Making time for writing and promoting with the Eisenhower Matrix

Last updated 03 April 2023

Written by Jin Wang

Making time for writing and promoting with the Eisenhower Matrix

A few weeks back, I was chatting with an author about the biggest challenges she faces as a full-time writer.

I was expecting something like ‘writer’s block’ or lack of inspiration. But she said:

“The biggest challenge is finding time to promote as well as write.”

As I thought about her answer a little more, I came to realise the key here is making time, not finding time.

The Balance between Production and Promotion

Ask any entrepreneur, they’ll all agree. Running a business can become overwhelming if you let it. There are just so many things to think about, plan for, and implement.

In my line of creating pre-designed author websites, I can relate to the author’s dilemma. How do I find time to work in my business, and at the same time work on my business?

How do I create art and still have the time to market my art?

Ever since learning of the Eisenhower Matrix, It’s been a trusty tool. And within a few weeks of being dedicated to it yourself, you’ll see results.

The Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix is a popular time management framework that many highly successful people use to prioritise their time and energy. Stephen Covey’s ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ also made it popular.

The Eisenhower Matrix has two important benefits:

  1. It’s a useful decision-making tool that’s helped to increase my productivity, and
  2. It’s helped me eliminate behaviours that waste my mental energy, and rarely move me toward achieving my goals.
Dwight Eisenhower

“What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important.” —Dwight Eisenhower

How the Eisenhower Matrix helps you make time for things that matter

The Eisenhower Matrix has four quadrants that allow you to categorise your tasks and activities according to their urgency and importance:

Eisenhower Matric Diagram

How to use the Eisenhower Matrix?

Urgent and Important
Do: complete and clear your schedule

Tasks and activities that require your immediate attention and need to be completed ‘now’ are written in this quadrant.

You might think spending more time on activities in this quadrant you become more productive because you’re ‘busy’, but that doesn’t mean you’re moving the needle. These activities can put you under constant stress and pressure (especially when dealing with deadlines), and thus cause you to make more errors.

Examples of activities, tasks, or events in this quadrant include:

  • Catching book deadlines set by your publisher
  • Working on a committee and subjecting yourself to their deadlines

Important but Not Urgent
Decide: what’s important, schedule a time, and stick to it

This is where you want to be spending your time.

What tasks or activities can be placed here? That will largely depend on your personal goals, what you value most, and how you want to spend your time, not how you need to.

Take exercising. It’s essential for a healthy life but is often postponed, or ignored.

Examples of activities, tasks, or events in this quadrant include:

  • Writing blog posts for your website
  • Setting up a course or workshop you’ve been intending to run
  • Teaching and inspiring others
  • Looking for opportunities to promote your work
  • And of course, writing.

Urgent but Not Important
Delegate: outsource these activities

These are tasks that do not bear significant importance but still need to be done. Many of the activities here can be considered mentally consuming due to their urgency. They might not eat up a lot of your time, but they do require a lot of your attention. An example of this is answering emails as soon as they come in.

‘Email is a task list that’s created for you by someone else.’
—Chris Sacca

Examples of activities, tasks, or events in this quadrant include:

  • Scheduling interviews and speaking events
  • Approving websites and social media comments
  • Answering certain emails
  • Certain social arrangements

Not Urgent and Not Important
Delete: eliminate these activities

All activities that can be considered as ‘time wasters’ are dumped into this quadrant – these are activities that you need to eliminate from your to-do list. Or those which you can do only if you’re through with all the tasks and activities in the other three quadrants.

Examples of activities, tasks, or events in this quadrant include:

  • Sorting through your email’s junk folder
  • Hanging out on social media for no particular reason
  • Really any time-wasting activity

A Final Thought

In Covey’s book, he leaves the reader with a question.

What’s one thing you could do that you aren’t doing now, that if you did on a regular basis would make a tremendous positive difference in your professional life?

The answer to this question will most likely be a quadrant two activity. Important but Not Urgent.

So, what’s your ‘one thing’? Let me know in the comments below.

Are you ready to start using the Eisenhower Matrix?

Get my free 4-step guide here to find out how you can identify the key question to ask yourself when planning your time, delegating roles and tasks, and setting goals.

It also includes a template of the matrix to help you plan your week.

Want my 4-Step guide for starting the Eisenhower Matrix?
Click here to get it