Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The important or the Urgent?

Last week I was speaking to a highly successful businessman about time management for business owners. I was talking about a few of the tasks on my to-do list for the week and how a couple of them were crashing in to each other. He made a statement that made me pause:

“It is the Important vs. The Urgent”

I had heard him make this statement before at networking meetings but for some reason last week it really made me stop and think. We cannot sacrifice the important for the Urgent. Nor can we allow procrastination to create a sense of urgency on every project.

“I work better under pressure.”

Many writers have told me this [and college students too]. In reality you don’t. You are addicted to the adrenaline of urgency. You have trained yourself to rush and hustle to get things done under a clock rather than training yourself in the discipline of doing bits at a time consistently.

It is important to market your business, but getting the kids to their play date is urgent.

It is important to work on your manuscript but writing the column that is due today is urgent.

It is important to contact writer’s groups about speaking opportunities, but it is urgent to finish your manuscript that is due to the editor next week.

It is important to read and spend time with your kids, but it is urgent to book some speaking events to pay this month’s bills.

See, each of these events were important but you put them off until they were urgent. Many times it wasn’t actual work that put them off it was the “urgent” email or the “urgent” need to play solitaire for 2 hours on your computer to “combat writer’s block”.

Discipline and time management are the only cures to these addictions. Furthermore, learning to pace yourself will open you to more opportunities when they come along. You will no longer miss them because of the looming deadline. You’ll be able to accomplish them because of your consistent effort.

Don’t sacrifice the important for the urgent or you will find yourself sacrificing to better for the good.

Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at

Tiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group’s next event.

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Learn more about Tiffany’s Marketing techniques on her main blog.

Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website. []

Read Tiffany’s award winning manuscript “A Face in the Shadow” on her fiction blog.

She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer’s Rest.[]


Carmen7351 said...

Chuck Swindoll always talked about the important vs the urgent. Some urgents take first place when there is danger involved, otherwise stick to the important.

Jody Hedlund said...

Great reminders, Tiffany! Thank you!