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How to prioritize the urgent versus the important

Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” 

This principle is said to be how he organized his work and priorities. Let that sink in for a few minutes…you KNOW this concept is soooo true.
When it comes to prioritizing your workflow, it’s best to identify urgent work versus important work. There IS a difference. 

Let me break this down for you. 

Important activities have an outcome that leads to achieving goals. Urgent activities demand immediate attention and are usually associated with achieving someone else’s goals. 

Urgent work is often what we concentrate on and it demands attention because the consequences of not dealing with it are immediate. 

When you’re prioritizing, get clear on what is urgent versus important. I’ve found myself in a former life focusing on items that seemed to be “urgent,” but really was more of an on-going fire drill with no clear-cut plan or decision making taking place…and ultimately a huge time waster. I’m certain you have been there done that too.

I tend to think about it like this: 

What is the highest and best use of your time? 

If you’re the leader, you don’t need to spend time picking up t-shirts for a company event. Delegate this to an administrative staff person. You should be spending your time working on marketing or the strategies required to get clients TO your event. 

Reflect on your priorities and workload  Think about the work you do and how it aligns with your overall vision of what you ultimately want to accomplish. Are you doing the things that align to your vision or not?

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