The Eisenhower Matrix for Teachers

How one tool can make you more efficient and less stressed.

David Weller
5 min readJan 24


How do you write your to-do list?

Teachers have so many tasks to juggle, my to-do list used to be on post-it notes stuck all over my desk, on my monitor, and crumpled in my pockets. It’s hard to explain to non-teachers just how many things we have to do, and with so much work, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. When we have so many tasks and paperwork outside of the classroom, it’s easy to get stuck on a treadmill, burning through our time and energy reserves.

When you find yourself confused and exhausted, it’s helpful to have a tool that can cut through the clutter and give you clarity. A powerful tool to do this is called the ‘Eisenhower Matrix’, — a decision-making tool to help you organise and prioritise tasks.

Used in business, it’s also a fantastic tool for teachers, school leaders and students.

What is the Eisenhower Matrix?

It’s a simple grid to categorise your tasks, and a thinking tool to decide how to use your time best.

It was inspired by a quote from President Eisenhower:

“I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.”

Stephen Covey, author of the ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ took this quote and used it to create the grid which asks you to divide your tasks along two axes, urgent and important. The categories are tasks which are:

  • Urgent and important
  • Not urgent and important
  • Urgent and not important
  • Not urgent and not important

How to use the Eisenhower Matrix

You’re going to empty your brain and to-do list into the Eisenhower Matrix.

For each item on your to-do list, ask yourself if it’s urgent or important — but hang on, what’s the difference?

Urgent tasks

Urgent tasks require immediate attention or attention in the very near future. They also have unpleasant consequences for not doing it…



David Weller

Lessons, stories and visuals to develop your language teaching and learning. 20 years in education, 3 books, and a twice-monthly newsletter.