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“The key is your ability to discern between two activities and determine which is more important at the time.” Stephen R Covey

Just a quick on this week, because I have just returned from a holiday and have a million and one things to do, as you can imagine having experienced that yourself. One of the priority items is you – you’re reading this because I consider my readership to be important.

That’s not to say that this was the first thing I did on my list, because a daily plan may not permit the most important to be done first – less important things may have a time element that promotes them. A quick but less important telephone call may have to be made when the intended recipient is available, and leaving it until after the most important task may render the call pointless.

People routinely make the mistake of thinking that because something is urgent, it is by definition also important. More often than not – and I mean that most sincerely, folks – the urgency is not commensurate with the importance. In fact, it often isn’t urgent at all.

I recall one day in police world when someone said I had to attend a report of an overnight burglary ‘now’ because it was urgent.

My response was ‘Why, is it going to be un-burgled if I go in 20 minutes?’ was met with open-mouthed shock. It WAS important, but dropping everything that instant was not necessary – I had time to organise other stuff, and even do a small task or two, before dedicating two or more hours to one project. (Dead bodies, on the other hand, we go NOW.)

When assessing what task to start, and when, the criteria ARE importance and urgency. But plumping for either of those without due consideration means risking a wrong decision – putting off a telephone call because it isn’t urgent only to find that it becomes urgent because we miss the recipient, is pointless. And while we can’t do something important like attend an appointment until the appropriate moment, its importance does not justify sitting around doing nothing else.

The right thing, in the right way, at the right time. That’s the key to effective productivity. Takes thought, that.

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For more on time management, go to Amazon, HERE

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