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How to Focus on Important Tasks

  • Posted on May 29, 2018


Habit one: Be Proactive is about understanding that you and you alone are responsible for your life. Others may throw obstacles in your way and life certainly has challenges. How you respond to those challenges is uniquely you. Habit two is about beginning with the end in mind. It’s about consciously deciding what you want to make of your life. This comes in two parts. The first part is defining your vision and creating a personal mission statement. The second part requires action on your part to make your vision happen. That is what habit three is about. Habit three is about “Putting First Things First”.

Before taking action, make sure you are taking action on the right things. That’s much more than getting to work on time and doing what is on your action item list. Whether it’s your personal life or work life, your mission statement should be your guiding light. Now, it’s time to take the actions that will fulfill your mission statement.


What’s Urgent is Not Always What’s Important


You should question yourself often about if you are working on the correct tasks. Our lives are composed of many important tasks and many urgent tasks. There are also activities that are not urgent and activities that are not important. How you define if a task is important or urgent should be defined from your principles and mission statement from habit two.


7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Time Matrix


Matters that are important and urgent are highly visible and demand action. Often these are someone else’s agenda. The matter is important to the other person and they’re insistence that it be taken care of gives it the illusion that it is urgent for your to get it done. Here is where you need to be careful that you spend your time wisely and not doing the urgent bidding of others. Of course, if it’s your boss, you may have to take care of it to collect a paycheck. Otherwise, make sure that you are working on tasks and activities that are both important and urgent to you. These are the ones that should top your action list each week and each day.


A Secret to Being a Highly Effective Person

The bottom right box of important but not urgent activities is what separates highly effective people from less effective people. These are activities and projects that while important, they’re not urgent. These are easy to postpone although they have an important role in your life mission and the person you want to become. It’s when we are constantly saying ‘yes’ to the urgent and important that we often say ‘no’ to the important but not urgent.

A ringing telephone often seems urgent but when you answer, it’s just a friend checking in or a solicitor. The telephone call isn’t important to take. Instead of talking on the phone for 15 minutes, you could be honing your skills as a better parent or reviewing your mission statement or something else on your important but not urgent list.


How to Find Time for the Important but Not Urgent

A good way to become better at working on the important but not urgent tasks is by making sure these are included on a weekly and daily action list. When you make an effort to better organize your time and seek out the important but not urgent things that you should be doing, your personal effectiveness increases significantly. By not spending time on the not important but urgent issues you’ll find that you have more time for the important but not urgent. These can be projects like fine-tuning your personal mission statement, strengthening relationships with those that are important to you, and taking preventive action that prevents crisis from popping up in your life to become important and urgent issues.

When you take proactive action to better define what is important to someone else but not important to you and you better prioritize what is important to you but not urgent, you gain the ability to put more work into everything you have identified in your mission statement. Not only is that a stepping stone to becoming a highly effective person but that removes much of the confusion and chaos that many people have in their lives from not working on the correct objectives.


Please leave a comment if this article was helpful or if you have a question.

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