Do you struggle with decision paralysis? The priority matrix can help

Decision paralysis, or the inability to make decisions or take action due to competing demands, is a struggle that many face. Decision paralysis often hits when feeling overwhelmed with the amount of items on your to-do list or when demands seem equally urgent and important. When struggling with decision paralysis, you cannot decide how to prioritize or balance your demands. You often feel stuck and may end up taking no action at all (hint: paralysis) despite demands that must be met.

What really sucks is that decision paralysis leaves you feeling incapable and ineffective in your life, whether it’s at work or at home, and this can start to chip away at your self-esteem and self-efficacy. Moreover, decision paralysis can leave you feeling even more stressed out and feeling down.

Thankfully, there is a nifty little tool I like to call the priority matrix that helps you prioritize competing demands. Others have referred to this tool as the Eisenhower box, based on a famous quote by the 34th president of the United States:

What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important. – Dwight Eisenhower

Here’s what it looks like:

The priority matrix helps you identify the level of importance and urgency of demands and what action to take.















This tool helps you identify demands that are most important and most urgent, which you tackle first on your to-do list, and demands that are least important and least urgent, which you can nix off your to-do list altogether.

Next time you begin to feel overwhelmed with the amount of stuff you have to do or you don’t quite know where to start when faced with competing demands, take a moment to write out your own priority matrix and say goodbye to decision paralysis.