In 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Franklin Covey talks about the idea of balancing urgent tasks with the truly important ones, an idea that Charles Hummel also wrote about in the 1960s in Tyranny of the Urgent. It is about time management. How to organize your day so that the most important projects get done.
This grid was created based on these principles, and I’ve reproduced it in the classic Life Your Way style for you! Take some time to think about the things on your to-do list and classify them according to urgency and importance:
The printable time management sheet is divided into four sections.
- Urgent and important: Crises, Project Deadlines
- Important but not urgent: Planning, relationships, projects, opportunities
- Urgent but not important: Interruptions, distractions, spills, messes
- Not urgent and not important: Time wasters, busy work, some recreation
For example, taking the trash to the curb may be urgent because the trashman comes at a scheduled time, but it’s not ultimately an important task. It still needs to be done, of course, but you need to ensure that you’re not spending all of your time on urgent-but-not-important tasks while the truly important ones are being undone.
On the other hand, rocking a fussy baby could be classified as urgent and important. It’s time-sensitive, and you’re also meeting your children’s needs.
But there’s a third category, the important-but-not-urgent tasks, that usually lay the foundation for future goals and accomplishments. These are the tasks that usually get pushed to the side, but — not to sound cliche — they’re often the most important. These include working toward personal and business goals as well as investing in relationships.
Classifying your tasks in this way will help you make decisions about how you’re spending your time and better prioritize the things on your to-do list.
Have you ever classified your to-do lists in this way? What urgent tasks take up too much of your time? What important tasks would you like to