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  • Writer's pictureEmily Garnham

Time pressed startups should use the Eisenhower Matrix

Busy startup business owners looking for time and productivity hacks should try the Eisenhower Matrix.

Also known at the 'urgent important matrix', this is a method to help the time poor prioritise tasks and make them more manageable.

First, itemise your to do list. My advice is to list the tasks in bitesize form. For example, rather than 'write the copy for my website', you break it down into smaller chunks e.g.

  • Write the About Us section of my website

  • Write a blog about how businesses can reach the over 50s through content marketing

  • Brainstorm and shortlist ideas for my company strapline

Next draw a simple grid with four sections, rather like this one I made earlier:

Eisenhower Matrix template

(Image credit: Tartle Media)

Next, drop all your tasks into one of the four sections. As you can see from the grid above, anything not urgent and not important gets ditched, canned, spiked. You're a busy person, so let's get ruthless.

By contrast, anything urgent and important gets done, now, yesterday.

What do you delegate or outsource? Anything that's urgent but not important, so it still needs doing, just not by the owner of the business. This also goes for stuff you cannot do yourself because you don't yet have the skills and you don't have time to sit through a YouTube tutorial in order to learn. You might think you're the bees knees, but do you really know where that apostrophe goes or what a meta tag is?

Last, is the Do Later section, for any jobs that are important but not urgent. You'll get to this pile as soon as the Do Now jobs are done.

This matrix works, but only if you make the tasks in it small and manageable, so each one doesn't seem laborious and off putting. That means taking time to comb through your to do list and breaking it down still further.

Tartle Media mentors startups looking for direction, motivation and practical advice. Have a rummage in our Startup Toolbox.

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