In the creative industry, we often find ourselves in a situation where we are managing urgency and importance at the same time. In the end, we are left to undermine our long term objectives at the expense of giving way too much priority to the ‘’urgent’’ matters that arise with people around us. Need I mention that letting urgent matters consume your time, will sabotage progress on the important things? No? Okay.
Well, when something is urgent, we rush to do it. When it is important, we prioritize it. It is important to note that the important projects require time and mental loyalty to complete, but if we keep prioritizing the former, it will interfere with our long-term objectives.
We have goals that are important to us, and then have day-to-day problems that require urgent solutions. Most of the time, our tendency is to stop and try to focus on ‘’fixing’’. Should we just let everything that is important suffer at the mercy of urgent tasks? In the end, the person who will get things done is the one that is able to multi-manage importance and urgency. Here’s how..
What doesn’t make the cut?
First of all, compromise is a necessity. You will ultimately have to narrow your list of important items to just a few specific things alongside other projects that require everyday attention. The most important use of this list is to recognize what’s NOT on it. When urgent matters come up, the “important” stuff you are working on that didn’t make the list should be dropped.
Compartmentalize urgent matters immediately
When urgent matters arise, we tend to dwell on them and not act immediately. Dwelling takes time and distracts us from resolving the urgent items and returning to the important stuff. When it comes to urgency, strive for a bias-to-action.
Delegate Urgent Items
Despite how medial an urgent item might be, we have a desire to handle it ourselves. Challenge yourself to delegate urgent items to others. Urgent does not mean complex.
Take advantage of “windows of non-stimulation.”
Late nights and early mornings are precious opportunities to make progress on important items with little risk of urgent matters popping up.