By the
Mind Tools
Editorial Team

The Action Priority Matrix

Making the Most of Your Opportunities

The Action Priority Matrix

© iStockphoto

Is your task a "quick win"?

Whether these are bright ideas to pursue, exciting opportunities, or interesting possibilities, most of us have many more activities on our "wish lists" than we have time available to work on them.

By choosing activities intelligently, we can make the very most of our time and opportunities. However, by choosing badly, we can bog ourselves down in time-depleting, low-yield projects that stop us moving forwards. 

This is where an "Action Priority Matrix" can be useful. These simple diagrams help you choose the activities you should prioritize and the ones you should avoid, if you want to make the most of your time and opportunities.

About the Tool

Action Priority Matrices* (see figure 1, below) show you how to prioritize activities to make the most of your time, energy, and talents.

This is useful, because we rarely have time to complete all of the tasks and projects on our wish lists. When we use the matrix to choose activities intelligently, we can spend more of our time on the high-value activities that keep us moving forwards.

We can also drop tasks that contribute little.

Figure 1 – The Action Priority Matrix

Action Priority Matrix Diagram


To use the matrix, you score tasks based firstly on their impact and secondly on the effort needed to complete them.

You then use your scores to plot these activities in one of four quadrants...

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