The Eisenhower Matrix

Market Meditations | May 7, 2021

Do you find that you are always busy, but never seem to get anything done. Many of us do. President Eisenhower however did not. As well as the leading the allied forces to victory in Nazi Germany, he was responsible for implementing the Interstate Highway System (improving the efficiency of the entire US economy) and creating the National Aernautics and Space Administration (NASA).

In his pursuit of productivity he established that there are “two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent”. So he created the Eisenhower Matrix, a framework which he used to prioritise tasks and increase efficiency.

This is a 2×2 matrix with importance, or the magnitude of the consequence of a task, on one axis and urgency, or the immediacy of the consequence of a task on the other. A task can therefore fall into one of these 4 quadrants.

  1. Do. If the consequences of a task are both immediate and of significant magnitude, simply do it now. Making a large trade that meets the conditions of your trading system would fit into this quadrant.
  2. Decide. If the consequences are of significant magnitude but not immediate, schedule a time to make sure it gets done. Examples include amending your long term asset allocations or creating a new trading system.
  3. Delegate. If this task does need to get done urgently but it is not important, give it to someone else to do. This normally includes menial tasks such as admin.
  4. Delete. If neither important nor urgent, do not do the task and stop thinking about it. This could be watching TV or staring at old trades without objective.

The Eisenhower Matrix is a tool we can all use to focus on the tasks that really matter, increasing your productivity and more importantly your profitability.