Urgent or important?

I wanted to continue some of the thinking behind yesterday’s entry, where I stated that I now tend to plan my work according to its importance rather than its deadline.  To do this, I’ve adopted Stephen Covey’s urgent/important matrix.

urgent

OK, so there’s nothing new or amazingly insightful in adopting this well-established approach.  But that doesn’t mean there’s no value in it.

Planning on the basis of a task’s importance allows me to focus on my purpose and be intentional about what I prioritise.  These factors are key motivators for me, so I release more creativity and energy by working in this way.

After using this approach for a few weeks, I realised two things.

Firstly, the amount of truly urgent work was reducing.

Secondly, I came to recognise that I was using the ‘important’ axis for planning my work (weekly, monthly, quarterly) and the ‘urgent’ axis for preparing my daily to do list. This combination means that I feel more control over my workload, and I have some wiggle room if things get off track.

Yes, like any approach it requires a bit of effort to be effective, but it’s beginning to come to me more naturally, and I’m seeing some green shoots of productivity emerging.

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