What is important and what is urgent?
Any issue that needs to be done falls into one of the four quadrants of the matrix. Perform them in order from top to bottom, from left to right. First - urgent and important, then - urgent and not important, then not urgent and important, and, finally, not urgent and not important.
The key problem that people face when working with the Eisenhower matrix is the classification of issues by urgency and importance. More precisely, the main problem is to understand what urgency and importance are in general. And without understanding, people quit the matrix, after playing a day or two. Let's try to figure it out.
Let's start with urgency since this is a priority over importance. What task can be called urgent? An urgent task is one that is no longer needed after the deadline. Simple and clear.
Such tasks are urgent, because they satisfy our criterion - there are real losses from the fact that the problem is not solved. And it’s not just there - the income tax that is not delivered on time threatens with a serious fine. It is important to be able to separate the concepts of “urgency” and “deadline”. Any task has a deadline, one way or another, even if it is not indicated.
The urgency of the task does not correlate with the deadline. For example, the deadline for completing a task may not be of the “date” type, but “as fast as possible, damn it!” That is, formally, there is no deadline. But the task, however, is urgent.
Urgency is a separate attribute of a task that characterizes the context of its birth and life, and not managerial designations like "deadline" or "inclusion in the plan of this day."
Now about the importance. Back to the classic - Stephen Covey. He identified the important tasks that are for the future. A fairly simple, though not entirely clear definition. Let's try to decrypt.
There are tasks from the solution of which nothing fundamentally changes. So, you resolved it, and the client paid the money, and there were no significant changes - neither you nor the client. The solution to this problem did not cause a flurry of new tasks, the long-running project did not start, they did not fire anyone and were not hired, and some oppressive problem of the client’s business was not resolved.
And there is a client’s task, having solved which, you get a project. There is a central task of the project phase, which transfers it from testing to operation. There is the task of testing the hypothesis in risky development, after solving which you have the first release, and you can finally show your product to users and get feedback. There is a task on which the reputation of the team or your entire company depends. There is a task by which they will judge your promotion. There is a task on which your hourly rate depends.
These tasks are important. Something depends on them. And not just “something”, but concrete, understandable and useful for you “something”. They not only influence the future but also shape it.