Important vs. urgent tasks - Deepstash

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The secret to mastering your time is to systematically focus on importance and suppress urgency

Important vs. urgent tasks

  • Important tasks are things that contribute to your long-term mission, values, and goals.
  • Urgent tasks are tasks that have to be dealt with immediately: phone calls, urgent deadlines, and situations where you have to respond quickly.

Sometimes important tasks stare you right in the face, but you neglect them and respond to urgent but unimportant things.

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The secret to mastering your time is to systematically focus on importance and suppress urgency

The secret to mastering your time is to systematically focus on importance and suppress urgency

https://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-prioritize-between-important-and-urgent-tasks-2017-5

businessinsider.com

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Key Ideas

Oliver Emberton

Oliver Emberton

"The secret to mastering your time is to systematically focus on importance and suppress urgency."

Don't be available all the time

Time, not money, is your most valuable asset. Invest your asset:

  • Allocate time to each task you need to get done every day. 
  • Each task of the day should be attainable, realistic, and time-bound. And it should advance your goals for the day, week or month.
  • Don't get distracted by everything others expect you to do.

Stephen Covey

Stephen Covey

"You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage pleasantly, smilingly, and non-apologetically — to say  'no' to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger yes burning inside."

Being super connected

Modern technology has evolved to exploit our urgency addiction. You can be distracted simply by hearing or feeling your phone vibrate, even if you don't pick it up.

  • Try putting your phone out of sight (and touch) for uninterrupted productivity.
  • Turn off all your notifications. Choose to check these things when you take breaks.

Don't take on too much

If you get excited and take on too much, you'll be spending your energy all over the place.

Spend most of your time on the right things and the rest takes care of itself. It's not enough to just 'work hard'.

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Urgent ≠ Important

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Eliminate half-work at all costs

Examples of half-work:

  • You start writing a report but stop randomly to check your phone for no reason or to open up Facebook or Twitter.
  • You try out a new workout routine. Two days later, you read about another “new” fitness program and try a little bit of that. You make little progress in either program and so you start searching for something better.
  • Your mind wanders to your email inbox while you're on the phone with someone.
Do the most important thing first

Decisions and choices that you make throughout the day tend to drain your willpower. You're less likely to make a good decision at the end of the day than you are at the beginning.

If you do the most important thing first, then you’ll never have a day when you didn’t get something important done.

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Have one daily priority

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Make planning a habit

Some mornings we feel motivated to create a to-do list, but that is often the exception. We need to get things done, even when we feel disengaged.

Start by setting the alarm for your daily planning session at the same time every day. Tack your new daily planning session onto an existing habit like drinking your morning coffee.

Align your to-do list with goals
  1. Break down your big goals into daily tasks. You can't add "Get in shape" to your daily to-do list, but you can add "spend 30 minutes on my bike."
  2. Consider your week as a whole. You likely have multiple goals. Some goals benefit from daily activity, while working towards others a few times a week can create momentum.
  3. Add your have-to-do tasks last. We often fill our to-do lists with have-to-do tasks that crowd the whole day. Adding it last forces you to fit your have-to-do tasks around your goal tasks.

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Single Task

Switching between tasks can have damaging costs to our work and productivity.

Develop the habit of single-tasking by forcing your brain to concentrate on one task and one task only. Put your phone away, close all the browser windows and apps that you don’t need. Immerse yourself in this task. Only move to the next one when you’re done.

Brian Tracy
Brian Tracy

Time management is not a peripheral activity or skill. It is the core skill upon which everything else in life depends.” 

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