNER
He leads the KanBo Technology & Innovation strategy team to map, build and inspire a future we want to work in.

Choosing the right task to perform at the right time is an age-old struggle.

How does the Eisenhower matrix Help?

Here are some problems that the Eisenhower matrix can solve for you:

  • Time Management: With the Eisenhower Matrix, you no longer have to waste time figuring out what to do next.
  • Decision-Making: Making important decisions can be a daunting process. The matrix helps you optimize your decision-making skills so you can make the right decisions at the right time.
  • Task Overload: Taking on too many tasks at once can be overwhelming and counterproductive. The matrix helps you focus on the most important tasks at a time so you can avoid the problem of task overload.

The Four Quadrants of Eisenhower Matrix

  • Do First: The most important and urgent tasks that need to be performed first.
  • Schedule: Important but non-urgent tasks that can be scheduled for later.
  • Delegate: Urgent but less important tasks that can be delegated to others.
  • Don’t Do: Neither urgent nor important, the tasks that don’t need to be done at all

The 34th President and former Army General of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, faced the same problem and proposed a solution that is now known as the famous Eisenhower Principle. Today, the Eisenhower matrix has matured into a highly useful decision-making tool to improve personal productivity.

Introduction

How it All Began – The History Behind the Matrix

“I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight Eisenhower was an influential figure in American politics. Not only did he serve as the President of the US from 1953 to 1961, but he was also previously an Army General for the US and the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces during the World War II era. This meant that Eisenhower was continuously faced with the difficult decision of choosing which tasks required his attention. Eisenhower surmised that the secret to reaching an optimum level of productivity lies in task prioritization.

That is how the Eisenhower principle was born.

From that simple principle emerged the Eisenhower Matrix, a decision-making tool that helps you prioritize tasks based on their urgency and importance. With the help of the Eisenhower matrix, people can ensure that the work they do is meaningful, urgent, and important.

How does the Eisenhower matrix Help?

Here are some problems that the Eisenhower matrix can solve for you:

  • Time Management: With the Eisenhower Matrix, you no longer have to waste time figuring out what to do next.
  • Decision-Making: Making important decisions can be a daunting process. The matrix helps you optimize your decision-making skills so you can make the right decisions at the right time.
  • Task Overload: Taking on too many tasks at once can be overwhelming and counterproductive. The matrix helps you focus on the most important tasks at a time so you can avoid the problem of task overload.

The Original Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower matrix is traditionally made on a piece of paper containing four squares that represent tasks to do first, scheduled tasks, tasks to delegate and tasks to skip.

You can easily divide your tasks between the four sectors depending on their urgency and importance. In this way, you can figure out what to do next with minimal effort.

The Four Quadrants of Eisenhower Matrix

  • Do First: The most important and urgent tasks that need to be performed first.
  • Schedule: Important but non-urgent tasks that can be scheduled for later.
  • Delegate: Urgent but less important tasks that can be delegated to others.
  • Don’t Do: Neither urgent nor important, the tasks that don’t need to be done at all.

Today, the Eisenhower Matrix is found in multiple forms. From the traditional paper ones to online and mobile applications that you can use on the go. No matter which format you choose, the basic principle remains the same. The true measure of its effectiveness is ultimately determined by the increase in your personal productivity.

KanBo’s Digital Eisenhower Matrix

Dwight Eisenhower created the idea of the matrix with only a piece of paper at his disposal. At that time, it was the only medium that was convenient and adaptable enough for its application. Today, however, we have the digital capabilities to take Eisenhower’s elegant concept to the next level. With the power of technology, we can break out of the limitations of the past and create something well-suited for the digital age.

At KanBo, we are firm believers in the power of personal productivity and are always looking for ways to elevate it. In fact, one of the pillars of our work philosophy revolves around letting you focus on work that matters the most.

KanBo has approached the challenge of digitizing the Eisenhower Matrix for the modern world by taking inspiration from Dwight Eisenhower’s simple yet effective principle. Despite the modern technology underlying our approach, the essence of the Eisenhower principle remains that same: to help you prioritize and organize tasks so you can achieve personal effectiveness and productivity.

We believe that if Eisenhower were to build his matrix today, KanBo would be the perfect platform for it.

How the Eisenhower Matrix works in KanBo

The Basics

In KanBo, each card represents a task. KanBo makes all your tasks visible on two main boards: the project board that it belongs to and in your personal MyBoard area. By default, the tasks on KanBo are grouped according to the project they are affiliated with. Each project is a separate list that contains the tasks or cards of the user. The MyBoard in KanBo is an area that collects and visualizes your work and tasks in one consolidated place.

KanBo Views

KanBo provides multiple views so that you can evaluate your tasks from different perspectives. One of the views KanBo offers is according to the due date. Such a view shows if tasks are urgent or non-urgent which is an important element of the Eisenhower Matrix.

Another view that can help you determine upcoming tasks is the calendar view which shows all your tasks in a calendar format.

Building the Eisenhower Matrix in KanBo

Apart from the views present in MyBoard by default, users can also create their own views using lists. This can help you build your Eisenhower matrix so you can manage and prioritize your tasks. With this method, the MyBoard area groups your tasks according to projects and dates to create an additional dimension based on the Eisenhower Principle.

For this, you have to create lists and name them according to the rules of the Eisenhower Matrix. To get started, create the following lists:

  • New Tasks
  • Important and urgent (Do First)
  • Important but not urgent (Schedule)
  • Not important but urgent (Delegate)
  • Not important and not urgent (Don’t Do)

Prioritization in KanBo

Once you have all your lists set up, you can start prioritizing all the work that you get in the New Tasks list. Much like writing down your tasks in the right square in the analog version, in KanBo, you can just move your tasks around and drop them in the right list.

Unlocking new Opportunities

The Eisenhower matrix in KanBo’s MyBoard unlocks new opportunities in addition to helping you figure out your priorities. The Eisenhower Matrix view in KanBo can help you:

  • Gain access to comprehensive information about the project, within which the task is carried out
  • See who’s responsible for the task.
  • Keep track of the deadline for completing the task
  • View how many people are cooperating on the task. By seeing each person’s avatar we can surmise which people the team is made of.
  • View the Timeline with all the tasks to be performed.

While you use Eisenhower Matrix to manage your personal tasks with efficiency in MyBoard, the task on the project board remains in its original list/state. This adds a new layer of personal productivity and effectiveness without compromising the established work order in the project team. Seeing the same task in two dimensions allows you to define your own priorities and place in the project.

Share the View

In KanBo, you can share the MyBoard view or area with your colleagues.

This creates a culture of transparency and allows you to show everyone which tasks you prioritize. Since everyone works and prioritizes differently, it can be inspiring and enlightening to know what others are up to. The transparency also decreases the need for unnecessary meetings, reports, and sessions since you can see it at any time. With information available in real-time, you no longer have to rely on time-consuming methods of communication and synchronization.

Conclusion

The Eisenhower Matrix is an elegant solution to prioritize your work and streamline personal productivity. KanBo gives it a new dimension that makes it even more relevant for the modern workforce. KanBo’s digital Eisenhower Matrix achieves the original purpose of task prioritization and helps you boost personal productivity. Since a team is the sum of its parts, an increase in personal effectiveness directly translates to efficient team performance.

With KanBo, the team can see their tasks in multiple dimensions and find a way to perform work that matters the most to them while keeping the project’s demands in mind. Does that sound like something your team needs? Try out KanBo now and build an Eisenhower Matrix of your own.