Important or Urgent??

Another busy and fun week which included meeting with a new potential client for workshops, a cracking coaching session in Buxton, a trip to London to have lunch with my London client and sending off lots of emails to potential clients.

The pipeline of any business is the lifeblood of that business and is something which can be overlooked when we are very busy. This is something I had to be very aware of as I was working on my book at the same time as running my business. It is so easy to concentrate on the urgent things and forget about the important things.

Important or Urgent

This brings to mind a chapter I have in my book on Time Management and the Important Urgent grid. The overall principle is to concentrate on the Important things you have to achieve and not be high-jacked by the Urgent things shouting at you. It is so easy to do the urgent things all day long but at the end of that day it is difficult to identify anything worthwhile having been achieved.

The key is to always consider whether anything you are faced with is Important or Urgent. In some cases it will be both, in which case these have to be dealt with asap, and this is called Fire Fighting. This is where a lot of us spend most of our days. This is where the stress is, as everything we are dealing with is both Important and Urgent with a tight deadline.

The Key Principles

This place is section 1 of the grid called Important and Urgent and is one we have to deal with. Section 2 is called Important not Urgent where each task is important to you or your business but isn’t urgent. So you won’t be surprised that this is the section where very little activity takes place.

The 3rd area is called the Urgent not Important section and these are tasks which are shouting at you but are not Important in any way. Things like someone wanting you to get back to them with a question, or someone wanting to see you about something now. These can be very distracting and don’t help us towards our personal or business goals.

The 4th area of the grid is the Not Urgent and Not Important section where all the actions are none productive for example – checking Facebook, or Instagram, taking a walk, Skyping a friend, daydreaming, Tweeting etc. These are things we do when we want to get away from the pressure and can help a little with that, but overall they are time wasters.

Work on the Important

So our job is to see if we can start working on section 2 which is the Important not Urgent section. Examples here are: writing a book, sending out prospective emails to potential clients, sorting your website out, building your Twitter and Linkedin contacts, planning the next few months activities, planning your next day, marketing, writing this blog etc.

If you don’t do any of these things your business won’t suddenly collapse but over time it may. The key to this principle of Time Management is if you don’t work on section 2 over a period of time it will become an Urgent issue and will enter box 1 Important AND Urgent. By ignoring section 2 you will always be in a situation of Fire Fighting every single day and feel out of control.

When you are Fire Fighting every day you are under pressure and your health is affected negatively and you feel as though you are always behind with things. If you work on section 2 and deal with some things which are Important but not Urgent you will stop those things entering section 1 and before long you are having less things which are Important and Urgent to deal with and at that point you take control of your life.

This principle really works

When I am coaching my clients in this area, there is a Eureka moment when they get it and once they do they report that they feel like they are on top of things for the first time and it feels great. They feel like they are ahead of the game and in control their lives. This principle together with a couple of key time management techniques I share with them really does change the way they act and feel.

If you are interested in one to one executive coaching in any area do get in touch for a chat as it gives me great pleasure to see the amazing changes experienced in the lives of the people I work with

The book is on schedule for the launch at 5pm on Saturday 24th October at Waterstones Nottingham for an hour and there are a few places left, so do let me know if you want to join me at this event I will be delivering my keynote talk on Mental Resilience then signing the books.

Actions for the week:

  1. Have a look at your to do list and make a note next to each one whether it is:
    1. Important and Urgent
    2. Important not Urgent
    3. Urgent not Important
    4. Not Urgent not Important
  2. All the things in box 1 are your Fire Fighting things which have to be done and are stressful
  3. All the things in box 2 are the things which will turn your life around if you spend at least 20% of your day working on. If you do, you will stop some of these entering box 1 and that box will reduce and so will your stress levels
  4. Ignore box 3 and 4 things as much as possible, even though they are easy to do and make you feel good. Do this and you will see your productivity increase
  5. Work on box 1 but make sure that some of your day is spent on box 2 things, then watch what happens to your productivity and the way you feel!

So until next week have a great weekend and stay positive.

Warm regards

John Book Cover 3D Final

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