Is it urgent or important?


by Marcia Francois ======================================================

Since we’ve been revisiting time principles, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about URGENT and IMPORTANT.

URGENT refers to a time deadline.

IMPORTANT means it is high value.

Every day things come across our path that are of low or high importance, and low and high urgency.

Grab a piece of paper and draw a big square. Now draw a line down and another across. You should now have 4 smaller squares.

Along the top, write High Value and Low Value. And along the left-hand side, write Deadline and No Deadline.

Basically, you want to always focus your time in the blocks on the left.

The top block is high value AND high urgency, which means it must get done NOW and it is VERY important. I like to think of client work in this block. Clients are why most of us are in business and there are usually deadlines attached. If you’ve ever bought a product of mine, you’ll know that you’re redirected to a page telling you I have a 24-hour turnaround time. Private 1:1 clients know that I’ve committed to ALWAYS respond to emails within 24 – 48 hours.

The block below that is HIGH value but LOW urgency and it is here that you need to focus if you’re ever going to move towards your goals. Why?

Nobody is standing over my head saying “you need to work on an email teleseminar” but I know that if I want to reach MY goal of running x number of live teleseminars this year, I need to MAKE TIME to do that.

And it’s EXACTLY the same for you.

Whether your goal is to improve your fitness levels, get your home organised or have 3 hours of free time every week, you’re going to have to put some work into that quadrant.

That’s if you want to reach your goals.

I don’t even like to bother with the other two quadrants but I know that’s going to drive some of you crazy 😉 so let me just give you some email examples –

Low value tasks with a deadline are things like “send this email to 10 people within the next hour”. They have absolutely no value and the deadline is usually imposed by other people. Most interruptions also fall into this block.

Low value tasks with NO deadline are emails with jokes, funny pictures and the like. My suggestion is to get these out of your inbox permanently as they disrupt your focus and waste your time!

This week’s challenge is to focus on the top two quadrants and only do tasks that fit into those blocks.

• Bonus – really step it up by making sure that you definitely get AT LEAST one task in the “goals” quadrant done every day.

Until next time…

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Marcia Francois is a time management and organising coach who empowers small business owners and other busy people to organise their time, space, business and life. Visit for your free e-book, 100 Surefire Ways To Organise Your Busy Life, and the rest of your Organising Success Pack.