Do you have anything on your to-do list that you never seem to get to? A task you would complete if you only had 'more time'?

The truth is, we'll never get more time.

But we can make better use of the time we do have.

The key is making sure we spend more of our time on important tasks and spend less time on things that are unimportant but feel urgent.

Photo by Harry Sandhu on Unsplash

What Are Urgent Tasks?

Urgent tasks are things that feel like they need to get done now or have time pressure.

This could be:

  • A phone call. It's ringing now, I need to answer it!

  • My house is on fire. It's going to burn down! We need to put it out!

  • Rent is due tomorrow. I need to pay my landlord!

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Something that is not urgent can be done at any time.

For example: exercising, re-organizing your kitchen, or making a plan for your new business idea.

Quiz

Which of these tasks would be considered urgent?

What Makes Tasks Important?

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Important tasks bring us closer to our goals. Since we have different goals, what's important to each of us can be different.

For example, if your goal was to get a job promotion, asking your boss for feedback would be very important.

Or, if your goal was to have a beautiful vegetable garden, then spending time picking weeds would be important to you.

But, if these aren't your goals, these tasks may not be important to you at all.

Is It Important? Or Just Urgent?

Because of the time pressure of urgent tasks, we might feel like we have to do them now.

But, if we're not careful, we can spend all of our time completing urgent tasks that don't bring us any closer to our goals.

To make the most of your time:

  1. Focus your time on the tasks that are urgent and important.

  2. Then, set aside time to work on tasks that are important but not urgent.

  3. If you have time remaining, you can address tasks that are urgent and less important.

Putting time into important but not urgent tasks (#2) is the key to longterm success.

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Consider This

Chet has a goal to open an online business. There are lots of things on his to-do list:

  • Talk to his friend about their online business and get advice

  • Ask his customers about their needs

  • Register for an "Online Business" course before the deadline

  • Do research on other online businesses

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He's not sure what task he should start with. Consider: which of these tasks is both urgent and important. That's what Chet should do first.

Quiz

What task should Chet do first?

Summary

We'll never have more than 24 hours in a day, but we can use our time more carefully to better reach our goals.

Today, look at your to-do list. For each item, ask yourself:

Is it important? Is it urgent?

Then re-order your list. At the end of the week, check in. Did you feel like you made better use of your time?

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This Byte has been authored by

SZ

Sam Zimmer

Rumie Director of Learning