As an executive coach, I am always looking for tools and visuals that will resonate with the clients that I see. One particular visual that always seems to score is a chart that outlines tasks and priorities that are urgent and those that are important.
Urgent vs. Important
While the conversations are focused on the work that each leader is doing, there is a theme that surfaces in every conversation. As leaders, we tend to do the urgent and delay the important.
Let me share that again.
As leaders we have a strong tendency to focus on those things that are urgent – on fire – deadline driven. At the same time, we ignore or suspend action on those things that are important.
While that may make sense on the surface, it is the important tasks that separates the balanced leaders from those who are simply trying to survive.
The important things are those things that do not have to be done today or tomorrow. In fact, in many cases, you could put them off for an extended period of time with no apparent issues. However, if you don’t decide to do them at some point, your leadership will suffer. What are those important things? They are things like exercise, dating your spouse or partner, 1:1 time with key clients and direct reports and devoting time with key relationships in your personal and professional life.
What are those important things for you? As we begin 2020, can you make a commitment to make the IMPORTANT items a bit more urgent?