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This post is up about tool categories that help to implement an Eisenhower matrix. The categories include:
My journey of tools I used to implement Eisenhower matrix started with paper and pen. I used a calendar notebook and added deadlines for urgent topics I had to meet. The notebooks display one week (Monday to Sunday) on one double page.
Urgent topics are always associated with deadlines. Important topics do not contain a deadline or the deadline is months away. If a deadline is due soon, an important topic became urgent.
My implementation approach for urgent topics: file those items at the date of the deadline.
When ever there were free slots in the calendar I added important topics with a marker (star or deadline in brackets) to distinguish these items from urgent items.
This worked great for years. However as this approach is offline and I missed all the online options. Rescheduling topics on paper calendars worked only partially if topic deadlines change.
While the calendar approach was great to match deadlines with tasks, it was hard to identify the most important tasks in case there was no deadline in the current week.
Tables provided a simple solution to that. A table is an ordered list of unique items. There is only one priority one item, one priority two item and another priority three item and so on.
Such a table enriched with an additional column for deadlines displays what is the next tasks to work on.
After a task has been done it is deleted from the table.
Any spreadsheet application can be used for this approach, even word like applications that allow adding tables can be used to for this Eisenhower matrix approach.
Project Management Tools
Project management tools was the next iteration I used to implement Eisenhower matrix. My choice was GitHub projects. However I worked in other contexts also with Asana, Trello and MS project. All these tools and others that support project management can be used to implement an Eisenhower matrix.
I created my own board with urgent and important tasks in GitHub projects. I started with a 3 column board
- in Progress
Later I exchanged the column Todo with
Over time I realized project management tools are very powerful tools and actually equipped for more sophisticated tasks. This made me consider other tools for Eisenhower matrix.
I reconsidered the starting point of my tools journey: filing notes in calendar notebooks. Users have a wide variety of note tools including:
Keep is the tool that fits best my preferences. I use a color scheme to distinguish urgent and important topics:
- urgent topics are red
- important topics are orange
- urgent & Not important are yellow
- Not urgent & Not important are green
All urgent and important tasks are visible at a glance on the board using this Color Code Eisenhower Matrix. Notes are easy to move around and one can add additional notes, images, links etc. A task is marked as “done” when it gets archived.
I did enjoy all tools I used to implement the Eisenhower matrix with a focus on urgent and important tasks. All tools introduced in this post and more can be used to implement the Eisenhower matrix.
My favorite approach is the Color Code Eisenhower Matrix with Keep – red for urgent tasks, orange for important tasks.