As you can see, the two factors that define an activity are urgent and important. Urgent requires immediate attention. Important, on the other hand, has to do with results. If something is important, it contributes to your vision, values, and high-priority goals. If you don’t have a strong sense of vision, values, and clarity around your high-priority goals, then you will probably find that you get pulled into activities that require your immediate attention or activities that are important to other people.
Without a strong sense of purpose (habit 2, first creation of your vision), you will not have a strong enough pull toward the important activities or even know what they are. Therefore, your life will become more reactive, and it’s often important activities (like health) that become urgent when not dealt with initially, and so the spiral of a reactive life continues. Making the time to deal with what’s important will allow you to live a truly effective life.
At the end of the day, write down all of the activities that you have been involved in.
You could divide this list into personal and professional activities or have one complete list. This is entirely your choice and makes no difference to the result—it just depends on what you prefer.
Then write down the following four headings and plot everything on your list under the relevant heading:
- Important & urgent.
- Important, but not urgent.
- Urgent, but not important.
- Not important and not urgent.
(NOTE: Important refers to things that will make a valuable difference in your life, such as spending time with loved ones, doing some training, exercising, or developing relationships. Urgent refers to deadlines, pressing phone calls, and other things you have to do according to the timescale by which they are due.)
Complete this daily for the next 20 days in order to make this way of being/thinking and doing, a natural habit for you
This is an excellent way to raise your self-awareness of how you spend the majority of your time and energy. Read the benefits section below to fully understand the impact of this exercise and how it can help you organize and execute around priorities.