Prioritizing: Important vs. Urgent


We live hyper-connected. We work at a dizzying pace from anywhere on the planet. Considering this lack of time, it is difficult to know how to prioritize between what is urgent and what can wait. Corporations often get lost in this dichotomy. Within a context of daily demands it is easy to fall into the trap of constant urgency, disregarding what is truly significant. Accordingly, when everything is important, nothing is important.

False urgency has always existed: however, the pandemic, increased connectivity and the expectation of quick responses strengthened it.

There follow some of the signs to detect false urgency and prioritize what is important over what is urgent: How to recognize them?

The vital difference

Important: What is important is in tune with the company's long-term objectives. These are the activities that directly contribute to the mission, vision and strategic goals. Importance can be measured in terms of long-term impact and value.

Urgent: What is urgent is often linked to immediate deadlines or imminent crises. These are the activities that require immediate attention but do not always contribute significantly to long-term strategic objectives.

What We Should Do:

To prioritize strategic objectives: To identify and focus on those tasks that directly contribute to the corporation's main objectives. By doing so, time and resources are invested in activities that drive long-term success.

Effective planning and delegation: it is important to establish such an efficient planning that makes it possible to anticipate important tasks before they become urgent. Delegating responsibilities according to the team's strengths will optimize the overall performance of the organization.

Flexibility and adaptability: It refers to the fact of recognizing that priorities can change, and remaining flexible to adapt the approach, based on the changing needs of the business environment. Adaptability is a key aspect to be able to face urgent situations, considering, at the same time, the important objectives.

What to avoid:

To be reactive instead of proactive: that is, we should avoid living in a constant state of reaction. Adopting a proactive approach allows us to anticipate challenges and address them before they become urgent crises.

To get disconnected from strategic objectives: everyday urgencies should not make us disconnect from strategic objectives. In this regard, it is important to maintain a clear view of how daily tasks contribute to the general picture.

Lack of continuous assessment: it refers to the fact of assuming that once priorities have been established, it is not necessary to re-evaluate them. Business dynamics changes permanently, so continuous assessment contributes to be in tune with changing conditions.

In short, the ability to distinguish between what is important and what is urgent is essential to build a solid path to long-term success in a competitive business environment.