The “Eisenhower Decision Matrix” 

During the summer, things come up every day that require immediate attention and answers. However, even if all these things are important, they are not always urgent. To make it through the summer, we can’t get burned out in a continuous state of urgency. When everything is equally urgent, nothing is – but how do we differentiate? 

The “Eisenhower Decision Matrix” divides tasks into 4 quadrants to help distinguish the level of urgency and importance. There’s a free app and PDF printables you can try at

For many camp pros who are used to managing and tackling any task, box 3 seems to be the most difficult. Distinguishing which urgent tasks can be completed by someone else feels tricky, but can free up time for you to complete things in boxes 1 & 2. Lunch needs to be made – but can someone other than you help cook? The trip going out right now forgot a first aid kit – can someone else go get one? Camp directors are used to doing it all, but sometimes need reminders that they don’t have to be the ones doing each task. 

When something comes up at camp, one way to stop the initial stress response it to take a step back and get some perspective: 

  1. Take a breath
  2. Acknowledge the importance of the concern/incident. Let the person bringing it to your attention feel seen and heard.
  3. Plan a time to follow up/fix it. “Can I meet you at the Dining Hall in fifteen minutes?” “Can I give you a call back before dinner?” “Can we repair this during session break?”
  4. Write it down – this serves as a reminder, as well as documentation to look back on after the summer (Sometimes I’ll even write down already completed tasks just to cross them off and see the things I accomplished that day). 

Here’s to avoiding the urgency trap and doing more things that are important to us and to camp!

Annie Pharr Ramsbotham

Falling Creek Camp