Urgent vs. Important

28 April 2023

Urgent vs. Important

... and why allowing yourself to be swept along the urgent conveyor belt might not end so well.

Urgent & important do not mean the same thing: - Urgent implies an imminent deadline by which something has to be done - Important means this is a significant priority, something that really matters – at work or in life generally - It’s like having 2 conveyor belts: one –‘ the urgency belt’ - delivers what is urgent, item after item.

The second, separate belt, delivers what is important, potentially in priority order. And, like separate conveyor belts, they do not feed each other; there is no guarantee that what is urgent is also important, or that what is important is also urgent. So everyone has to decide which belt they are on: urgency or importance. And often this decision is not made consciously – and that can have serious consequences. So if you prioritise by urgent, the only way important tasks get done is if, somehow, they fall onto, or are placed onto, the urgent line.

At work certainly, and often in life generally, we tend to be on the urgency belt. We focus on what is urgent – and often at a significant cost to what is, or we say is, important…

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