This post is important, not urgent

Last week was one of family occasions. I only had one work task to do in the week and it was tightly corralled to a particular day. I did all the prep for it in the previous week (unusually for me who likes to “wing it”) and left it alone. I didn’t blog, didn’t use twitter and I didn’t do anything “outbound”. Essentially I disabled my “transmit” button!

So now it’s a week later. Birthdays and  anniversaries have been celebrated, the sun is out and I’m back at my desk. Looks like no-one died, nothing caught fire and whilst the reading pile has backed up a bit, a weeks distance and reflection has enabled me to thin it out slightly anyway. Plenty of things which had “urgent” attached to them by the sender (or by me in my mind) actually weren’t urgent at all.

Which leaves me thinking about how we decide what is urgent and / or important. How often does someone ask you to do something urgently, except it is their urgent not yours, or it’s important to them but has no practical value to you? I guess you all remember a boss doing that to you, except it’s not just bosses who do this. We do it to each other all the time. It seems to me that most of our decision making around these priorities is done sub-consciously and so we can’t communicate it clearly to others leading to conflict with colleagues or indeed with self as we get torn between work and home, kids and partner……. and that’s before we add in all the distractions of the modern world, twitter, facebook, tumbler, cute videos on youtube etc etc.

So this weeks call to action is about being clear on what you need to prioritise, how you are coming to that decision and how will you share that knowledge with the important people in your life so that you can all work harmoniously.

Right, that’s all for now, I’m off to do today’s important tasks but do check in with me later either here via the comments or on Twitter

P.S. If you’re unsure where to start then take a look at this simple explanation of the Urgent / Important Matrix from the helpful people at Mindtools.


About Jon Bartlett

I'm a coach, blogging on things that occur to me, that I want to share and any other fun stuff I find lying around in the real world.
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2 Responses to This post is important, not urgent

  1. I find this gets a great reaction whenever I introduce in coaching or workshops – interesting history of the model too! Many people attribute it to Stephen Covey, but I was working with it in the 80’s – long before his first book came out in mid 90’s (The Mindtools article suggests Eisenhower was the originator!).

    About a week after sharing it in a personal effectiveness workshop I happened to walk past a participant’s desk on my way to a coaching session and there was the matrix on his PC screen – he was using it religiously and it was really working for him! Always good to know that the stuff you share works for people …

    I do need to remind myself to apply it sometimes when life gets a little overwhelming.

    Thanks for sharing your perspective on it Jon!

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