How to Simply Set Up the Powerful Importance–Urgency Prioritization Matrix with a Status Twist: Making it a 2×4 Matrix (and Not Merely 2×2)
Here is how to perfectly set up Toodledo† to quickly and easily manage the Dwight Eisenhower / Stephen Covey (from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) Importance–Urgency matrix for all your tasks.
In Settings > Fields/Functions Used: enable Start Date, Repeat, Priority, Star. You can use more fields if you want, but these are all that are required to have a great, robust system with phenomenally useful prioritized sorting.
Note that Toodledo† will repeat by Start Date if you do not enable the Due Date field. Instead of using the Due Date field, you can put the due date in the beginning of the title of the task itself, as Michael Linenberger recommends. He uses “DUE: __ remainder of task title”. Whereas, for due date, I use “<<__ remainder of task title”. I put it at the end of the title of the task itself. Each to their own.
Select Top Priority for important tasks that are status-wise actionable (e.g., at the first auspicious opportunity); Select High Priority for important tasks that are status-wise conditional (i.e., late in the day or where circumstances require, such as where you are waiting for someone to complete a delegated task); select Medium Priority for unimportant tasks that are actionable; select Low Priority for unimportant tasks that are conditional.
Star urgent tasks; Unstar nonurgent tasks.
In all of your task lists, set 1st Sort: Normal–Priority, 2nd Sort: Normal–Star, 3rd Sort: Normal–Alphabetical (or whatever 3rd Sort you prefer). You will see that your tasks are now sorted:
|Importance, Urgency,||… and Status Matrix|
|I.α Important, Urgent, Actionable||II.α Important, Nonurgent, Actionable|
|I.ω Important, Urgent, Conditional||II.ω Important, Nonurgent, Conditional|
|III.α Unimportant, Urgent, Actionable||IV.α Unimportant, Nonurgent, Actionable|
|III.ω Unimportant, Urgent, Conditional||IV.ω Unimportant, Nonurgent, Conditional|
In your All Tasks section, either HIDE Future Tasks or, better yet, leave all your task lists as SHOW Future Tasks and set up Saved Searches‡ for Today (Checked Off–no AND Start Date–is before–Today OR Start Date–is–Today OR Start Date–doesn’t exist), Today & Tomorrow (similar setup to prior: you’ll figure it out), Today & Two Days, Week, Fortnight, Month, Quarter, Year, and All: Your tasks are automatically planned at all of these additional time horizons with no extra work on your part! They are all viewable with only a click or two. Nonetheless, they all still use the Importance–Urgency matrix; this works out to be exactly as Randy Pausch of the famous “Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” advised you to do in his “Time Management Lecture”.
†referral link: at no additional cost to you, I receive an extension to my paid subscription if you sign up and eventually buy a paid subscription through this link; however, the free Toodledo is pretty awesome too! Toodledo gives free Website access as well as free, native iOS and Android‡ apps—both of the latter with offline capability.
‡Unlike the native iOS app which has it, Toodledo’s Android app does not yet support Saved Searches; however, they’re developing Toodledo fast every month. More likely than not, the native Android app will have Saved Searches in the near-to-medium term.