Saji Ijiyemi1 has a great way to capture the concept of urgent v important. Too often we’re wrapped up in being busy and so not accomplishing our goals. We get to the end of the day and feel we’ve not accomplished what we hoped to during the day, and yet we’ve been busy the entire time.
We need to learn to better separate the important from the urgent. Urgent things tend to get our attention because they are immediate, and so we often neglect the important issues as a result – the very issues that can make, or break, our long-term success.
Stephen Covey proposed The Eisenhower2 Decision Matrix in his book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” The principle here was to help people make decisions based on importance and urgency, using a 4-quadrant system:
- Necessary – things that are both Urgent and Important (DO these ASAP)
- Quality – these are Important but not so Urgent (PLAN to do them as soon as you can)
- Distraction – these are the items that are Urgent but not really Important (DELEGATE them wherever possible)
- Waste – items that are neither Urgent nor Important (ELIMINATE as much as possible)
Most of us, when analysing how we spend our time find it taken up with things that are Distractions, followed by those that are Necessary – in other words, the Urgent stuff. However, where we need to focus a lot more attention is on the Quality quadrant – delegate the Distractions, and Eliminate the Waste items.
Or, as Saji Ijiyemi suggests, we need to focus our efforts on our Business, not on Busyness.
#BusinessFitness #Productivity #Leadership #Excellence #Focus #GoalSetting #QOTW
1 Saji Ijiyemi, originally from Nigeria, and author of “Don’t Die Sitting” is a US-based success coach, professional speaker and motivator.
2 After US President & General Dwight D Eisenhower, renowned for his effectiveness, who said, “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.”
Some of my other recent short posts on productivity and effectiveness include: