Urgent vs. Important

Posted on: August 9, 2022

Many businesses slow down during the summer months, and that makes it a great time to work on things that are important, without the distraction of urgencies.

The distinction between urgent and important is best know as tenants of the Eisenhower Matrix. The former President of the United States was a very accomplished leader in the military prior to running for office. He was particularly known for his organizational skills and ability to effectively manage myriad responsibilities.

The Eisenhower Matrix combines urgency and importance into four categories:

  1. Important and Urgent
  2. Important but Not Urgent
  3. Urgent but Not Important
  4. Not Urgent and Not Important

Anything that falls into the last category, doesn’t need to be done at all; in fact, should simply be deleted from any to do list.

While category #1 is likely where you’ll focus day to day, some will argue that category #2 is where a manager or business owner should be spending most of their time. Long-term goals, strategic plans, and projects that advance those goals and plans, are the things that are going to lead to continuous success.

The matrix is a great tool for sorting out a long list of tasks, deciding which can be delegated (#3), which need a scheduled time (#2), and what you’re not going to do at all (#4).

So, if you’re having a slow summer and want to do something productive, take some time with things in #2 – long term planning, reviewing project progress, researching new equipment or techniques that could save you money over time, etc. And try not to get distracted by issues that are not important, urgent or not.

Then again, you could just go on vacation which for some is important.