We all have our own unique time management strategy. What works for one person might be different from what works for the next person, so we each do what best fits our style. The goal generally remains the same regardless: try to get the most of our time, to ensure that we can live the fulfilling, happy life that we want.
One of the approaches that I’ve learned to take is to quickly ask two questions about any items that might come up on my to-do list. Those questions are:
- Is it urgent?
- Is it important?
I know that I’m not the first person to think of this. Actually, there have probably been countless pieces written about this approach over the years, so of course this isn’t some new revelation. But it’s only been recently when I started to use this approach.
The idea for me is that time is money – actually, it’s more valuable than money. A person could be a billionaire, but still might not have much more time on Earth than the next person. Our time, particularly the years when we are healthy enough to maximize enjoyment of it, is precious. So why not spend time on things that matter most to us?
This is where many tasks come into the equation. Frankly, we all have things in our life that we need to get done that don’t directly add enjoyment to our immediate existence, but again – they have to get done. These things can be work-related, housework, errands, paying bills – you name it.
That’s where it’s been working for me ask those two questions: is it urgent and is it important?
When making a to-do list, I’ll answer each question with a rating from 1 to 5. Then, the combined score will give me a sense of when I need to attack that item on the list. If it’s a score of 10, it won’t get done right away. If it’s a score of 2 – well, that’s the one I’ll tackle first.
This approach seems to be working out for me, and requires very little time to employ. Which is important, because spending inordinate amounts of time to plan and determine what is important would defeat the purpose of managing time better! For those of us who love to plan and can have the potential to get carried away by it (could me in that group), this is away to feel in control yet do so efficiently.
My Questions for You
Have you ever used the important/urgent framework for managing your to-do list?
How do you determine what to do first, second, etc?
Or, do you find this type of approach – and time management tactics in general – to be unworkable for you?