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Covey's Planning Matrix or The Eisenhower Grid

In his 1989 book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, management theorist Stephen Covey outlined the concept of using a four-panel matrix to prioritise workload activities.

He suggested organising activities into the four panels based on two variables:

  • Urgency – those that score high here require immediate attention, often due to formal or informal deadlines, or because they contribute to someone else's activities/goals.
  • Importance – tasks that score high for importance are those which will contribute heavily to your overall goals, or those of the organisation, but this does not necessarily mean they have urgent deadlines. 

That will create a grid that looks something like the one below:

Four box grid on Urgency and Importance.

This, Covey's Planning Matrix or the Eisenhower Grid (as he is rumoured to have used a similar method) is an incredibly useful planning tool.

Get our free template here.