Always busy? Always in a mode of crisis? Your to-do lists are never ending and most don’t get resolved?
Looking back at the day you realized that most of the day was spent dwelling in your inbox responding to streams of email? Now, if checking email prevents you from getting other tasks done you are confusing important and urgent and draining away your energy.
“What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important.” – Dwight Eisenhower
In simple terms, an urgent task demands immediate action and an important task contributes to long-term goals like reaching career goals, having financial security and staying fit.
The distinction seems simple enough, and many confuse the two, The Eisenhower box maps out the main quadrants that seem like an easy enough distinction, however, we’re quick to muddle all up.
Let us analyze this model with a few examples in each quadrant:
Urgent and Important
- A crying baby
- A work crisis
- The rent payment
Important, yet not urgent
- Saving enough for the future
- Exercising sufficiently
- Sleeping for full recommmended hours a night
Not Important, but urgent
- A flight booking
- A deadline
Not Important and not urgent
- Watching a movie
- Checking Facebook
- Eating favorite cookies
If we have not worked out our list of ‘to do’s’ within this quadrant, the tasks can evolve into a looping mired circle and any enterprising projects will not get completed. You know the feeling when looking at the list and realize nothing was accomplished.
Many will infer that if you are always busy with ‘urgent’ matters you crowd out’ important but not urgent future goals. If you are working seventy hours a week, you might be withering away friendships, close family and decreasing your personal health.
Successful people with demanding jobs schedule important but not urgent tasks on their daily routine. Your number one on the ‘to-do’ list for today? 1. Take time to work on your personal urgent and important schedule.