Why the old ‘Urgent/Important’ principle isn’t working for you

A lot of people spend most of their time managing ‘issues’ or ‘situations. They react to other people’s priorities and feel completely drained of energy every day without accomplishing anything of real significance to them. As we’ve highlighted previously, time is fixed and distributed equally to everyone. But our choices separate the most productive people from everyone else.

Most of us have heard of the ‘four quadrant’ or ‘Important/Urgent’ approach to completing tasks. You split your To Do list into ‘Important’, ‘Urgent’, ‘Not Important’, ‘Not Urgent’ and then jump into the most important and urgent tasks first. Seems simply enough.

But what if that important urgent item is something that you find really draining? It feels heavy and you dread actually starting to work on it. Add to that Monday morning. And you’re not a morning person. Sounds appealing right? Wrong.

If the above situation sounds like you, I can almost guarantee the process of events that lead you into your Monday morning. You start thinking about what needs to be done around mid-day Sunday. You push the thoughts out of your head a few times until early Sunday evening when it starts to really get on your nerves. You may get a little cranky with the kids, snap at your spouse, jump on the laptop and play around with some emails to pass the time and ‘organise your week’. You go to bed thinking, ‘I should have started that piece of work tonight’ and more than likely don’t have a very restful nights sleep. The morning rolls round, you drag yourself out of bed and through the usual morning routine. On your way to work, you’re still chastising yourself because you didn’t do anything yesterday and now dread the thought of starting from scratch this morning. Once in the office, you stuff around with a few different things before actually starting on the ‘important, urgent’, which takes you all morning, if not the whole day to complete a task that really shouldn’t have taken more than an hour or two. Sound familiar?

Is there not an easier, more effective way?

Now lets think about option B. You consciously carve out an hour or two in your calendar for Monday afternoon. Its locked in and ready to go. You park the thought for the allocated time slot and enjoy the remainder of your Sunday. Without anxious thoughts, you have a restful nights sleep. You wake up going through the usual morning routine and get to work when you had planned. You ease your way into the morning, completing light tasks that don’t drain your energy but allow you to focus and create energy as you get into your day. By lunch you have refuelled and feel energised knowing you have a heavy afternoon but feel ready to attack it because you have scheduled the time for when you can focus and produce your best work. You cruise through the allotted time and complete the task within the time budgeted.

Same task and outcome required, two very different approaches. No two brains are built the same, hence we shouldn’t force them to work in the same way. Knowing where your pain points are and how to work more closely to your natural pace not only creates more productive time but reduces the amount of energy you are potentially wasting on unnecessary tasks. How would it feel to have an extra 1 hour of productive time each day, with less effort? How much extra profit would that be?

If you’re interested in finding out more, contact us now to chat further and take control of your productivity and profit.


If you’d like to find out more, join the conversation in our next open workshop.