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President Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” The Eisenhower Decision Matrix is based upon this philosophy. It categorizes and prioritizes tasks based on their urgency (need for attention) and importance (level of significance).

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Sometimes it seems like there are a million legal marketing tasks that need your attention. Using the Eisenhower Decision Matrix and this accompanying analysis of the most common legal marketing to do items, you can hone in on only the most effective tasks.

Quadrant 1: Important & Urgent

Necessary action: do now

Examples of Quadrant 1 tasks include:

  • Resolving a crisis with a client
  • Responding to live chat requests or a potential client’s consultation inquiry
  • Repairing your law firm website’s server
  • Inflexible deadlines like renewing your webpage domain or responding to a request for an interview before tonight’s local news
  • A team member’s sudden resignation

Address these immediately to avoid consequences… but beware of labeling everything as “urgent.” This quadrant should be reserved for only the most crucial actions, the 9-1-1s like resetting the office circuit when electricity goes down so you can hop back on the computer and continue powering through your legal marketing to do list. 

Quadrant 2: Important & Not Urgent

Necessary action: schedule to work on consistently  

This quadrant encompasses:

  • Building your firm’s email list
  • Producing and disseminating fresh content every week
  • Posting, commenting, and sharing to build a social media presence
  • Updating your website regularly for design and results page visibility (SEO)
  • A/B split testing your law firm website to improve performance
  • Keeping an eye on your marketing budget

Tasks in this quadrant are the most important to your firm’s overall marketing goals, and ones that should be regularly scheduled daily, weekly, and monthly. This not only prevents Important responsibilities from becoming Urgent, but also ensures that you make steady progress on the legal marketing items that will most heavily impact your brand and bottom line.

Because these tasks are the most important in the long run, some or all may require your personal attention, at least at first. After spearheading these projects, you can delegate them to trustworthy team members and request weekly updates.

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Quadrant 3: Not Important & Urgent

Necessary action: delegate to others

  • Answering everyday emails
  • Taking and returning phone calls (those that aren’t requests for consultations from potential clients)
  • Unimportant marketing meetings that could be accomplished via email instead

“Can this be delegated to someone else? Should this be delegated to someone else?” If you answer yes to both questions, then relegate that legal marketing task to quadrant 3 and assign it to someone else.

Quadrant 4: Not Important & Not Urgent

Necessary action: forget about them  

This quadrant includes time wasters like surfing the web. Forget about the items in this category and spend your time on more effective tasks.

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