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Important vs. Urgent

Ever feel like there simply aren’t enough hours in the day? You’re not alone.

However, making the most of every single one of those hours you dedicate to work can help.

Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, outlines an easy way to help you prioritize your abundance of daily tasks.

Important vs. Urgent Chart

Here’s a key to help decode and use this tool yourself:

  • Important - Tasks that directly affect your overall goals.
  • Urgent - Tasks that require immediate attention. These don’t necessarily affect your goals, but maybe someone else’s.
  • Quadrant I - This quadrant is for assignments that you are given today that are due yesterday. It’s for emergencies, very hard deadline projects and putting out fires.
  • Quadrant II - These are things that will ultimately affect your long-term goals, but they do not need to be done right away. This includes strategic planning, preparing and training.
  • Quadrant III - Items in this category are things that need to be done but are not necessarily important. Examples include meetings, appointments and interruptions. 
  • Quadrant IV - These are obvious time suckers that aren’t needed but are often given attention. Examples include, but are not limited to, mindless internet surfing, watching TV, playing games on your phone, etc.

Okay, so now that you’ve got all of your tasks into quadrants, what’s next?

  • Certainly, Quadrant I responsibilities need to be taken care of ASAP.
  • Utilize most of your time on Quadrant II, with the long-term goal that it will prevent more tasks from turning into Quadrant I.
  • Quadrant III duties can be minimized or even eliminated, if possible. Don’t cancel any important emails though.
  • Quadrant IV are tasks that are not valuable. These should be eliminated during work hours. Binge-watch your favorite show later!

What are you waiting for? Go and maximize your time!

Tags: Tips


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