Action Priority Matrix

An Action Priority Matrix (or Time Management Matrix) is a tool for prioritizing daily activities. There are 4 quadrants to the matrix as shown below:

1 – Important and Urgent
These are the tasks that must be done now. These tasks should be cleared away as soon as possible, as they are often not relevant to the actual work that is most important to us.

  • Pressing issues that arise
  • Emergencies and crises
  • Deadlines
  • Scheduled appointments and meetings

2 – Important but not urgent
These are the most important tasks of all. They are the activities that allow us to reach our goals and objectives. They should be scheduled and worked on every day.

  • Working on specific projects or goal tasks
  • Planning and scheduling
  • Personal development
  • Crises prevention

3 – Urgent but not important
These activities can take up a large proportion of our time if we let them. They are often avoidable by delegating the job to others, or by ignoring them altogether.

  • Daily unscheduled tasks
  • Interruptions
  • Maintenance work
  • General fill-in jobs
  • Regular correspondence

4 – Not urgent and not important
These are the activities that we let creep into our day. They are often tasks we shouldn’t be doing at all, but we often use them as an excuse to escape the drudgery of other tasks.

  • Time wasting – idle chatting, long breaks
  • Irrelevant distractions – internet surfing, socializing online, texting friends, personal phone calls
  • Trivial work – busy work, , pushing paper, other procrastination tasks

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