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Urgent vs. Essential

July 24, 2013

Urgent: Requiring immediate action or attention.

Essential: Absolutely necessary; extremely important.

Is this a part of your daily routine. Can it be postponed? If both of those answers are yes, then, the task may an be essential one.

Could not completing this task cause you to lose a client or a deal? Are there time sensitive documents to be completed? Is there an expected closing date or opening date? If you answer yes to these questions then it is probably an urgent task.

Automatically you may lean to the urgent tasks because these “require immediate attention” but it may be beneficial to prioritize or alternate between urgent and essential for a better all around result.

For example, taking a minute to scroll down your lengthy inbox may seem silly when you need to print a contract before a carrier comes to pick it up but think of this, you take the few seconds to check your email (not opening every last message but looking at the sender and subject line for anything that may pop out as Urgent). Wait there is an email you should check the client your sending the contract to has emailed you to let you know that the spelling of their last name was incorrect!  Now you have a chance to correct it instead of feeling foolish after you print the contact and send it over incorrectly having had the correct information all along.

When workers are in the “urgent” frame of mind they often work in a rush. Which can lead to embarrassing, costly and sometimes even unforgivable mistakes.

Don’t think urgent tasks verses essential ones, instead think priorities. Combine your urgent and essential tasks, because putting off essential things to focus on urgent ones can create an urgent problem for one of the essential actions. Remember work smarter not harder!


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