How to Create a Prioritization Matrix that Suits You

Prioritization Matrix Feature Image

The importance of effective time management cannot be overemphasized. One crucial tip to effectively manage your time is the prioritization of your tasks by the level of their importance and urgency. This can be accomplished with several prioritization tools, such as the Eisenhower Matrix. This tutorial walks you through the steps required to create a suitable prioritization matrix with the tool of your choice.

Contrary to the belief that a prioritization matrix works for only for project management, you can apply it to daily living. There are several templates, however, and with these simple steps, you can create your matrix.

1. List all your tasks

Prioritization Matrix List Out Tasks

Most times, we already have a mental list of what we plan to achieve. Instead of leaving it in your mind, transfer your list of tasks to paper to prevent you from missing any of them.

2. Consider consequences

Here, you need to ask yourself, “What happens if I don’t prioritize this task?” Do this for all the tasks on your list.

Prioritization Matrix Divide Tasks

3. Define the level of importance of each task

Prioritization Matrix Importance Level

After considering the consequences, you can tell which tasks are more important on your list. Draw up two categories (low and high importance) and rank each task accordingly based on your responses in “Step 2.”

4. Decide what tasks are more urgent

Prioritization Matrix Reorder Urgent Important

After splitting your tasks into two categories, split them further into sub-categories. This time, divide them by low and high urgency. At the end of this, you should have four categories in total.

5. Assign values to each task

Prioritization Matrix Focus

For each task, assign a number value between 1 and 4 to depict priority levels. This will help you shut out the mental noise and achieve your tasks faster and more effectively. Here’s what the numbers mean:

  • 1 – High importance, high urgency.
  • 2 – High importance, low urgency.
  • 3 – Low importance, high urgency.
  • 4 – Low importance, low urgency.

Tips for Using a Prioritization Matrix

It is one thing to create a prioritization matrix, but knowing how to use it is another situation. In this section, we explain how to use a prioritization matrix to attain efficiency.

Prepare yourself

Prioritization Matrix Prepare

It is important to put your strengths and weaknesses into perspective before preparing a prioritization matrix. If you’re an expert at a particular task, that means it would take you a short length of time to complete it. However, if you find that you’re not too comfortable with a certain task, then you may need a longer time period to accomplish it.

With your strengths and weaknesses in mind, you are in a better position to rank tasks according to importance and urgency.

2. Define your criteria

Another important thing to consider when preparing a prioritization matrix is the criteria you’ll be using to assess the importance of each task. The elements of your criteria options should be centered around the features of the tasks or activities you need to do. Such elements may include:

Prioritization Matrix Criteria
  • due date
  • level of understanding
  • estimated effort to complete
  • resources assigned

We recommend working with 5 to 10 criteria so that you have sufficient information for decision-making.

3. Assign weighted values to each criterion

After determining your criteria, the next step is to create a rating scale in which values get assigned to each item. The total weight should then help you differentiate between important and unimportant options. It should also help you rank your tasks in descending order, placing the most important at the top. 

Prioritization Matrix Weight

It is important to decide on your assigned values early enough. If you create a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important, it could look like the following example

Task 1 – Prepare a Vision Plan for the ABC Project

  • due date – 5
  • level of understanding – 2

4. Calculate the total scores

Prioritization Matrix Total

After deciding on the score for each option, calculate the total score of each task. Based on the score, you can rank the tasks to determine their priority level.

Conclusion

You will always achieve more when you list and prioritize your daily to-do tasks. Also, it is a good idea to treat every important task as an urgent task. Always prioritize your tasks and follow the list, and you’ll see how your personal productivity will begin to climb.

Maria Victoria Dela Pena

Maria is a Content Writer with a keen interest in Productivity and Internet Marketing. She has profound knowledge on communication and understands what it takes to write persuasive copy and blog posts. Outside of work, you can find her mini-blogging about her life on social media.

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