The Eisenhower Matrix

5 minutes

Happy New Year Legal Eagles! 🚀

We know you’re probably inundated with tasks you put off before Christmas and clients demanding your attention.

 So, what will you do first? The most important thing or the most urgent one?

 If you’re against the clock, it’s human instinct to focus on deadline tasks, even if they shouldn’t be your priority.

 Dwight D. Eisenhower was a Five-star US General famous for his time management skills who said in a 1954 speech “I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.”

 Inspired by this, Stephen Covey took Eisenhower’s insights and created a simple prioritising tool and called it the Eisenhower Matrix. The idea is to use this tool to eliminate time-wasters and make more mental space for progress.

 With the Eisenhower Matrix, you put your daily legal tasks into one of these 4 categories:


  1. Urgent and important tasks to be completed now, such as legal emergencies, critical client needs and court deadlines.


  1. Important but not urgent tasks to schedule on your calendar like case strategising, professional development and client relations.


  1. Urgent but unimportant tasks such as replying to emails, scheduling your time and returning calls which you might delegate to someone else.


  1. Unimportant and not urgent tasks you can minimise or simply eliminate to stop them distracting you from your core goals.        


It’s not easy keeping on top of your January workload when you’re a lawyer. But this and other time management tools are worth trying if you find tasks are getting on top of you.

 What do you think? Do you use any time management tools?