Covey’s time matrix (Eisenhower)

The big picture

Stephen Covey (1932–2012) popularised a tool used by US President Eisenhower, designed to help you to prioritise your time and activities based on the levels of importance and urgency of your tasks – see Figure 25.1.

Think of the quadrants this way:

  1. Deadlines and crises.
  2. Planned, prioritised work.
  3. Disallowable interruptions which you allow anyway.
  4. Things that you should probably do outside work.

Figure 25.1Covey’s time matrix

Source: Adapted from Covey, S.R. (2004) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. New York: Simon & Schuster. Reproduced with permission.

When to use it

The time matrix ...

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