distinguishing between what’s urgent and what’s important is equally vital to productivity and efficiency.
To the uninitiated, it may not seem as though there is that much of a difference between the two, but, trust us, there is! Just because something is urgent, that doesn’t necessarily make it important - Stuart Ruthven
One question to ask yourself when deciding whether a task is important is to ask yourself whether not doing it would actively risk your strategy. If the answer is yes, then that task is extremely important.
Another way of looking at it is to think of it as the difference between being in responsive mode (when you focus on important tasks) and reactive mode (when you focus only on what’s urgent).
It is harder than you might imagine to feel great about a day full of fire-fighting, reactive mode. In the short term you may well feel you have got a lot done - but longer term this does feel hollow and the true satisfaction comes from fire-prevention, responding and planing for future outcomes.
There are essentially four squares in the matrix, as follows:
Stephen Covey says the boxes can also be classified in this way:
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