Action Priority Matrix Template

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Table of contents

Want to benefit from the Action Priority Matrix? This is a tool coaches can use to get their desired outcomes from clients. With this tool, you can determine how to complete the project. 

A coach can introduce it to their clients to help them streamline their work or as a way to understand their client’s expectations. With a matrix, you can boost productivity, get higher results in lesser time, and keep yourself motivated. Read on to learn more about the Action Priority Matrix. 

What is an Action Priority Matrix?

The Action Priority Matrix is an excellent productivity tool for executives, leadership, small business coaches, and career toolboxes. This diagram helps coaches determine the order and importance of tasks. 

The coaches can create the matrix by using two components. They need to add a graph that measures efforts on tasks along the x-axis and its impacts on the y-axis. The second component is the boxes on the graph. You need to create four boxes on the graph, ensuring two stacks are on top of the other two. After this, you will get the finished diagram that you can use to plot your initiatives. 

With this, coaches can determine whether their efforts are low effort and high impact, high effort and low impact, low effort and low impact, and high effort and high impact. This can help you prioritize tasks that are important to get better results. 

How to Use Action Priority Matrix in Your Coaching Practice?

The coaches can help their clients to put effort and energy into projects and activities that truly need their attention. This can help wonders for your clients, as they can boost their productivity, reduce the risk of errors and mistakes in tasks, and don’t have to lose anything while chasing the best for them. 

Additionally, you can use the matrix to understand your client’s expectations and needs. With this approach, you can create an effective plan to support your clients in whatever help they need. Coaches can use this technique to improve their services and attract more people, leading to higher sales. 

If you need help and want to learn the best ways to use Action Priority Matrix for your clients, you can sign up for a free trial to Bonsai. We are the leading coaching business management platform with the knowledge, expertise, and tools to bring coaches on the right track and give them techniques to help their clients. So, you can contact us if you need Action Priority Matrix or any help with that. 

How to Create an Action Priority Matrix?

 Action Priority Matrix might seem simple, but it can empower coaches to offer quality services and satisfy their clients. With it, your job will get a little simpler and streamlined with this tool. Here are the steps to practice the matrix in your daily coaching sessions. 

Step 1: List All Tasks

Create a list of activities or tasks your team or client needs to complete. You can choose small to bigger projects- whatever is important for you and your clients. Also, don’t list your tasks in a particular order; collaborate with your team to learn any additional tasks you need to add. 

Incorporating every task in your list will help you ensure to complete every task and get the high-quality outcomes that you are expecting to get. For instance, if you leverage the Action Priority Matrix for a software development project, each task should revolve around the development project. You can include everything in the list from starting the project to its end to create a perfect list. 

Step 2: Categorize Tasks

The next step you need to do is to categorize your tasks based on their importance. You need to use the following categories.

Quick Wins

 You need to add activities and tasks in this category which can cause high impact but need less effort. This will give you a list of things you can do easily and help you motivate yourself by giving you excellent results.   For instance, a software development project team needs to create planning to gain the desired results.  

Major Projects

You surely have something on your list that requires effort but can create a high impact. These tasks are usually challenging to complete but give the much-needed boost to see your team’s success. Let’s take the example of a development project; your team needs to do the coding to make the plan come true. 


These are the tasks that require less effort and have low impact. While they might not bigger change, they can help you achieve your goals. Also, these tiny steps help you perform bigger things that truly matter. For instance, you might need to do graphic work for the project. 

Thankless Tasks

Though this term is a bit unique, they are the least important. Usually, coaches prefer to complete this task in the end because of their lower impact, but they need to put in a higher effort. For instance, a software development project needs to be sent to the client in a particular format. 

Step 3: Assign Priority Levels

You need to assign the priority levels of the tasks. How do you and your team want to prioritize and assign the tasks and activities you have listed? There is no rule on how you can prioritize every task. 

Should you immediately begin the major tasks or opt for the quick wins? Should you complete fill-in projects? How many resources do you need to assign for the thankless tasks? You need to consider several things to prioritize your lists.  

If completing a bigger project will require you to use all your development resources. But they can offer you a higher impact and helps to achieve your goal; you may need to choose this task. However, if you achieve your goals with things that require lower effort, you can keep them first on the priority lists. 

Step 4: Execute Tasks

When you categorize and prioritize your tasks and projects, you can start with things higher on your list. You can focus on lower-effort and high-impact projects first based on your work style. You can also adjust the list as the project progresses based on the results you are getting and changes in planning or needs. 

For instance, a task requiring high effort and low impact might become important as you go near the end of the project. Something like backing up files, clerical tasks, or reviewing the planning might become more important as the project progresses. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Action Priority Matrix requires the coach to ask themselves what tasks are important and which can wait for a while. You need to be honest and have clear visions to do that. This tool primarily depends on two factors urgency and importance. 

But many people fail to estimate the tasks’ importance and urgency, making it hard for them to categorize projects according to the four categories. For this, it’s important to take your time and understand every task to learn its impact on your goal to make informed decisions. 

Besides that, some people also make the mistake of not adding all their activities, projects, and tasks to their prepared list. They believe that there is no comparison between them and that it would be unfair to categorize them with the same criteria. However, you should add the smallest to most important tasks in the list- anything related to your project. This help coaches avoid distracting and focusing on the less important thing that can be done later. 

Benefits of Using an Action Priority Matrix

 Here are the advantages of using a matrix for your coaching practices. 

  • It brings meaning and clarity to an unordered list of tasks.
  • It can help you streamline the coaching process.
  • It makes it easier to achieve goals.
  • It’s the best antidote to analysis paralysis. 
  • It makes the entire project seamless to achieve. 

Action Priority Matrix can also give you direction. For instance, if a team cannot complete a task in a specific time and they are short on time, they can start doing all the fill-in tasks. They might give them the results they are looking for. However, offer motivation and hope that they can do the work. 


In a nutshell, Action Priority Matrix is key to achieving success. A coach can use it to help their team or individual clients. It will give clarity to the coach and help him or her to focus on the more important thing. If you need more help with the matrix, you can sign up for a free trial with Bonsai. We can offer you this amazing tool and help you use it. 

What should I do if a task does not fit into the categories?

It will always fit in the category. You need to brainstorm how much energy it needs and what effects it can cause on your project. 

How do I stay motivated to complete tasks with a lower priority level?

You need to keep in mind that every task can take you toward your aim. Just perform the task by keeping success in mind. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about this template.

What is the difference between an Action Priority Matrix and a To-Do list?

 A to-do list is a simple list that contains all types of things you need to do in a day, week, or month. In the case of the Action Priority Matrix, you can categorize the tasks based on their urgency and importance so that you can start to make a difference from the begging and streamline your project.

How do I determine the priority level of a task?

It depends on your needs and requirements. If you want to make less effort in the begging and need better results, you may need to keep quick wins first on the priority list. Or, if you want to take things slower, you can go with the fill-ins.

How often should I update my Action Priority Matrix?

You should review it every week to look for important changes. Also, update the matrix whenever you need it.

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