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Urgent vs Important – Prioritize Your Work

Leaders often have to prioritize between those important tasks and urgent tasks. So, you can use this framework to prioritize your work and the more you use it, the more you exercise it, the more it will become part of your muscle memory and it will come naturally to you. When you think about this framework, think about important as ‘strategic’ and think about urgent as ‘immediate’. 

So, to apply this framework, draw a quadrant while marking the lower axis important and the left axis urgent. (Watch the video for more clarity on the structure and working of the framework.) 

So, if the task is important and not urgent, it is recommended that you work on that. It means the task is low on urgency, and so you have to work on that because it is strategic and it has a lot of value. 

Now the next part. Let’s say it is urgent, it is required immediately, and it’s not important. In this case, it is recommended that you either delegate it or get some help with it, do it later, or in some rare cases, not do it at all. 

For example, let’s say, the strategic work is creating and sending out a sales plan by Friday versus the urgent work is sending out your weekly status report by Friday. Obviously the sales plan is more important and more strategic, so that has to be the priority. On the other hand, the status update, you may want to check if you can delegate it to some other team member or if you don’t have a team under you, you can maybe get some help from your peers or colleagues for that status report. Or you can ask for a onetime delayed submission off your status report. 

But using a tool like this really gives you the Mindshare. And it really gives you the focus to work on your most strategic and more important things that are going to move the needle versus the most immediate things, the urgent things that are not going to move the needle.