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The Eisenhower Matrix and Stephen Covey's time management matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix is similar to the time management system Stephen Covey popularized in his book The & Habits of Highly Effective People. I learned about it from my friend Tony DiRico during a mastermind meeting with Brian Singer recently. As a Canadian, I was not as familiar with Dwight Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, as Tony is so I asked him what the matrix was about.

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about the eisenhower matrix

First, since my website attracts visitors from145 to 160 countries every month, Dwight Eisenhower was the President of the United States from 1953 to 1961. Before that, he served as a General in the Army and was the Allied Forces Supreme Commander during WWII. Those roles required a time management system that would enable him to get important things done and decide what even needed to be done himself, instead of delegating it.

When I learned about Eisenhower's matrix I immediately thought of the one in Stephen Covey's famous book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective people. I originally read the book around 1985, and have since read it 4 or 5 times.


Stephen Covey's time management matrix

In both Eisenhower and Covey's matrix, there is a recognition of first priority and urgency, things that must be done today and done personally. Both time management systems include scheduling things that are important but not urgent, like exercising.

Like all good time management systems, there is a category for things not to do, time wasters. In another category, Eisenhower suggested delegating tasks, the matrix Covey refers to as Urgent but Not Important. These tend to be daily interruptions like phone calls, emails, and social media. We all have them.

When it was first published in 1989, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was an almost instant bestseller--and quickly became a permanent part of the cultural lexicon. With over 25 million copies sold worldwide in over 40 languages since its first publication, this book continues to help millions of readers become more effective in both their personal and professional lives.

This is one of the rare books that has influenced presidents, CEOs, educators, and individuals all over the world not only to improve their businesses and careers but to live with integrity, service, dignity, and success in all areas of life. It has had an undeniable impact for the past 25 years--and will no doubt continue to be influential for many more.