Presidents and world leaders are running nations, so they need to get a lot done without burning out. The question is, how do they do it?
Here are the methods world leaders use to get more done in less time. One of these was actually created by a U.S. President, and what’s surprising is how dead simple these are.
So before you hire that productivity coach for 10k who also hosts yoga retreats on the weekends, read this email first.
The Eisenhower Matrix
U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower was notorious for getting things done. He invented his own time management methodology called the “urgent-Important Matrix.” It was later popularized by Stephen Covey, who dubbed it “the Eisenhower Matrix.”
So how does it work?
You analyze each task and then place it into one of four quadrants using the chart below based on importance and urgency.
You do the tasks in green first, followed by orange, then finally delegate tasks in blue, and delete tasks in red.
Here’s a simple guide to each quadrant for placing tasks.
- Do (urgent and important): The top left quadrant is for urgent and important tasks. These tasks require your immediate attention. Same-day tasks and emergencies belong in this quadrant.
- Schedule (important but not urgent): The top right quadrant is for tasks that you can schedule and complete in the future. These tasks are usually related to future goals and don’t need to be accomplished today.
- Delegate (not important, urgent): The bottom left quadrant is for things you do not need to do yourself but still need to get done soon. It’s best to delegate these tasks to others.
- Delete (not important and not urgent): The bottom right quadrant is for tasks that you can remove to free up your time. It’s for items that you deem not important and not urgent.
Quick Tip: To get the most out of the Eisenhower Matrix, cap the number of tasks in each quadrant and assess your matrix regularly.
This one is simple but a little intense. It’s called Time Blocking.
Due to the importance of a president’s tasks, they live by a daily schedule that has every single task outlined, down to the minute, with a few breaks in between.
I prefer the Eisenhower Matrix for most people because if you do Time Blocking, you will most likely need a dedicated assistant.
What’s cool about Time Blocking is The Whitehouse publishes the daily schedule for the president on their website.
Here’s what Obama’s day looked like on October 20th, 2016.
So as you can see, the most productive and important people on the plant aren’t using special productivity apps, alarms, or algorithms.
It comes down to two simple things.
- Categorizing each task by importance and urgency.
- Having a thought-out daily schedule.
I think this is an excellent opportunity for you to evaluate your own productivity system.
We all get caught up in shiny object syndrome and overcomplicating things.
If this simple system works for the leader of the free world, I think it might work for you.
With that being said, I’ll leave you with a quote from Eisenhower himself.
“What is urgent is seldom important and what is important is seldom urgent.”
– Dwight D. Eisenhower