A Brief History of Time Management

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Dwight D. Eisenhower

1950s BlackBerry-wielding Barack Obama wasn’t the first U.S. President whose productivity regimen inspired public fascination. More than 50 years earlier Dwight David Eisenhower observed, “The more important an item, the less likely it is urgent, and the more urgent an item, the less likely it is important.” Eisenhower’s oft-imitated system of personal time-management divided tasks into four categories. Urgent-important items were dealt with immediately. Urgent-unimportant items were delegated. Not urgent-important items were entered into a calendar. Not urgent-unimportant items were minimized or eliminated.