The Eisenhower Method is a prioritization and time management tool characterized by placing tasks in quadrants based on their urgency and importance. While this tool is innovative and efficient, there are alternatives to creating it. These alternatives convey the same message of prioritizing tasks and effective time management; however, they are implemented differently. The two most effective Eisenhower Matrix alternatives are:
Action Priority Matrix
It is similar to the Eisenhower Method; however, unlike Eisenhower, which has an urgent-important base, Action Priority has an impact-effort concept. It focuses on the value of a task versus how it is hard or easy. This Matrix is also divided into four quadrants in the following way:
- Quadrant one- High Impact-Low Effort
Activities in this quadrant have the most value and are easy to carry out. They are known as quick point tasks.
- Quadrant two- High Impact-High Effort
Tasks in this quadrant are equally as important or even more than those in the first quadrant. However, they are harder to pull off and require more resources and planning.
- Quadrant three- Low Impact-Low Effort
Activities here do not have much value and are easy to pull off. You can delegate them.
- Quadrant four- Low Impact-High Effort
Tasks here have little to no value; however, they are time-consuming and require a lot of resources. You can discard them or place them on the back bench until the resources are available.
This Matrix focuses on the allocated time for tasks per quadrant. It is also similar to the Eisenhower Matrix. However, unlike Eisenhower, whose quadrants represent the tasks and their level of urgency and importance, Covey Matrix quadrants represent time. This means the more prominent the quadrant, the more time spent on the projects making it one of the effective Eisenhower Matrix alternatives. On that note, the Covey Matrix quadrants would be prepared as follows:
- Quadrant one- Urgent-Important
Due to their urgency, these tasks should be done immediately; however, they must not be time-consuming. In other words, they are quick urgent tasks. Many people spend too much time here because of the “Urgency trap.” Jobs here are critical, but their short-term value is why you shouldn’t spend too much time on them.
- Quadrant two- Not Urgent-Important
Tasks here should be scheduled and allocated the most time because they require proper planning and use more resources. Jobs here are usually of long-term value; hence, they need enough time.
- Quadrant three- Urgent-Not Important
Activities here are best delegated because of their time sensitivity; however, they add less value, so you shouldn’t spend your time on them.
- Quadrant four- Not Urgent-Not Important
Tasks here are unnecessary and should be allocated the least or no time. They are known as distractions; when you evaluate your day or level of productivity, you would realize it.
Prioritizing tools that are beneficial in other ways
There are prioritizing tools that enhance productivity and efficiency in different ways. They include:
- Time Management Tools: They emphasize the time allotted to specific tasks to increase productivity.
- Project Management Tools: They function in setting up tasks, carrying them out, and tracking the progress of a project.
- Resources Allocation Tools: They focus on resources needed to carry out tasks by giving each project its due resources.
- Project Milestones Tools: They focus solely on the progress of a project in terms of productivity per time.
- Contingency Plan Tools: They focus on alternatives for specific projects by drawing them up and planning how they would salvage the situation when it arises.
- Collaboration Tools: They focus on the synergy between workers or teams on projects. These tools allow more than one person to access and work with them anywhere, anytime.
- Automation Tools: They focus on the smooth transition of activities, for instance, notification of schedule or project changes, to allow workers to focus on what matters.
With these tools, effective management of people, time, and resources will yield greater long-term rewards.
Time management tools like Eisenhower Matrix are not the only tools for increasing efficiency and productivity. The Action Priority Matrix and the Covey Matrix are excellent alternatives for the Eisenhower Method. While their mode of operation may differ, the end goal is the same. The tools mentioned above can do so in their ways.