Prioritization matrix template

Take the guesswork out of task prioritization by creating a prioritization matrix template in Asana. Prioritize your work by business impact and expected effort, so you can be confident you’re focusing on the most important work.

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Knowing how to tackle tasks isn’t always easy. Where should you start? How can you make sure you’re focusing on important tasks first? These questions (among others) are likely to come up when you're prioritizing tasks—if you don’t know how to answer them, you could end up wasting time on the wrong work. 

A prioritization matrix template can help streamline your decision-making. By creating one in Asana, you can easily organize tasks by effort and business impact—and create an action plan that prioritizes your most important work. 

What is a prioritization matrix?

A prioritization matrix (also known as a “priority matrix”) is a task management tool used to categorize tasks by impact and effort. By letting you see the business impact and total required effort of each to-do, a prioritization matrix helps you determine which items to tackle first—so you can be confident you’re always focusing on the right work.

Prioritization matrices can be simple or complex, depending on the number of tasks. A basic priority matrix can be split up into the following categories:

  • High impact and low effort work: Do now

  • High impact and high effort work: Do next 

  • Low impact and low effort work: Do later 

  • Low impact and high effort work: Don’t do 

If you’re unsure what task to tackle first—or where work should fit in a schedule—a prioritization matrix helps you decide on a plan of action.  

What is a prioritization matrix template?

A prioritization matrix template is a reusable resource that enables you to quickly prioritize your to-do list. Since the template is duplicatable, you don’t have to waste time re-creating a new template at the beginning of every day, week, or month. Instead, simply copy the template, add your tasks, and start prioritizing. 

What are the benefits of a prioritization matrix template?

A digital prioritization matrix template makes it easy for you to prioritize your work based on impact and effort. Paired with features like color-coded custom tags and different views, a prioritization matrix template makes it easy for you to see what’s coming next.

With a digital prioritization matrix template, you can:

  • Determine the most high-impact work for your team and organization.

  • Easily add tasks to your matrix, and drag and drop tasks to different sections as priorities change. 

  • Ensure you’re correctly allocating resources and focusing on the work that provides the most business benefit. 

  • Remove the upfront work of creating a template from scratch every day or week.  

  • Share your matrix with project stakeholders, so everyone is on the same page with how you’re prioritizing work.

  • Set start dates for tasks you’ve deprioritized. 

  • Assign team members to delegate prioritized work. 

  • Create a repeatable framework for other teams to use, so everyone across the organization can prioritize their most high-impact work.

How do you use a prioritization matrix template?

A simple prioritization matrix template will help you create an action plan based on the level of effort required for each task, and the impact that task will have on the business.

To start, add two custom tags to the template—one for the effort required to complete each task and one for the impact the task completion will have on the business. This could look like:

  • High impact and low effort

  • High impact and high effort 

  • Low impact and low effort 

  • Low impact and high effort 

Next, create sections in your template that signify the recommended action for each task based on the effort and impact. For example:

  • Do now: This section is for high impact, low effort tasks that will greatly benefit the business without taking up much of your time. For example, signing new hire documents.

  • Do next: This section is for high impact, high effort tasks—tasks that require a lot of time, but are also very important for the business. For example, creating a client strategy proposal.

  • Do later: This section is for low impact and low effort work, which encompasses work that isn't as impactful on the organization but is still worth doing since it also doesn’t take much time. For example, organizing your client contact list.

  • Don’t do: This section is for low impact, high effort work—work that doesn’t have much of an impact on the business and takes up a lot of your time. For example, re-proofreading a strategic messaging document that’s already been approved by the creative department.  

Once you’ve pre-built your template with these custom tags and sections, it’s easy to use. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Make a copy of your basic prioritization matrix template.

  2. Rename your template (for example, “Prioritization matrix for the week of January 9”).

  3. Add all appropriate tasks to the template. 

  4. Assign custom tags to each task indicating the effort and impact. 

  5. Drag and drop your tasks into the appropriate section (do now, do next, do later, don’t do). 

  6. Add start dates and team members to each task, where applicable. 

Asana’s integrated features and apps 

Asana easily integrates with your existing business tools to make cross-team collaboration easier. Plus, our integrated features—such as custom fields and multiple project views—let you tailor the prioritization matrix template to meet your specific needs.

Integrated features

  1. Board View. Board View is a Kanban board-style view that displays your project’s information in columns. Columns are typically organized by work status (like To Do, Doing, and Done) but you can adjust column titles depending on your project needs. Within each column, tasks are displayed as cards, with a variety of associated information including task title, due date, and custom fields. Track work as it moves through stages and get at-a-glance insight into where your project stands.

  2. Custom fields. Custom fields are the best way to tag, sort, and filter work. Create unique custom fields for any information you need to track—from priority and status to email or phone number. Use custom fields to sort and schedule your to-dos so you know what to work on first. Plus, share custom fields across tasks and projects to ensure consistency across your organization. 

  3. Start dates. Sometimes you don’t just need to track when a to-do is due—you also need to know when you should start working on it. Start times and dates give your team members a clear sense of how long each task should take to complete. Use start dates to set, track, and manage work to align your team's objectives and prevent dependencies from falling through the cracks. 

  4. Adding tasks to multiple projects. The nature of work is cross-functional. Teams need to be able to work effectively across departments. But if each department has their own filing system, work gets stalled and siloed. Asana makes it easy to track and manage tasks across multiple projects. This doesn't just reduce duplicative work and increase cross-team visibility. It also helps your team see tasks in context, view who’s working on what, and keep your team and tasks connected.

Recommended apps

  1. Slack. Turn ideas, work requests, and action items from Slack into trackable tasks and comments in Asana. Go from quick questions and action items to tasks with assignees and due dates. Easily capture work so requests and to-dos don’t get lost in Slack. 

  2. Google Workplace. Attach files directly to tasks in Asana with the Google Workplace file chooser, which is built into the Asana task pane. Easily attach any My Drive file with just a few clicks.

  3. Gmail. With the Asana for Gmail integration, you can create Asana tasks directly from your Gmail inbox. Any tasks you create from Gmail will automatically include the context from your email, so you never miss a beat. Need to refer to an Asana task while composing an email? Instead of opening Asana, use the Asana for Gmail add-on to simply search for that task directly from your Gmail inbox. 

  4. Outlook. As action items come in via email, like reviewing work from your agency or a request for design assets from a partner, you can now create tasks for them in Asana right from Outlook. You can then assign the new task to yourself or a teammate, set a due date, and add it to a project so it’s connected to other relevant work. 

FAQs

What is a prioritization matrix template?

A prioritization matrix template is a reusable resource used to prioritize tasks by the level of effort required and their impact on the organization. You can use a prioritization matrix template to organize tasks into different sections—do now, do next, do later, and don’t do—to ensure you’re focusing on the right work. 

When should I use a prioritization matrix template?

Prioritization matrix templates are helpful when you want to sort through tasks or initiatives to determine which to focus on (and in what order). Prioritization matrix templates are especially useful when you’re looking to better manage your time, map out workflows, or create team schedules. 

What are the benefits of using a prioritization matrix template?

Prioritization matrix templates take the guesswork out of prioritizing work, so you can feel confident you’re focusing on the work that matters most to the business. Plus, since they’re duplicatable, they remove the busywork of creating new matrices from scratch. 

What’s the difference between a prioritization matrix and an Eisenhower matrix?

An Eisenhower matrix is a time management tool that sorts tasks by urgency and importance. With an Eisenhower matrix, you sort tasks into four sections: do, schedule, delegate, delete. A priority matrix template, on the other hand, gives you a clearer picture of when to do tasks (now, next, later, never) versus what to do with them. 

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