6th January, 2020

Is my next task ‘Urgent’ or ‘Important’? – What does it matter?

Getting this right is one of the most critical factors in sorting out the winners from the losers in business. If you are too busy to read this then crack on with what you were doing, you may never know what you missed.

No plan survives contact with the enemy

You’ll have experienced this yourself. How many times have you cleared a day or two in your diary to produce that breakthrough Commercial or Operational Plan to support next year’s budget/projections? It’s hugely important. You arrive at the office at 8.00am to get off to a good start and a call comes from an angry customer enquiring about a late delivery. You are the only one there, you deal with it but find there have been several frustrating factors leading to the delay with the order. You look into what caused this and drill deeper and deeper to get the answer.

Before you know it, the day has gone but you get back to the customer with a solution. An important customer has been sorted but you leave for home with that sinking feeling that you didn’t do what you set out to do with the day. Never mind, you’ve sorted a major problem, no-one has been hurt and the breakthrough plans will get done tomorrow.

If you want to be one of the relatively small number of people who avoid these everyday traps and make a real success of their business then read on…

Stephen Covey developed a simple but brilliant matrix looking at how we can classify tasks in terms of their urgency and importance and this is shown below.

My experience from working with hundreds of businesses is that in the frenetic pace of life too many people get addicted to urgency and, like most addictions, there is a huge price to pay.

Having worked with hundreds of business owners I recognise only too well the long hours many of them work. Often, they spend a huge proportion of their time firefighting, dealing with important issues that have become urgent, in other words crises. It’s no fun, not very rewarding, stressful and inevitably leads to burn-out. Once these crises are out of the way the majority then catch up with other less important but equally urgent issues. Who deems them to be urgent or on what basis does not seem to matter? Someone wants an answer and they want it now. There are so many channels of communication to make those demands of you if you allow it to happen. That’ll keep you busy until early evening when you can go home, exhausted and with that feeling of,

“I never did a single thing that I planned to do today but never mind there’s always tomorrow”

What’s that other expression?

“Tomorrow never comes”

If you want to carry on pretty much as you are then convincing yourself that it’s impossible to change because there’s always too much to do, then carry on as you are. If you want to break this ‘victim’ mentality, make those step changes in income and quality of life that focussing on Quadrant 2 activities of Planning and Relationship Building can bring.

Make that commitment to yourself now and break the exhausting, stressful cycle you may be gravitating towards where one week looks very much like the next and not much of it feels that great.

But for most people who have been dragged into this dark cycle finding a way out can seem impossible. An external perspective often provides the illuminating insights required.

If you want some help in switching on the light then give me a call or drop me a line at Gary@flourishcoaching.co.uk, let’s have a coffee. I’m always happy to help people who want to make that meaningful step change in their business and quality of life.

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