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BLOGUrgent vs. Important

by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Management, Planning, Professional DevelopmentTagged as: , ,

When a customer calls, do you rush to meet their needs? When you check into a hotel, do you expect prompt, courteous service? When you drive your car, do you always take the shortest routes – at the fastest speeds? And when you do a great job, do you want to be recognized for it – immediately?

We are a society looking for instant gratification. Unfortunately, not all things can – or should – happen instantly; some things take time.

There are many shorter-term demands on our time, both at work and at home. Our colleagues, prospects, clients, and suppliers all have expectations of us. Our families do too. We make promises to all of these people, and when we deliver, we enjoy a gratifying “thank you”, as well as the intrinsic satisfaction of a job well done.

But what of the longer-term commitments that we make; the ones that are easily deferred when short term priorities (and crises) get in the way? Is there a trick to balancing them out?

An effective approach is to simply schedule specific time, every day, to work on longer-term commitments. During this time, don’t take calls, emails, nor schedule meetings. Even if the time scheduled is only 20-30 minutes, it doesn’t take long for the minutes – and your accomplishments – to add up.


Of all of the items on your to-do list, choose one of them, and schedule it into a fixed, daily slot. And while your calendar is open, schedule some time a few months from now, to look back at the “important” progress you’ve made.

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