Merrill Covey Matrix

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  • 1 hour

Players (5..8 recommended):

  • Project manager or facilitator
  • Internal team, partners, or customers


  • internet access
  • a to-do list

The goal of this activity — based on A. Roger Merrill, Rebecca R. Merrill, and Steven Covey’s description in their book First Things First — is to prioritize your to-do list in a way that helps you plan ahead and work efficiently.

Clicking on the image to the right will start an “instant play” game at Here, this 2×2 matrix will be used as the “game board,” and will help you organize the urgency and importance of your tasks. Each cell has a different significance:

  • Cell 1: Urgent, important – these tasks should be at the top of your to-do list
  • Cell 2: Not urgent, important – these items are likely to be neglected, but are necessary for long-term success. Set aside time each week to focus on these in order to be more productive. This cell is highlighted to remind you of its significance.
  • Cell 3: Urgent, not important – these tasks suck your time and are often the result of poor-planning. They should be minimized or eliminated.
  • Cell 4: Not urgent, not important – these items are trivial time-wasters that should be eliminated


There will be two different icons that players can drag onto the chart and describe to represent the tasks:

  • Green squares – priority tasks that require attention
  • Red square – tasks to minimize/eliminate

All moves can be seen in real time by each participant, so everyone can edit the positions and descriptions of the icons. Also, the integrated chat facility allows you and your players to collaborate to form the most efficient to-do list.

Key Points:
When it comes to our to-do lists, we tend to focus on urgent items while disregarding the importance of planning for tasks that are necessary to reach our overall goal. This negligence leads to even more stress in the long run, as everything will eventually become urgent if not prepared for. Play Merrill Covey Matrix to identify the purpose and value of your tasks and to minimize or eliminate time-wasters. Plan ahead to avoid busy work and to accomplish your goal in a productive manner.

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