Geek Trivia

Which U.S. President Has A Productivity System Named After Them?

What Unorthodox Piece Of Equipment Was Used In The Manufacturing Of The First Nike Shoes?

Answer: Eisenhower

Dwight Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States, was a very focused guy that accomplished quite a bit, in both his military and political careers. In many of his public remarks over the years, he talked about the importance of having a reliable system of doing things and the ability to distinguish between what required your attention and what did not. Of all his quotes focused on the nature of productivity and getting things done, there was one that resonated with the most people: “I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important and the important are never urgent.”

In fact, packaging that quote into a productivity system is exactly how we ended up with The Eisenhower Method, also called the Eisenhower Box or Eisenhower Decision Matrix, popularized by Stephen Covey in his book First Things First.

When laid out in graphic form, as seen here, tasks are divided into a matrix of urgency and importance such that you end up with the combinations Important/Urgent, Important/Not Urgent, Not Important/Urgent, and Not Important/Not Urgent. When trying to decide which tasks to handle first (or not at all), you might place “Finish report for boss” in the Urgent/Important quadrant and “Beat previous Minesweeper high score” in Not Urgent/Not Important, for example.

Image courtesy of Rorybowman.