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Tips & Tricks Tuesday: An Eisenhower Matrix using Smart Lists

Tuesday, January 14, 2014 by Andrew Conkling

An Eisenhower matrix can be a useful way to separate and to prioritize important tasks versus urgent ones. This week's tip, shared by mehardin, suggests an automatic setup of these four quadrants using Smart Lists.

It's difficult when planning our day and our actions to lose sight between the difference in those items that are urgent and those that are important. For example, answering the phone is urgent. If you don't do it now, the caller will hang up. But the vast majority of the time, for most of us, it isn't all that important. Spending time with your spouse or children, exercising, scheduling a physical, etc. are all examples of tasks that are important, but they may not be urgent at the moment. […]

I propose the best way to manage these quadrants in RTM is by combining Priorities and Due Dates. To do this, I made 6 Smart Lists: Important, Urgent, Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4. My search terms for the Smart Lists are as follows:

  • Important: priority:1 OR priority:2 OR priority:3
  • Urgent: dueBefore:"3 days"
  • Q1: list:Important AND list:Urgent
  • Q2: list:Important AND NOT list:Urgent
  • Q3: list:Urgent AND NOT list:Important
  • Q4: NOT (list:Important OR list:Urgent)

Be sure to read the whole post for more thoughts on using the matrix day to day.

Thanks for sharing this tip, mehardin! You're our Tips & Tricks Tuesday winner this week.

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Posted in: Tips & Tricks