Urgency vs. Importance

If you feel like categorizing your tasks using the ABC method isn’t for you, then you can try the urgency vs. importance method. First, you need a list of your tasks for example in the form of a to do list or some other preferred format. Then, you need to answer the question “What is important and what is not, and what is urgent and what is not?”

First think about importance. Important tasks lead to an outcome that help you achieve your goals that are important for your work or for your personal life. They might not have a looming deadline or might not be time consuming but they do have an impact on your life. What you consider to be important might not be important for someone else and vice versa.

Then think about urgency. Urgent tasks demand immediate attention and have a clear and approaching deadline. Not dealing with urgent tasks have consequences but they might not impact your life that much.

Now classify your tasks so that you categorize both importance and urgency in the matrix below.

Then start by completing the important AND urgent tasks. After that, move on to the important but not urgent tasks and decide when you are going to complete them. The urgent but not important tasks are tasks that you might be able to delegate or do at a later and more convenient time. Lastly, the neither urgent nor important tasks are tasks that you could easily delete from you schedule. But remember that self-care and recovery are important task!

References and more reading:

Covey, S. (1987). The seven habits of highly effective people. New York: Fireside.