Urgent and Important

Source: Mindtools Published: November 2016

Source: Mindtools
Published: November 2016

Urgent and Important

Circulated: December 13, 2019

“I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.S. President, 1953 to 1961

Urgent means that a task requires immediate attention.
Important tasks are things that contribute to our long-term mission, values, and goals.

Urgent & Important (Priority 1)

  • Fire-fighting & customer escalations

  • Broken business processes

  • Feelings of stress and crises; can cause burnout

Not Urgent & Important (Priority 2)

  • Relationship and team building

  • Long-term, strategic planning

  • Feelings of being under control, calmness, and planning

Urgent & Not Important (Priority 3)

  • Unnecessarily checking email

  • Coworker interruptions

  • Feelings of interruptions

Not Urgent & Not Important (Priority 4)

  • Unproductive meetings

  • Scrolling through social media

  • Feelings of distraction