Time pressure is a prevalent source of stress both at college and in the world of work – it’s the result of having too much to do, and not enough time to do it all in.
The Eisenhower Principle is a prioritisation method that allows for the categorisation of tasks in a straight forward, no-grey-areas manner. The principle helps you consider your priorities, and then decide which tasks are essential and which are distractions.
Important Activities – have an outcome that leads us to achieving our goals, whether they are personal or professional
Urgent Activities – demand immediate attention, and are usually associated with achieving someone else’s goals. They are often the ones we concentrate on and they demand attention because the consequences of not dealing with them are immediate
Step 1 – Select a task and decide whether or not it is urgent. This will help you in deciding whether immediate action is necessary or not
Step 2 – Using the same task from step 1, decide whether it is important or not. This will help you decide whether it is something you need to do yourself, or whether it can be delegated to someone else
According to the Eisenhower Principle tasks fall into one of four categories
- Important & urgent
- Not urgent but important
- Not important but urgent
- Not important and not urgent
Each category is then assigned a recommended plan of action
- Important and urgent – DO it now
- Not urgent but important – DECIDE on when to schedule it in
- Not important but urgent – DELEGATE it to someone else
- Not important and not urgent – DELETE it