Urgent or important? A guide to choosing and prioritizing tasks at work

Choosing and Prioritizing Task at Work

All of us want to get more done, be productive and use time efficiently at work. Yet, in an attempt to finish what is ‘urgent’ all the time, we are often left with little or no time to do what is really important. If you find yourself wasting a lot of time on routine tasks, tasks below your paygrade, or redundant tasks, this article is for you!

Learn to optimize your work life with the Eisenhower decision matrix. Developed by Dwight Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, the matrix is a simple tool to effectively prioritizing tasks at work to drive productivity.

How to do it?

The Eisenhower decision matrix is based on your daily actions. Using the matrix, separate your actions based on four possibilities as listed below:

Quadrant 1: Urgent and important (tasks that need to be done immediately)

Quadrant 2: Important, but not urgent (tasks that can be scheduled for later)

Quadrant 3: Urgent, but not important (tasks that can be delegated to someone)

Quadrant 4: Neither urgent nor important (tasks that need to be eliminated)

You can use this matrix to create broad productivity plans, right from ‘how should I spend my week?’ to ‘what can I do on a Saturday afternoon’. In fact, once you are accustomed to it, the matrix can be expanded to accommodate decisions regarding your personal life as well.

Differentiating between urgent and important

Urgent tasks are things that you feel like you need to react to. Important tasks are things that contribute to our long-term mission, values, and goals.

Here are some examples of simple everyday tasks and how you could segregate them based on importance and urgency:

Q1: Urgent & Important – DO

Submitting a project report/ Reverting to a client’s email/ Sending a business proposal / Writing an article/ Taking a meeting

Q2: Important, but not urgent – DECIDE

Exercising/ Reading books/ Research/ Networking/ Catching up with friends & family

Q3: Urgent, but not important – DELEGATE

Booking flight tickets/ Paying bills/ Filing taxes/ Scheduling interviews/ Data entry

Q4: Neither Urgent nor important – DELETE

Scrolling through social media/ Choosing outfits/ Sorting through junk mail/ Mindless content consumption/ Gossiping


Make every aspect of your life productive now! Create your own version of the Eisenhower decision matrix and show us how you organize your life. Upload a picture on your social media profile and tag our official social media handles to get featured!


What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.

-Dwight Eisenhower

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