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CITOOLKIT
Importance-Urgency Matrix
Unlocking Productivity and Personal Growth through the Importance-Urgency Matrix
1 2
3 4
citoolkit.com
Importance-Urgency Matrix 2
We live in a time pressured world where it is common to have
multiple overlapping commitments that all require immediate
attention now. Urgency is no long reserved for special occasions.
They are an everyday occurrences. How can one manage the flood
of responsibilities, do excellent work and maintain a positive
frame of mind?
Steven
Covey
“ “
citoolkit.com
Definition
An importance urgency matrix is an effective method for organizing
activities and priorities.
Importance-Urgency Matrix 3
1 2
3 4
A 2-dimensional
chart
citoolkit.com
Uses
Used to prioritize work activities as well as personal activities.
Importance-Urgency Matrix 4
Can be used when the team is
having a conflict and unable to
manage the work effectively
citoolkit.com
Four Quadrants
All tasks are evaluated in terms of importance and urgency.
They are then placed in the appropriate quadrants of the importance-
urgency matrix.
Importance-Urgency Matrix 5
1 2
3 4
-
Importance
+
+ Urgency -
citoolkit.com
Four Quadrants
Importance-Urgency Matrix 6
Q1 Q2
Q3 Q4
-
Importance
+
+ Urgency -
Quadrant 1
Important activities that
require immediate
attention
Quadrant 2
Activities that are
important but
not urgent
Quadrant 3
Activities that are not
really important, but
someone wants it now!
Quadrant 4
Activities that are
neither important nor
urgent
citoolkit.com
Four Quadrants
Importance-Urgency Matrix 7
Do First Do Soon
Delegate Drop
Important
Urgent Not urgent
Manage Focus
Push back Avoid
Not
important
citoolkit.com
Quadrant 1
Importance-Urgency Matrix 8
A problem may arise when unexpected
activities arises
For important and urgent matters
Or when activities become urgent due
to procrastination or poor planning
Q1
citoolkit.com
Quadrant 1
Examples . . .
Importance-Urgency Matrix 9
Projects at hand
Performing urgent
repairs
Deadlines at work
Medical emergencies
Paying urgent bills
citoolkit.com
Unexpected
activities arises
Procrastination
and poor
planning
Quadrant 1 - Strategies
Importance-Urgency Matrix 10
Leave some time
in your schedule
Be proactive
citoolkit.com
Quadrant 2
Importance-Urgency Matrix 11
Exceptionally important when it comes
to personal development and growth
The important activities that you should spend
most of your time on
Often under used!
Q2
Finding ways to expand them is the main goal from using this matrix
citoolkit.com
Quadrant 2
Examples . . .
Importance-Urgency Matrix 12
Personal development
Leadership driven
activities
Planning
Research
Continuous
improvement
Prevention
citoolkit.com
Quadrant 2
Activities in this quadrant will help you achieve your personal and
professional goals.
Importance-Urgency Matrix 13
Athletes, entrepreneurs and other people of great achievement find time for this
quadrant.
citoolkit.com
Quadrant 2 - Strategies
One should spend more time here.
Allocate time for strategic planning and goal setting
Make use of To-Do lists
Break big projects into milestones
Allocate time for activities that enhance your skills,
knowledge, and personal growth
Schedule regular intervals to review your progress
Importance-Urgency Matrix 14
citoolkit.com
Quadrant 3
Importance-Urgency Matrix 15
Unimportant activities that are done with a
sense of urgency
Most of these activities are draining and time
consuming
Q3
citoolkit.com
Quadrant 3
Examples . . .
Importance-Urgency Matrix 16
Some meetings
Unwanted
conversations
Most emails
Frequent interruptions
Agreeing to do
something because
you can’t say “no”
Some phone calls
citoolkit.com
Quadrant 3 - Strategies
Importance-Urgency Matrix 17
Push back, delegate, or at least don’t get caught up with these activities
Arrange regular meetings with those who interrupt you often
Keep your phone on silent when you need to focus
Try to have time slots when you are available, so people
know they can speak with you them
Learn how to say No
citoolkit.com
Quadrant 4
Importance-Urgency Matrix 18
The area that most of us get caught up in
These are the activities used for taking a break
from important and urgent activities
Q4
citoolkit.com
Examples . . .
Quadrant 4
Importance-Urgency Matrix 19
Engaging in gossip
Surfing the internet
aimlessly
Mindlessly scrolling through
social media feeds
Checking emails repeatedly
when not expecting
anything urgent
Watching TV
excessively
Playing video games
excessively
citoolkit.com
Quadrant 4 - Strategies
Limit the time you spend in this quadrant. Otherwise, you
lose control of your future and may decrease your chance
for success.
Limit these activities to certain hours
of the day
Once the time is up, move on to more
important activities
Prioritize activities that recharge you
such as hobbies and exercise
Use timers to keep yourself
accountable
Be mindful of your actions and the
time you spend on them
Create a distraction-free environment
Importance-Urgency Matrix 20
citoolkit.com
Steps for Using the Importance-Urgency Matrix
Importance-Urgency Matrix 21
Begin by your personal or job-related activity list
• Draw the importance-urgency matrix on paper or a flipchart.
citoolkit.com
Steps for Using the Importance-Urgency Matrix
Importance-Urgency Matrix 22
Sort all the activities in the appropriate quadrant
• Manage what’s on the first two quadrants.
• Pushback or ignore what’s on the last two quadrants.
citoolkit.com
Example – Professional Life
Take your list of job-related activities
then sort them in the appropriate
quadrant of the importance-
urgency matrix.
Here is an example.
Importance-Urgency Matrix 23
Not
important
Important
Urgent Not urgent
Customer emails
Meetings
Major deadlines
Customer calls
Networking
Planning
Prevention
Coaching
Preparation
Many emails
Some meetings
Interruptions
Personal calls
Junk emails
Gossiping at work
Internet surfing
citoolkit.com
Example – Personal Life
Take your personal to-do list then
sort it into the appropriate
quadrants.
The following is an example of a
personal importance-urgency
matrix.
Importance-Urgency Matrix 24
Not
important
Important
Urgent Not urgent
A kitchen fire
Family calls
A crying baby
A family breakfast
Reading a book
Family gathering
Daily planning
Mentoring
Exercise
Interruptions
Internet chatting
Work-related calls
A neighbor visit
Video games
Social media
Excessive TV
© Copyright Citoolkit.com. All Rights Reserved.
CITOOLKIT
Made with by
The Continuous Improvement Toolkit
www.citoolkit.com

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Unlocking Productivity and Personal Growth through the Importance-Urgency Matrix

  • 1. CITOOLKIT Importance-Urgency Matrix Unlocking Productivity and Personal Growth through the Importance-Urgency Matrix 1 2 3 4
  • 2. citoolkit.com Importance-Urgency Matrix 2 We live in a time pressured world where it is common to have multiple overlapping commitments that all require immediate attention now. Urgency is no long reserved for special occasions. They are an everyday occurrences. How can one manage the flood of responsibilities, do excellent work and maintain a positive frame of mind? Steven Covey “ “
  • 3. citoolkit.com Definition An importance urgency matrix is an effective method for organizing activities and priorities. Importance-Urgency Matrix 3 1 2 3 4 A 2-dimensional chart
  • 4. citoolkit.com Uses Used to prioritize work activities as well as personal activities. Importance-Urgency Matrix 4 Can be used when the team is having a conflict and unable to manage the work effectively
  • 5. citoolkit.com Four Quadrants All tasks are evaluated in terms of importance and urgency. They are then placed in the appropriate quadrants of the importance- urgency matrix. Importance-Urgency Matrix 5 1 2 3 4 - Importance + + Urgency -
  • 6. citoolkit.com Four Quadrants Importance-Urgency Matrix 6 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 - Importance + + Urgency - Quadrant 1 Important activities that require immediate attention Quadrant 2 Activities that are important but not urgent Quadrant 3 Activities that are not really important, but someone wants it now! Quadrant 4 Activities that are neither important nor urgent
  • 7. citoolkit.com Four Quadrants Importance-Urgency Matrix 7 Do First Do Soon Delegate Drop Important Urgent Not urgent Manage Focus Push back Avoid Not important
  • 8. citoolkit.com Quadrant 1 Importance-Urgency Matrix 8 A problem may arise when unexpected activities arises For important and urgent matters Or when activities become urgent due to procrastination or poor planning Q1
  • 9. citoolkit.com Quadrant 1 Examples . . . Importance-Urgency Matrix 9 Projects at hand Performing urgent repairs Deadlines at work Medical emergencies Paying urgent bills
  • 10. citoolkit.com Unexpected activities arises Procrastination and poor planning Quadrant 1 - Strategies Importance-Urgency Matrix 10 Leave some time in your schedule Be proactive
  • 11. citoolkit.com Quadrant 2 Importance-Urgency Matrix 11 Exceptionally important when it comes to personal development and growth The important activities that you should spend most of your time on Often under used! Q2 Finding ways to expand them is the main goal from using this matrix
  • 12. citoolkit.com Quadrant 2 Examples . . . Importance-Urgency Matrix 12 Personal development Leadership driven activities Planning Research Continuous improvement Prevention
  • 13. citoolkit.com Quadrant 2 Activities in this quadrant will help you achieve your personal and professional goals. Importance-Urgency Matrix 13 Athletes, entrepreneurs and other people of great achievement find time for this quadrant.
  • 14. citoolkit.com Quadrant 2 - Strategies One should spend more time here. Allocate time for strategic planning and goal setting Make use of To-Do lists Break big projects into milestones Allocate time for activities that enhance your skills, knowledge, and personal growth Schedule regular intervals to review your progress Importance-Urgency Matrix 14
  • 15. citoolkit.com Quadrant 3 Importance-Urgency Matrix 15 Unimportant activities that are done with a sense of urgency Most of these activities are draining and time consuming Q3
  • 16. citoolkit.com Quadrant 3 Examples . . . Importance-Urgency Matrix 16 Some meetings Unwanted conversations Most emails Frequent interruptions Agreeing to do something because you can’t say “no” Some phone calls
  • 17. citoolkit.com Quadrant 3 - Strategies Importance-Urgency Matrix 17 Push back, delegate, or at least don’t get caught up with these activities Arrange regular meetings with those who interrupt you often Keep your phone on silent when you need to focus Try to have time slots when you are available, so people know they can speak with you them Learn how to say No
  • 18. citoolkit.com Quadrant 4 Importance-Urgency Matrix 18 The area that most of us get caught up in These are the activities used for taking a break from important and urgent activities Q4
  • 19. citoolkit.com Examples . . . Quadrant 4 Importance-Urgency Matrix 19 Engaging in gossip Surfing the internet aimlessly Mindlessly scrolling through social media feeds Checking emails repeatedly when not expecting anything urgent Watching TV excessively Playing video games excessively
  • 20. citoolkit.com Quadrant 4 - Strategies Limit the time you spend in this quadrant. Otherwise, you lose control of your future and may decrease your chance for success. Limit these activities to certain hours of the day Once the time is up, move on to more important activities Prioritize activities that recharge you such as hobbies and exercise Use timers to keep yourself accountable Be mindful of your actions and the time you spend on them Create a distraction-free environment Importance-Urgency Matrix 20
  • 21. citoolkit.com Steps for Using the Importance-Urgency Matrix Importance-Urgency Matrix 21 Begin by your personal or job-related activity list • Draw the importance-urgency matrix on paper or a flipchart.
  • 22. citoolkit.com Steps for Using the Importance-Urgency Matrix Importance-Urgency Matrix 22 Sort all the activities in the appropriate quadrant • Manage what’s on the first two quadrants. • Pushback or ignore what’s on the last two quadrants.
  • 23. citoolkit.com Example – Professional Life Take your list of job-related activities then sort them in the appropriate quadrant of the importance- urgency matrix. Here is an example. Importance-Urgency Matrix 23 Not important Important Urgent Not urgent Customer emails Meetings Major deadlines Customer calls Networking Planning Prevention Coaching Preparation Many emails Some meetings Interruptions Personal calls Junk emails Gossiping at work Internet surfing
  • 24. citoolkit.com Example – Personal Life Take your personal to-do list then sort it into the appropriate quadrants. The following is an example of a personal importance-urgency matrix. Importance-Urgency Matrix 24 Not important Important Urgent Not urgent A kitchen fire Family calls A crying baby A family breakfast Reading a book Family gathering Daily planning Mentoring Exercise Interruptions Internet chatting Work-related calls A neighbor visit Video games Social media Excessive TV
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