Increasing Productivity At Work

By Robert Ropars, Harland Clarke Digital

We live in the digital age where everything is moving faster and faster. Our workloads are increasing while our time is decreasing – The result is more stress. It’s a widely accepted opinion that overwhelming, ongoing stress is extremely detrimental to your health and productivity.

With all of our mobile devices, apps and digital toys, how is it that we can’t seem to get better at managing our workload? Sometimes, you have to look to great leaders and managers of the past to find an answer. When it comes to managing your workload, and stress, the best solution is “The Eisenhower Matrix.”

Made popular by Dr. Stephen Covey, it’s actually attributed to our thirty-fourth president, Dwight D. Eisenhower. This method of managing action items is deceptively simple and helped “Ike” cope with the overwhelming tasks he faced as a five-star general, the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe and later as President of the United States of America.

To use this matrix, start by making a list of all of your pending items and sort them in the following order:

1: Urgent and Important – do immediately

2: Not Urgent and Important – do next and plan when to do them

3: Urgent and Not Important – delegate to others or do later

4: Not Urgent and Not Important – do last/not at all/delegate to others

Visually, it looks a lot like this: Prioritization MatrixThe key to using this matrix is to remember that there is a limited amount of time each day and, since you can’t do everything in one day, you must prioritize your tasks. This will enable you to reduce the stress caused by one large pile of “to do” items versus tasks organized into the most productive battle plan.

It’s important to learn the difference between things that are important and urgent versus not. A common mistake is to address those things that are urgent, but not important, before items that aren’t urgent, but are important. Doing the former causes you to fall behind on things that should be focused on sooner.

As Eisenhower once said, “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” Words to remember as we face the daily onslaught of tasks competing for our time and resources.


Harland Clarke Digital® provides managed email services for several Xerox marketing programs. This content is shared with permission. Any views expressed reflect the opinion of the original author(s). 

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