Eisenhower principle

Also known as: Eisenhower method, Eisenhower matrix

The Eisenhower principle is a method to categorize upcoming tasks. The purpose of this method is to identify important tasks for immediate completion and unimportant tasks to be neglected.

Definition / explanation

In order to be able to meet the respective requirements that result from an entrepreneurial strategy in view of the limited entrepreneurial resources, it is necessary to categorize corresponding tasks. As a result, tasks can be processed effectively despite the limited resources.

The Eisenhower principle describes a method of differentiating all tasks associated with a specific project according to the two criteria "importance" and "urgency" and thereby creating a hierarchy within a task complex from which the order of the individual sub-steps, their delegation or whose temporary or complete neglect can be derived.

Eisenhower matrix

Using the two criteria, the Eisenhower principle leads to four different ways of categorizing tasks. In this context, one also speaks of the Eisenhower matrix, since the four categories can be represented in a four-cell matrix form or as four quadrants. Each quadrant implies its own guiding principle for dealing with the tasks summarized in it.

In the first quadrant there are all tasks that are classified as "important" and "urgent". It has to be dealt with immediately by a person with high standing in the company organization (mostly managers with appropriate know-how and responsibility).

In the second quadrant there are all tasks that are classified as “important” and “not urgent”. Tasks in this quadrant must also be carried out by managers, but only after a corresponding appointment (postponement).

In the third quadrant all tasks can be found that are classified as “unimportant” and “urgent”. These tasks are to be delegated to the appropriate employees and also to be completed immediately.

In the fourth quadrant there are all tasks that are classified as "unimportant" and "not urgent". Tasks in this quadrant have no importance or urgency - they can therefore be neglected.


  • organizes projects and task complexes in sub-steps
  • assigns tasks to specific areas of responsibility and scheduling options
  • generates action maxims according to the criteria "importance" and "urgency"
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