Eisenhower Matrix

How to Prioritize your leadership tasks

How to Prioritize Your Leadership Tasks | Dr. Will Ramey

How to Prioritize Your Leadership Tasks | Dr. Will Ramey 800 600 OnTheStacks

How to Prioritize your leadership tasks

Research Backed Approaches to Leadership and Team Dynamics with Dr. Will Ramey, The Leadership Dr.

Leaders know that if everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority. We share how to prioritize tasks based on urgency and importance so you can clear your head, control your day, focus on impactful tasks, delegate, and successfully lead your team. Let’s jump in!

The Fog of Your Day

In the chaos of your day as a team leader it may feel like everything is time sensitive and everything is an emergency. This feeling contributes to a fuzzy view of where to place focus and spend your time. The constant calls, unplanned pop-ins, and displacement of other people’s tasks onto your lap can envelope you like a thick fog rolling across the road. When that happens, you can’t see clearly. How then do you determine what to prioritize, what can wait, and what just doesn’t really need to be done at all?

As a team leader in the U.S. Army, I was taught how to quickly discern between urgent, non-urgent, important, and unimportant tasks. I had to be able to pause, assess, take in information, and move out in a direction to execute and accomplish our team’s objectives. Time was always our most limited resource, we had to spend it wisely. Let me share with you a simple and effective system you can use to help you cut through the fog and see where to clearly spend your time.

The Eisenhower Matrix

Take a moment to look at your work calendar. What is it that you need to do today? With a variety of different tasks and the needs of your team competing for your time and attention how do you decide what to do when? Try applying the principles of the matrix. The Eisenhower Matrix is a quadrant that separates tasks based on urgency and importance.

The “Do” Quadrant: Urgent and Important

These tasks are most urgent and most important for you to do today. These should be tasks that require your direct attention, will have the biggest impact, and need done first. These tasks should be placed in your most productive part of your day where you can focus without disruption.

The “Decide” Quadrant: Not Urgent but Important

These tasks need to get done, but not right now. Making time for strategic planning, responding to emails or phone calls, professional development, and getting out to see your team. These types of task help achieve your long-term goals, require your skillsets or authority, but are not time sensitive.

The “Delegate” Quadrant: Urgent but Not Important

These tasks need to get done but are not critically important. Routine tasks such as last-minute meeting requests, data entry, presentation chart preparation etc. Take time to ask yourself, “Do I need to be the one doing this task?” If the tasks don’t require your specific skill sets, they are candidates for delegation. Take the opportunity to grow and develop your team members and give them autonomy in completing these tasks.

The “Delete” Quadrant: Not Urgent and Not Important

These are the distraction tasks. These are the tasks that are leftover that may not need to be done at all. Do you really need that additional pre-brief? Do you need to approve a status update on a project or attend the update meeting? Instead, could you extend trust and encourage your team to move forward without your presence because you clearly communicated intent.

Adapt the Matrix to Your Style

There is a ton of information on how to get the most out of this matrix. The truth is you need to adapt it to your needs and style. Some team leaders may want to do this at the start and close of every day. Others may want to color-code the quads to get a visual of the most important and urgent tasks. Team leaders may be successful doing this at the open and close of their week. Find what works for you. Start by looking at your daily or weekly calendar of tasks. Place those tasks in the quads and move out. This doesn’t have to be perfect to be effective, sometimes “high touch” and “low tech” options work the best.

Make the time to determine what YOU will DO. DECIDE when to schedule tasks that YOU need to do later. DELEGATE tasks that need done now but can be executed by your team. DELETE the tasks that distract you from focusing on what has the most impact. Become effective with this technique and the fog will lift so you feel clear and confident while you move your team forward.

Interested in learning how to prioritize and execute to feel less stressed when you lead your team? Check out my program with Maven: Prioritize and Execute to Focus on Meaningful Work

Reach out to connect on LinkedIn Dr. William Ramey | LinkedIn

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