Urgent vs. Important

Most of us spend every day dealing with urgent issues. Everyone needs our attention. There are so many tasks that need to be done and so many items that need to be maintained.

It is easy to get caught up in addressing the urgent and procrastinating doing the important. To be successful, you must make daily progress on both.

If you do not periodically address the important issues, then everything becomes urgent and the cycle continues. Our focus on the urgent results is not accomplishing what could be done by balancing these two types of tasks each day.

Some examples of urgent versus important:


  • Urgent – Repair flat tire

  • Important – Check tire tread and rotate tires periodically


  • Urgent – Get a cavity filled that is causing infection and pain

  • Important – Floss

Home maintenance:

  • Urgent – Replace a rotten bathroom floor and schedule mold mitigation

  • Important – Check under the sink monthly for drain leaks


  • Urgent – Drive to McDonalds to get supper for the family.

  • Important – Plan meals on Sunday night and grocery shop on Monday afternoon

This concept is also relevant to project work. It is easy to get bogged down in meetings and not make daily progress on deliverables or other important tasks. Some examples of this are:


  • Urgent – Troubleshoot go-live issues that are found

  • Important – Do repeated informal testing of all processes during the configuration phase


  • Urgent – Clean up corrupt data in your environment

  • Important – Run test imports, design VLOOKUPS in Excel to validate data integrity


  • Urgent – Multiple people in meetings expecting decisions and updates

  • Important – Do the daily configuration, testing, and documentation necessary to have meaningful updates for the team

We all have to do the urgent. But the people who also dedicate time to doing the important are more successful than those who do not.

I’ll leave you with this story of the urgent versus important as it relates to this a-Minute. One day last week I was telling a coworker that I have been planning to write this A-Minute for a while, but I have not gotten to it yet. She shot right back at me, “It must just be important.” She caught me. I had to make time for the important.

Until next time…we are Advoco, make every minute count.

About Craig: Craig Page is a self-proclaimed “data geek” with nearly 20 years of EAM/maintenance consulting experience. His favorite work is data migrations. He enjoys solving the puzzle to make the data fit and keep the integrity of the information. When Craig isn’t in front of a computer, he is probably running a chainsaw or a tractor. Have a question for Craig? Send him an email!

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