🗃️ Prioritizing Tasks with the Eisenhower Matrix


We all have things to do.

Whether you're in medical school🧑🏻‍🎓, residency🧑🏽‍⚕️, or heck even retired😎, we all have things we want (and need) to get done.

It's no secret that I like creating lists, and I like to organize the tasks I have around my Mission-Critical, which you can read more about here.

But sometimes trying to figure out how to prioritize our tasks can in and of itself be a task...how ridiculous!🤦

The Eisenhower Matrix could be a solution to that.💡

The Eisenhower Matrix was created by Dwight D. Eisenhower. Before he was the 34th President of the United States🦅, he was a general in the U.S. Army🪖, a position that requires constantly making tough yet timely decisions. Eisenhower developed a way to prioritize tasks by urgency and importance. Take a look at this:

The Eisenhower Matrix

The instructions from the Eisenhower Matrix are simple.

  1. If something is important and needs to get done urgently, do it
  2. If something is important but does not need to get done urgently, schedule time to do it 🗓️
  3. If something is less important but urgent, delegate that task to someone else if possible🫱🏽‍🫲🏽 or minimize it for the time being🤏🏽
  4. If something is less important and not urgent, get rid of it 🗑️

What might this look like for a medical student? Here's an example I came up with for a second year medical student with a Microbiology exam in 3 days and USMLE Step 1 in 3 months who is also interested in Emergency Medicine ⬇️

  1. Because the Microbiology exam is obviously important and is only a few days away, that takes priority🦠.
  2. Reading First Aid and doing UWorld questions for Step 1 is also very important but is still a few months away, so the student shouldn't put all of their attention there right now but should schedule some time for those items📕.
  3. Clinical rotations are also a few months away, so not as important right now but something the student will need to do eventually need to prepare for. This can be minimized for now, and potentially even delegated a bit by speaking with other students to get information🗣️.
  4. Finally, deciding on a specialty is not important right now and not urgent, so if this was weighing on the student's mind, they should delete it for now and it can always be re-prioritized later❌.

Not every task has a perfect spot in the Eisenhower Matrix, but it's a great template for where to start.

The Eisenhower Matrix forces you to think about the urgency of your tasks and creates a clear picture of how to go about things once you do🤔.

So the next time you find yourself with a mountain of things to get done, try out the Eisenhower Matrix for an extra boost to start knocking tasks out!🚀

🗺️ Something I discovered: Marvel Study Series on YouTube. Some chill focus music for all the Marvel nerds out there! My favorite is Captain America, which I'll definitely be adding to my list of YouTube Videos for Productivity & Focus.

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