The Why of Urgent vs. Important

from Seth’s Blog

You know you should be focusing on the long-term journey, on building out the facility, signing up new customers or finishing your dissertation.

But instead, there’s a queue of urgent things, all justifiable, all requiring you and you alone to handle them. And so you do, pushing off the important in favor of the urgent.

Of course, everyone has this challenge, but some people manage to get past it. Even you, the last time you made a major move forward. Think about it–those urgencies from a few years ago: who’s handling them now?

The reason we go for urgent is that it makes us feel competent. We’re good at it. We didn’t used to be, but we are now.

Important, on the other hand, is fraught with fear, with uncertainty and with the risk of failure.

Now that you know why, you can dance with it.

More here.

29 Responses to The Why of Urgent vs. Important

  1. John Phillips March 3, 2017 at 5:26 pm #

    Seth brings up a very thought provoking point in this piece. He is really making the reader ponder how they have structure their priority. One think he really made me think about, was why do I complete tasks in a certain order? How do I structure my time management to complete these tasks, and why? There are many different tasks we all have to complete each day; we say some are more important than others are, and create a schedule based on deadlines and importance. This is the way of thinking most of us go through when setting our priorities straight. We use the two concepts of urgency and importance to decide where each of these tasks will be placed in our routine. This really made me think whether the way I go about completing tasks is efficient. I don’t believe the way I do it is the most efficient, therefore, limiting my capabilities. I believe importance should be prioritized over urgency; this is something I don’t always do.
    Importance is a very interesting concept when it comes to completing tasks. Importance is more of a long term, mindset, and based on integrity and honesty. These priorities should be structured more towards overall personal development, and long-term success. This means completing task that will make you a better overall person, with values, morals, and growth. These are not things you wake up and realize that you have to do it by today. These tasks don’t necessarily have deadlines or rewards, rather they have importance to you. Things of importance should not be things that you will do and forget within a week, these are things you must do over time in order to build yourself, help others, and make a difference. These important tasks should not necessarily be things you are comfortable doing; they should be things that give you a little fear, m going in. They can be risky, as long as they follow your values and personal goals. This ensures that you will build yourself to be the best you can be. This means if there is something that you want to do long term, as if becoming a CPA, then set your priorities straight now, and work hard daily. This is importance being prioritized over urgency. You are clearly develpping an end goal, and realizing that, the goal is where you want to be in 5 years. In order to get there, you need to do what is right, and most times, difficult, to get there. This mindset shift will guarantee you reach your goal, and will create overall happiness.
    Urgency is not something we should work with too often; simply because it leaves us open to make mistakes. It isn’t healthy to always be in a rush, and feel that everything must be done at such a swift pace. The final reason people often work with urgency is because of procrastination. They put things off and end up having to finish something urgency. They don’t prioritize or structure properly, and it makes them feel fulfilled when they complete something with urgency. This feeling of receiving a reward causes this, and is simply inefficient.
    We need to find what’s truly important and better for us in the long term. Instead of prioritizing things that have no benefit over what’s truly important is simply ineffective. This is a great lesson to learn in life, and I am glad to have read this article. It made me realize I need to set my priorities straight and find what is truly important.

  2. Robert Seijas March 3, 2017 at 5:30 pm #

    The idea of urgency versus importance is one that most people would never think about, but really should when they are making a transition into the professional world. The reason being that how somebody views tasks, whether urgent or important will dictate their entire task process, how they complete their work, and how they multitask as well. To start, the first thing to know is the difference between the two. The definition of urgent is, “requiring immediate action or attention.” This would explain how it could dictate one’s workflow and task structure, being that urgent tasks are those which need to be handled sooner rather than later. This definition gives the word power and in turn, it gives any urgent task power over the person completing them. However, the definition of important is, “of great significance or value.” This translates to a task being an integral part of a project, one that holds a fundamental value to the entire piece of work. This by definition needs to be done, because a project cannot be completed without an “important” part of the work. The two are definitions that can work together with ease, but can also work against one another just as easily. The important thing for any professional to be able to do, which is not taught, is to sift out exactly what needs to be done currently and structure their workflow process to meet this.
    The issue with organizing one’s own process by rank of “importance” and “urgency” is that it is a skill that is not outright taught. It is not something that somebody can go to class and study exactly how to do, but a skill that professionals pick up and learn with both time and experience. For each separate person, the time and way that this skill is learned is different. Some people do not properly prioritize their work or events even in their later life. However, others can do this during high school. This trait of priority is one of the most important things a professional can do, in fact it is as important as multitasking. It makes the difference between entry level and management level. It involves a deep understanding of what is expected out of oneself, and as well as a commitment to creating and reaching goals.
    The importance of this comes from functionality. For example, a student who cannot properly function under pressure or multiple tasks will not last very long in a difficult program. The most recent example of this is midterms. Midterms require a good amount of studying, and can create a lot of pressure for students. It creates the most when students do not know how to prioritize which class is most important, which subject they already know best, and what grade they can expect to get. Some people relax and others scramble. The ones who scramble do so, due to the fact that they let urgencies and importance run their lives. They let the changing priorities of their work control them and dictate exactly what they do and how they do it.
    In the end, being able to prioritize workflow is an essential skill for any person going into the professional world. It is one that is learned throughout life and specifically, school. This skill will give a person control of their work, while the lack of this skill will give the work the control over the person.

  3. Lauren Burbank March 3, 2017 at 5:45 pm #

    This article hits home for me right now. I have a multitude of both “urgent” and “important” tasks every week and it feels like as soon as I get one thing done, five more pile up. My sister got engaged earlier this week and has been asking for my assistance in planning multiple aspects of her engagement party, photo shoot and wedding. I had a very important job interview yesterday that I have been preparing for over two weeks now. I had to take a few online quizzes for my classes and there are important homework assignments I need to complete. Learning how to balance urgent things with important things is proving to be more and more challenging as time goes on.
    As the article suggests, I give my attention to the “urgent” tasks more often. Its not necessarily because they make me feel competent, as much as it is that there is a more direct pressure on me to complete them. As an example, I view my homework as “important,” and I know I need to get it done. When my sister calls me panicking about how she’s overwhelmed and my mom begs me to come over and calm her down, I see it as “urgent” and it’s more of an “instant consequence,” if I don’t comply with what is needed from me. I’m still working on balancing everything the right way. I believe its 95% up to the person to do everything right (prioritizing, avoiding procrastination, committing to the work, etc) and 5% luck (for lack of a better word, because sometimes life just gets in the way).
    I love organization. I enjoy planning every detail out, creating structure, following an itinerary, and creating efficient methods of completing all my tasks. Urgent tasks are what throw all of those elements out of whack because they usually are not planned, nor predictable. While I do believe I’m flexible and adaptable to change, I have not yet mastered the ability to reprioritize everything when “urgent” problems are thrown my way. Because of this, I would say I agree and disagree with this article. I agree that “pushing off the important in favor of the urgent,” is what tends to happen, but I don’t agree with why. I also don’t agree that the important stuff is “fraught with fear, with uncertainty” because I am more comfortable with completing it than I am with handling urgent issues.
    The job I just interviewed for is the one I want the most out of all the jobs I’ve recently interviewed for. It’s relevant to this article; it’s a position as an executive administrative assistant to the three directors of retail marketing for my company. It would be my job to organize them, to plan events for them, to reroute them when something in their schedule presents itself as urgent. Ironically, I am much better at helping other people navigate their schedules than I am my own at times. I think that role would force me to address my own issues with balancing urgent issues versus important ones.

  4. Owen Balseiro March 3, 2017 at 6:45 pm #

    Well, this certainly took my head for a loop. I have always put urgent matters and important matters in the same bin in the back of my head. I guess what the hardest part about the urgent vs important way of thinking is actually putting all of your tasks into these two bins. And at a glance many can fit in either category as urgent and important are interchangeable to many, many people. For example if you have 3 comments due at nine o’clock pm and it is six o’clock pm. It could be understandable if someone were to label the comments as both urgent, being that it is due in three hours and important as it has an effect on your grade for the course. But what I think Seth Godin means is that what is important is what the long term journey is.

    When I was in middle school, I was a pretty bad student. Im not saying I was a troubling student that would interrupt class and be a all around nuisance for the school and teachers, quite the opposite. I was still a relatively quiet kid, who would raise his hand once in awhile if he knew the answer. But when I say I was a “bad student” i meant it by saying I was a bad student when I was not in school. I’ll say it right now, I hate studying, I hate math and I hate how even when school is finished it still finds a way to make you do things. Be it through papers, projects or comments due on friday night. But back when I was in middle school, I was a horrible procrastinator, and I mean a terrible one. Be it homework, projects or papers they were all being done the day before. (word of advice to anyone reading that, never make that mistake) And while I would never fail anything, my parents were never happy with the two to three Cs on my report card. So when it came time for high school, I learned the hard way that my “strategy” that I had used in middle school was going to need to change. But instead of overhauling the strategy like I should of, I adapted it to the high school mold. While I got better results in high school, looking back in hindsight I had still royally screwed myself over when it came to college because I did not know how to categorize urgent from important.

    A good example for urgent vs important that I can think of is this. Urgent is something like your friend’s needing one more player for pickup basketball. It is important to you, and only you can handle it but in the long run it will not matter one but who won that game. What will matter is if you were there or not. Because maybe if you were not there but instead doing your paper that can actually affect your life and that is how we get to what is actually important.

    Important when defined by Seth Godin is something that boils down to life affecting. Life affecting can be a broad topic and many people consider many different things to be life affecting. But with all of those things there are some consistencies. A dissertation for example, many people would consider that life affecting as having something like a doctorate can open up countless doors for you and your future. Other things many include a big project at school or at work that while small at the moment can have an impact on your future school choices or job opportunities. At the end of the day, what is important to you can really only be decided by you as only you know you the best and what kind of situation you is in.

  5. Derek Luckman March 3, 2017 at 7:03 pm #

    This article really gives you something to think about. I feel like I’m constantly at war with the many tasks that are presented to me and prioritizing them becomes a task within itself. I always like to think ahead, set goals and plan ahead, but life doesn’t always allow you to do so. Unforeseen problems can arise at any point, requiring your urgent attention. Don’t get me wrong, my goals are very important, but that’s where this article relates to me as certain things are important, but some things are urgent. The thing about urgent is that are usually task the require you to finish and see them all the way thru right then and there, thus bringing about instant gratification. They are things that were important and needed to get done as soon as possible and were confident in our ability to handle them, no matter how much procrastinating we may have done. Important on the other hand are things such as those goals and plans that I spoke of earlier. They are probably the most important thing in contributing to my success, yet they leave the door open for both fear and doubt. The thought that keeps me going however, is that I know if I don’t do these things, I won’t have a chance. I know for a fact that if I don’t at least try, there will be no chance at success and so in this thinking, what is my alternative? Is it to sit and submit to my fears of failure putting off important tasks to replace them with quicker, more attainable “urgent” tasks? I would choose the former of the two, and take the risk of failure because I have nothing to lose in trying.
    I have a weird habit that when I go rock climbing I always let myself go and fall on purpose. Many people including the instructors always look at me funny for it but brush it off as not a big deal. What they don’t understand is that for me I need to fail first, in order to get that fear of failure out my system (I can’t stand heights). Many people like to go for what they are already good at or know they can handle because they are scared to fall. They are scared of what will happen if they fail, but if you allow yourself to fail I guarantee that you will realize, you can recover. Sometimes we get so stuck in our comfort zone and use this to rationalize our list of priorities, but I have come to realize that the only way to get comfortable with something, is to actually do it. Urgent task may require immediate attention and even give us instant gratification, but many times do not contribute as much as other task we have on our plate. Things of importance are not always easy, in fact most of the times that will not be easy, but this comes back to an ageless phrase which states “anything worth having doesn’t come easy”.

  6. Matthew Radman March 3, 2017 at 8:42 pm #

    In a fast moving, task-oriented society in which we work, managing time is harder than ever before. The hardest thing about juggling assignments is that nobody tells you what to do first. In the case of schooling, one has multiple classes, and each of those professors expects to be a high priority. All of this leaves us to build our own list of priorities to handle an urgent list of tasks. As tests, homework, and studying add up for each class, it is easy to get lost on the trail of “busy work.” This is the type of work which you need to get done to maintain good standings in class, but do not contribute to the ultimate goal of going to college, to better oneself. Most assignments add nothing to the larger journey of life. This type of work can become tedious and uninspiring as time goes on and can make us resent the pursuits, college, that we know will bring us somewhere good in our lives. The issue is that we organize all of our stuff to do by class and complete assignments in a somewhat chronological order. As we work our way down the assembly line of stuff to do, we often forget about the important aspects of what we do. Instead of urgent grouping tasks into subparts, we should be dividing our time between urgent and important tasks. It is a modern paradox and challenge that we must get through the urgent to see the important. However, the important stuff is very, well, important. However, what holds us back from focusing is not the mountains of urgency, says Seth, but our fear of the important. It is true that it is much more comfortable to think about the accomplishable tasks of our everyday lives rather than to reflect on the unknowingness of the more existential parts of our lives. While students tediously complete classwork and assignments, it often provides a cocoon from which students can wait for four years until they have to think about their careers. While planning our future career goals does not have a strict deadline like a term paper does, it should be thought about with the same punctuality. In a society so heavily goal-oriented, it can be easy to loose sight of the bigger picture. However, there is a value add between the people who solely focus on urgencies and those who also focus on the important things. The truth is that most people are perfectly happy working on a never-ending assembly line of tasks. However, those who strive to be extraordinary find the time to look at the important things in life. In building a business, it is the job of CEO to delegate people to the urgent matters that constantly vie for their attention so that they can focus on the longer-term, often scarier important stuff that will decide the future of the company. Time management is more than just organizing and completing tasks and beating deadlines. Whether talking about an individual or a company, the future has no deadline, so it is up to a visionary to decide to take action as if there were.

  7. Peter DeSantis March 3, 2017 at 8:45 pm #

    As I have grown older, I have gradually come to the conclusion that they saying, “there are not enough hours in one day,” makes a whole lot of sense. When I was younger, time went entirely too slow for me. I was restlessly impatient, and to be completely honest, I still am at times. I figured that twenty-four hours was more than sufficient to make up one day. Now, especially since my junior and senior years in high school and since I have entered into college, I realize that twenty-four hours is a very short amount of time. Time just seems to move so quickly; in a way it seems just like yesterday that I was a junior stressing out over where I wanted to go to school and what I wanted to do with my life. Now I am a freshman in college with drive, knowing exactly what I want to do with my life and having the determination to achieve that. Not only does time move rapidly over long periods of time and in hindsight, but it even seems to move fast during any given day. Some days, usually when I am most busy, I cannot keep track of time. It will feel like 11:00am turns into 5:00pm in no time. I believe that it is this sense of not having enough along with fast moving time that it makes it difficult for people to get the things that they want to do done in a reasonable amount of time.

    Seth Godin’s article, “The Why of Urgent vs. Important” touches upon this result of time constraints. He starts out with the generalization, which I find to be true, that many people have an elongated list of things they believe that they should be doing; however, they are not doing them. This list of “important” tasks are long-term, usually career goals or something less significant such as cleaning the garage. Either way, they can be pushed off until a later date, and frequently, they are. This list, although titled the “important” list, comes secondary to the list of “urgent” tasks. These urgent tasks are self-explanatory; they require immediate action and can include things like grocery shopping, getting haircuts, and hanging out with friends. Although these tasks are not necessarily life or death, they still require us to act upon them before our long-term goals in most cases. This is not to say that the urgent tasks are necessarily bad or detrimental but they do act as a hindrance to working on the tasks that are long-term oriented.

    Godin brings up an interesting point to touch on. He wonders why people more often choose to complete the urgent rather than work on the long term tasks. Why is it that the urgent is always a priority to what people label as important to them? It must be more than just that the urgent is necessary for survival. Godin argues that there is enough time for people to complete the essentials and the significant simultaneously. He says that the reason people, “…go for urgent is that it makes us feel competent. We’re good at it.” He goes further to say that people decide not to work on the important goals because it, “…is fraught with fear, with uncertainty, and with the risk of failure.” I thought that was an interesting way to think about, yet I found myself agreeing with it.

    I mostly agreed with Godin because it forced me to do some self-examining, making me realized that this applies to me. There are a handful of people, some family members, and some family friends, who are, or were involved, in high end, Wall Street finance. I desperately need to get in touch with in order to set up a meeting with these individuals. I know that this is crucial to establishing a good, solid network and to landing a high quality, high paying job on the ultra-competitive Wall Street. This is something I know I need to do; however, I have not made time for it. My excuse is that I have just been too “busy” lately, but now after some introspection I am beginning to think that maybe this is not the full story. I think that part of it is the fear that I am going to blow it when I meet with them, in the sense that I am going to sound stupid or say the wrong thing because I do not know enough about finance yet. This fear leads to the ultimate fear that I will never get the job that I am working so hard to prepare myself for now. It was nice to come to the realization that it is likely I am just afraid of the outcome, which is why I continue to put the things that are vital to my future success off. If I can overcome my qualms, maybe I can use my time more effectively and work towards those important long-term goals.

  8. Daniel Anglim March 3, 2017 at 10:32 pm #

    What is the difference between urgent and important? The definition of urgent is: requiring immediate action or attention. The definition of important is: of great significance or value; likely to have a profound effect on success, survival, or well-being. In the article, “The Why of Urgent v. Important” by Seth Godlin, highlights how people are more willing to react to something urgent instead of something important. He says, “The reason we go for urgent is that it makes us feel competent. We are good at it. We didn’t used to be, but we are now” then follows up this statement with the assertion, “important, on the other hand, is fraught with fear, with uncertainty and with the risk of failure.” This is an interesting comment and I would have to agree with Godlin. Most people put off important things as far as they possibly can go before these things change from important to urgent. Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing because as Godlin says, people handle urgent things well. This is interesting to me, why are people more willing to do urgent things then important things? Why wait for something important to turn urgent? Either way, whatever the task or thing is that is important will need to get done eventually so mine as well finish your business before it advances to urgent.

    I have found that completing important tasks before they come urgent is critical. Allowing something to become urgent is bad. It is stressful, sleep depraving, and most of the time at least from personal experience, you don’t handle these situations well. For example, in the beginning of college I found that I was extremely stressed and did not receive the grades I wanted on my assignments. So as I got better at college I realized where my weakness laid. I was waiting to the last day, or day before to even start assignments instead of completing them as soon as they were assigned. Once I had this epiphany I started to create a schedule and become better at time efficiency. Time efficiency is the most important thing in being successful in college. This is also the main factor between something being urgent and important. Yes my papers were important, and yes they became urgent they day before they were due and I started working on them. I was able to improve on my skills as a student and ended the semester with all A’s. I still use this method, and I recommend it to my friends that still have not figured out how to perform well. I tell them that the reason they are not performing to the best of their ability is because they let important things become urgent. Although I agree with Godin’s point that important things become urgent, I disagree with his point that people handle urgent things better than important things. Maybe it just depends exactly the subject of what is important and urgent but in regards to school, never let something become urgent.

  9. Benjamin Jaros March 7, 2017 at 2:35 am #

    Seth always intrigues me with his ability to splice complex philosophical dilemmas into a few words.
    The urgent, the day-to-day tasks, which only we can handle seem to fill so much of our lives. However, he drew out the idea that we did not used to be good at the urgent. If anything the urgent used to be something we disliked. However, over time, the urgent issues become our friend because we understand them. We could handle the issues that were urgent. Urgent issues made sense and gave us control over immediate destiny. Therefore, our orientation towards the short term may proceed from our desire to fully control our own destiny. The urgent issues sadly took away our attention and focus from the important issues.
    The important issues were difficult. We needed to spend time discerning what place they would play in our life. However, once we realize that we need to go back to school and finish a dissertation or renovate a facility that seriously could use the work we put off the project. Projects are easy to put-off, especially when we have plenty of day-to-day tasks to take our mind off them. However, life is not always going to be like college, were putting off an important project will eventually need to get done, whether you need to spend three days without sleep or not, it will happen.
    In life if we continue to choose the urgent tasks over the important projects, there is no deadline that will force us to go back to school and add to our education. If we keep putting off the important, the important will be put off perpetually. As the saying goes, “There is always tomorrow.” Our avoidance of the important may stem from our desire to avoid feeling not just vulnerable, but defenseless against the tumultuous future that could create havoc for our long-term plans. However, if we avoid the important issues, we are not acknowledging the reality within ourselves that recognizes the truth about reality; namely, we cannot fully control our destiny. There are thousands of unseen variables that we cannot understand, yet in the midst of these variables we need to choose to advance into the unknown.
    It is for that reason that Seth is strongly drawing our attention back to the important issues. In not just monetary success, but in living a life of true fulfillment we need to engage life to the fullest potential that we can. In living well and righteously, there is no tomorrow, there is only today. When important projects need to be done, they need to be addressed right now. Pushing off important matters to tomorrow creates not just an individual orientation towards a passive and unfulfilled lifestyle, but it creates a culture devoted to passive and unfulfilled lifestyles. Only in confronting the reality that we are not fully in charge our destiny do we become able to actually manipulate our future. Our surrender of the future to circumstances, actually gives us the courage to plan and strive for the long term. It is this resignation that Seth is calling us to recognize, not just focus on long-term issues, but recognize that we cannot control the long term. The best we can hope for is to just go for it.

  10. Michelle Pyatnychuk March 13, 2017 at 2:49 pm #

    It is true, society today has more impatient than ever and with all of the technological advances we have been seeing, it will become a more present characteristic than we could have previously predicted. Recently, I had to read and analyze a book for my macroeconomics course and was given the title How Markets Fail by John Cassidy. It was in this book, about the factors that lead to the financial market crisis in 2008, that I found one of the most consistent arguments for the stockbrokers to have given out such risky loans was that it was a definite quick profit. These stockbrokers and investors were thinking short-term profits even though many of them, along with their CEOs, knew the long-term risks but of course, because everyone else on the block was doing such risky business, they excused their actions based upon rational herd-like behavior. They would have rather had a family’s mortgage default than have lost the profit that came from that family taking out a loan they knew they could not afford. This is the same case as in the blog post made by Seth Godin that we have become more confident in making urgent, short-term projected decisions because these are the decisions that we know, for sure, the outcome of.

    Today’s society has proven that they fear what they cannot predict or know for certain and it is this fear that prevents them from thinking about their futures. Yes, the future is not something we can see or predict accurately but it should still be put into consideration. We all know that even when we can be so sure of something that is going to happen within a couple of days, natural disasters or unexpected events can topple whatever plans we may have anyway. Even the things that we are most certain about can blow up in our faces and consequently, should prove in it of itself that the uncertainty of the long term applies to the short term as well. There should be no excuse for anyone as to why they should not put into consideration the actions that they make today for the years to come because whatever decision they may make, even if they should benefit them within a few months, has the potential to hurt them within a few years.

    Godin makes a good point in saying that there are urgent matters that everyone must deal with on a daily basis such as working to pay the bills, providing food for their families or whatever else is urgent in their eyes, but it is important that we do not forget about those things that, although are not urgent, are still significant. In the end, it really is fear that drives to do the either rational or irrational things that we as humans do. Whether we see it as a driving force or not fear itself is what encourages us to push our boundaries and do something that we at one point would never have done, in this case, thinking about the next ten, twenty, thirty years down the line.

  11. Erin Chan March 15, 2017 at 3:29 pm #

    How to distinguish between urgent and important things? In short, the urgent thing is that the deadline has been forced in front of things, and the important thing is that things will have a long-term impact.
    Urgent and important are not necessarily mutually exclusive, some things are urgent and important. For example, you may be killed and responsible for driving out a major project. In any case, there are many urgent things that just fire. A vicious circle of circumstances is that you continue to find yourself in the situation when we just care about the moment to solve the problem in short run, and therefore we feel exhausted, lack of surgery, and cannot plan ahead.
    We can divide things into urgent and important, urgent but not important, important but not urgent, not important nor urgent, four categories. For emergency and important things, of course, to do it all. But we often face the problem is that long-term down and found that their distribution in the important but not too much time too little emergency, but also seriously limit their long-term development of the height and possibility. How can the time out to the important but not urgent things? The most obvious place, of course, is to minimize what is not important nor urgent. Such as going on Facebook and watching YouTube video.
    However, eating the most vicious, usually still urgent but not important things. If you do a similar job of firefighting, this or you have a clear problem on the customary process of dealing with things, so you will be ghosting wall to continue to encounter the same trouble. This on behalf of you took over far more than you can afford things. So it will always be in a state of extreme load.
    If you are the former, then you need to calm down, think about it, how to get rid of habitual problems, the establishment of a set of standard work will not always set the fire flow. If the latter, you may need to ruthless to those who really Unable to afford the people turned away. Sometimes you do not come to find things not to come to you, and if things do not come to you, people do not come to you, may represent these things and people actually not so important.
    My own one is that, whether it is urgent or important things, try to develop the habit of cutting treatment. In the case of an emergency, it is 40% ahead of the deadline to leave only 60% of the time before the deadline. This is time to arrive, but nothing has been done. In the case of important things no matter how busy and tired, every day to do a little bit. So that they can continue to invest enough time in the important things above, long down, will be able to feel the great benefits of this habit.

  12. Josh Luchon March 17, 2017 at 7:04 pm #

    This article really made me think about and re-evaluate a few decisions I’ve made as recently as today. I have never really thought about the difference between urgency and importance, because in the moment, they are easily confused. I am generally an analytical person in the sense that I weigh my options fairly thoroughly before making a decision. The hard part is that my brain confuses things that are important with things that have narrow windows of opportunity. For example, I called my barber yesterday to schedule an appointment and I found out that I had to get down to the shop within 45 minutes or I couldn’t get my hair cut. That immediate sense of urgency was enough to trump logic because somehow I came to the conclusion that I could postpone a mountain of work for the sake of a haircut. Seth makes an interesting point when he wrote, “Important, on the other hand, is fraught with fear, with uncertainty and with the risk of failure.” I thought about that for a while to come up with how I was able to justify getting my hair cut instead of being productive, and it made a lot of sense. By deferring the consequences of not doing a good job or not finishing my work, my brain was able to make room for the hair cut because of the urgency involved with the appointment. Until now, I would just chalk it up to being impulsive, but after reading what Seth has to say, it makes much more sense.

    After reading this article, it became clear to me that people grapple with the urgent vs. important dilemma on a daily basis without realizing it half the time. I am lucky enough to be able to make fast decisions, and many of those decisions are based on how important I think something is. However, after reading this article, I thought back to a few instances where I let urgency influence my decision more than I should have, to the degree where logic was overshadowed. That sounds pretty grim, but most of what I’m referring to is small scale. For example, I am always trying to find the best time to go to the gym. I think going to the gym and getting healthy are very important, so that weighs heavily on my decision-making. I also think that being a productive student and staying on top of my assignments is important, which as one could imagine, creates a troubling inner conflict when I have to decide between the gym and working. The deciding factor is usually urgency, which may not be a good thing. I have reasoned my way around doing schoolwork by following a thought pattern approximately to the effect of “the gym closes soon, so I should get after the work tomorrow instead.” That initiates a domino effect of undue stress the next day and the days following when I have to make similar decisions resulting from the first bad decision to postpone working.

    I would build on Seth’s analysis by arguing that urgency is second to importance, and by eliminating urgency, one can consistently make sound decisions. I think that by taking a step back, forgetting about urgency, and deciding at the core what is important, I can avoid making foolish decisions. Prioritizing seems to be the best way to do that. Instead of worrying about timelines, I think that organizing a to-do list by importance is much more effective than worrying about urgency because ultimately, if something is genuinely important, I can make time for it instead of trying to find some.

  13. Nick Shervanian March 17, 2017 at 7:36 pm #

    Seth really makes the readers think about their lives and what takes priority in it. How does someone’s decide what is important in their life? There are many different tasks that we have to complete day in and day out. Obviously, some are more important than others are and we have to determine how much time is spent on each individual task. We have two concepts of urgency and importance to decide if these tasks should be placed into our routine. Everyone has room for improvement in the way that they prioritize things. When it comes to completing tasks, importance is a very interesting concept. It is based on everyone’s different values and integrity. In my personal experiences, I base my priorities off what is more structured towards my long-term success. These important tasks should not necessarily be things you are comfortable doing; they should be things that give you a little fear going in. Things are more fun when you do not know what to expect, in my opinion. They can be risky, as long as they follow your values and personal goals. This ensures that you will build yourself to be the best you can be. This is importance being prioritized over urgency. You are clearly developing an end goal, and realizing that, the goal is where you want to be in the future. In order to get there, you need to do what is right, and most times, difficult, to get there. This mindset shift will guarantee you reach your goal, and will create overall happiness. Urgency also makes us get things done, but easily allows stupid mistakes along the way. It is not a good thing to always be in a rush and feel like you have someone breathing down your neck hurrying you. Procrastination often leads people to become more urgent. When things are put off, we rush to finish them in time. We need to find what is truly important and beneficial for us in the long term. This is something that is a great life lesson and a very beneficial skill that needs to be mastered for future success.

  14. Antoneta Sevo March 17, 2017 at 8:03 pm #

    I truly enjoyed reading Seth Godin’s “The why of urgent vs. important.” It made me think about how I prioritize the tasks in my life and what a terrible job I am doing. Godin talks about how the long-term journey is more important than the urgent things we all attend to. He could not have been more right. In order to grow as humans, we must work over time in order to be successful at the important things. In my opinions, the most essential goal in someone’s life is to better themselves. There is always a way to grow as a person. Though accomplishing urgent tasks makes us feel good, it does not help us get anywhere that matters.

    Godin brings up the point that “Important…is fraught with fear, with uncertainty and with the risk of failure.” The way we can decipher urgent from important is by the level of risk something has and how comfortable we feel doing them. The more risk something has the more of an impact it will have on someone’s life. In addition, if you do something out of your comfort zone, you may accomplish something you never thought you could. That leads to discovering new things about yourself that you would not have known existed. Life is a learning experience but we must make it worth it in the end. In order to that, we have to take risks and work towards the important not the urgent. That is something I do not do well and after reading this article I will definitely work on my priorities. This concept is one that many do not think about but it has a massive impact on our success and overall personality.

    A vital part of working towards a long-term goal is to know what that goal is. Many people in college have an overall idea or definitely know what they want to become. However, there are people who do not have a clue what they want to study or do with their lives. I am among those who do not know. It is a tough decision, as an 18 year old who is not sure what they enjoy most in life, to choose a career path. However, I realize now that I have not been doing the necessary steps in order to figure it out. I have been so focused on urgent tasks that I pushed the important things to the side. Before reading this, I believed that I had too much work to do therefore I did not have time to work on certain things. However, this article has pushed me to reevaluate my priorities and showed me that I need to work on myself. I have to figure out what is important and what is urgent and work towards bettering myself as a whole. The first step to changing is to recognize what needs to be changed. This article has given me the motivation to reconfigure things in my life in order to grow as a person. What is important or urgent to one person is completely different to what might be important or urgent to someone else. The only thing that matters is whether we know the difference and know how to effectively move forward.

  15. Andrew Imbesi March 21, 2017 at 9:27 pm #

    There are typically two ways people treat situations; based on urgency and importance. I find the relationship between urgency and importance to be closely similar to the relationship between want and need. Typically, when an opportunity arises spontaneously, people are urgent not to pass up the opportunity. People that are urgent tend to want more things than need more things. On the other hand, things that are valued as important are usually things that are seen as necessary. Whether a situation is urgent or important, a certain outcome is always reached.
    Urgency comes off as appealing, and attracting, but disrupts the idea of conserving resources. Things that appeal to the eye are not always a bad thing, sometimes urgency brings you down the path of wonderful things. Urgency appeals to us most often in the heat of the moment, and makes us vulnerable. It is important to treat urgency with delicacy. For example, when someone texts me, sometimes I feel urgent to respond immediately. However, it is most important that I reply to the message, I can put off a response for however long I would like.
    Importance must be valued since urgency can destroy it. Saving resources is one of the most valuable habits anyone can get into. Humans tend to be wasteful, and forget what is truly important, especially in the moment. By developing saving habits and valuing what is truly important for the future, people reach realistic goals.
    I find myself always battling urgency and importance. Living in the moment is something I love doing, I want to experience in the here and now. However, as I progress through college and mature through life, I am beginning to realize what is important and what is not. In the future, most likely within the next year, I am going to have to buy a car. Over the next year, I will have to remember to continue saving money for what is important rather than spend on little things in the moment.
    College tends to tap every student’s piggy bank, not only in terms of tuition, but in terms of spending money as well. Developing habits of valuing importance over urgency can learned best in college with the concept of living on campus. I came to college with money in my wallet and no way of putting it back in. I realized that if I spent in the moment, I would not have enough for the things that were truly important like my future car. It seems that after watching students make their mistakes early in the year, they remember the importance of where their money should be best spent: saved.
    In addition, you can never go wrong with going with your gut. I believe that is where the best decisions are made. Urgency is a distraction from what is important, but is not always wrong. Your gut ultimately chooses the best decision for you more often than not. Whether something is urgent or important, doing what you believe is best will ultimately wind up being the best decision.

  16. Jonathan Cavallone March 23, 2017 at 1:22 pm #

    In this article by Seth Godin, urgent is compared to important. Godin explains how often times people will push aside important things in favor of getting urgent things done. However, believe that the difference between urgent and important is based on ones priorities. In the movies we have all seen examples of urgent vs important and priorities being out of line. For example, when a father in a movie has to work late one night and that night happens to be his sons 10th birthday. The son then gets upset that his father does not have time for him, feels that his father is selfish, and only cares about himself. This is an example of someone putting something urgent to them at the time ahead of something important. As Godin stated, the reason we go for urgent is that it makes us feel competent. We are good at it. We did not used to be, but we are now. Completing tasks at work makes people feel satisfied knowing they are good at something and can do something efficiently.
    Being a college student, I am often faced with important and urgent tasks daily. Ranging from homework and assignments, to friends and interviews, I am always busy doing something. There is not enough time in the day to complete all of the tasks that I have planned to do, therefore, I must become extremely efficient when it comes to time management and making the correct decision between important and urgent things. An example of something that is urgent would be having a paper due in two days that I have not started yet compared to something important which would be to study for my business law cases. I am faced with these decisions every day. I often try to get ahead of the game and do assignments in advance. I hate procrastinating and waiting to do an assignment until the last minute. Not only do I feel rushed, but I also feel that I do not produce my best work when I am in this pressured state of mind. Additionally, being a freshman business major, I have been actively searching for internship opportunities to set myself apart from the rest when it comes time for interning with some bigger companies my sophomore and junior year. Searching for internships is much more urgent when compared to nearly anything else except completing my school work and getting good grades. Maintaining good grades will definitely help me land an internship. In fact, because of my urgent efforts searching for internships, I was able to land one with a brokerage firm in Jersey City called First Broker’s Securities. I feel as though I have been preforming well in college and managing my time efficiently. I have been completing all of my important and urgent assignments on time, which has contributed to my success in school.

  17. George Tannous March 23, 2017 at 6:22 pm #

    Seth brings up a great thought provoking point about looking at the bigger picture. We tend to take matters day by day or week by week and this may be fine for one, but one should always take a step back and figure out what it is exactly that one is looking forward to accomplishing. It is so easy to be comfortable and laid back, not worrying about what the future holds. And the reason we prefer staying on this level is because we are afraid of the next level. The next level could mean failure, but it could also mean promotion. For the majority of people including myself, I hate failing. There is nothing that I loathe more than the thought of falling behind. It causes terrible stress and anxiety when I am being pushed in an area where I do not have a sufficient grasp. Especially not having certainty in what is to come.
    As Godin points out we always tend to go for urgent tasks because we know how to do them. We have been faced with the same challenges dozens of times before like studying for a test. And it is very true, I tend to enjoy working hard on something I know I can do rather than something I have not improved on. We become easily comfortable with where we are, in no rush or urgency to learn new things or build new skills. Important tasks are really something we may understand to an extent, but do not understand enough. And in essence, not understanding them in full means we are falsely marking them as important. In reality everything we do is important and urgent for the big picture of living a good life with a good career. It is very easy to become sidetracked and worry about a class or a test but not worry about what job we will be able to get in the future. This leads us to putting too much energy in one area and almost forgetting about the other one. And the other one can be more important than where we are focusing all energy.
    We need to re-evaluate ourselves every now and then and visualize and consider how and why we are doing the things we do. We should reason with ourselves and even make gradual changes. Instead of doing things one way, tell yourself to start trying things this other way and see if things work out better. It is never wrong to experiment and try new things, and it is certainly better to be more open minded than narrowed in on one subjective matter. In my experience, stepping out of the comfort zone is not the most fun one could have. But for now, especially while we are still in school and weaving out errors, we should try to step out of the comfort zone as often as possible. It should not be to an extreme extent of doing something way out of line, but stepping out a little never hurts.

  18. Juan Landin March 24, 2017 at 8:12 am #

    Seth has made a great point with this article. People do worry too much about what is going on in the moment instead of what will be the outcome in the future. This has come because of our need to be successful; if we complete something in the moment then we feel as if we accomplished a goal and achieved success. However, if you look at the big picture, that thing you did in that moment may not contribute to helping you succeed in your future and more important goals. You see, most of the time when we have to do something and it is given a timeline or it is deemed urgent, then we immediately drop what we are doing in order to take care of that task. When in reality, someone or yourself may be telling you this just so you can get it done and out of the way. This way you do not have to worry about it later on.

    In a school situation, this dilemma can and does happen a lot. Every school assigns work to students that usually has a deadline. Now, if you are a student that procrastinates, then you will more than likely being doing this work a couple of day if not the night before it is due. However, in taking the time to do that work, you may sacrifice time out of your schedule for studying for the exam you are going to have tomorrow. This work is not worth a lot of points and will not significantly affect your grade, but this exam will. Though, most will do it because it will be “due tomorrow”’ and do not want to receive a bad grade on the assignment. In the big picture, a bad grade on a regular assignment may not heavily affect your grade but an exam will. You must forfeit the good grade on the assignment for the one on the exam because that exam grade may be detrimental to your course grade and could heavily affect you in the future.

    This can happen in a work environment too. Businesses are always trying to save money and this is understandable. The more money you save the more money you make. However, most of the time businesses do not look at the long-term effects of their decisions and only consider the amount of money they can save in the moment. For example, when businesses outsource. Outsourcing occurs when a business no longer employs people, in certain positions, from the country they are based out of and give the jobs to people overseas who will do the same amount of work but for a lot less money. To businesses, this may seem like a great plan for the short term. In the long term however, it may have detrimental effects on the business. If a business is known as a business that outsources, than this may deter potential employees from wanting to work there. When people look for a job one of the most important aspects of the position they are looking for is job security. A company that outsources many jobs would not look like a place that offers much job security. Another example can be found when businesses try to cut costs in other ways. Such as when businesses try to cut costs by disposing of their waste in a non-environmentally friendly way. As I said before, businesses are looking to cut costs everywhere. Though, by doing this they can detrimentally effect not only themselves, but the rest of the world as well. Although this may seem like a good idea in the moment, in the end it is not. Doing this may severely hurt our environment and if businesses are caught doing this then their reputation will be stained.

    Overall, to many of us tasks that need to be completed in the moment may seem important. If you look at it from the long term prospective, it may not seem important at all and I may even hurt you in the future.

  19. Anthony Laverde March 24, 2017 at 3:29 pm #

    The matter of urgent vs. important relies heavily on the individual mindset of the individual as well as how much of a personal connection the person has with the situation; however it is really a matter of time management and efficient planning. Both can be categorized under the Priority matrix, which classifies tasks under high importance and low importance, cross determined by high urgency and low urgency. This chart shows a direct correlation between the two, and then further breaks tasks down into: “Do First” “Do Next” “Do Later” and “Don’t Do.” Each action is determined by considering the degree of importance relative to the degree of urgency. However, it is important to keep in mind that both importance and urgency are not fixed statuses, and they are subject to change based on scenario and situation, which again, is to be determined by each individual situation. A useful skill involved with time management that will help properly manage both important and urgent tasks at the same time is the use of work delegation. Knowing how to delegate work is a great way to multitask and get multiple things done at once, and in a timely fashion(however, only multitask in a group, as doing so alone could prove counterproductive). Of course, this is not the only important factor. Among this skill, there are others that are vital to proper time management, including: Keeping tidy, Picking up movement, and eliminating bad habits like procrastination(this can be done by finding motivation to complete certain tasks). Among these skills, the most important is to keep things in perspective. This goes back to the original concern of important vs. urgent. At the end of the day, if a person has the skills, it is still up to them to view every situation for what it is, and that is the most important factor when determining a decision. For a more in depth insight on the topic, check out this article:

  20. Zion McMillan March 24, 2017 at 4:26 pm #

    In this article the author Seth Godin makes a unique point. Office settings around the country are changing from isolated cubicles to an open work space in an effort to promote the freedom to encourage employees to do work wherever it best suits them. There is some controversy over this technique, arguing that people are being forced to give up their privacy with this technique, but I can assure you that is not the intention. My dad actually runs an office with this style and he has said nothing but positives about it. By working this way there is a strong feeling of collaboration, open-mindedness, and productivity. My dad has said that this style of work has resulted directly in an increase in work output and an overall more positive energy in the workplace.
    I think that it is very important to experiment and try unconventional ways of working. Humans in modern times are looking at a computer screen or phone screen for literally hours a day, so having a large amount of face to face human interaction is important in today’s world. This style also forces employees to collaborate, eliminating the chance of ever not being on the same page. Open work spaces make everyone a little more comfortable and stress the importance of group work, which is becoming more and more the center of what working means today. Very rarely in the 2017 corporate world will you see one person working on one project by themselves in isolation. In today’s day and age everything revolves around how well a team can work together and bounce ideas and dialogue off of one another. Along with the open workspace you will also more often than not find a recreational center. Such a space encourages employees to stop for a moment and take a rest when they are feeling overwhelmed, and reinforces the concept of freedom in the office. In my opinion, the environment that an open workspace creates is nothing but positive and increases happiness, work ethic, collaboration, and independence from your boss.

  21. Nicholas Thomas March 24, 2017 at 5:42 pm #

    As always Seth purposes an interesting philosophical dilemma in very few and precise words. It is kind of funny, that from the extremely short article Seth posts, we as a class can expand upon his ideas in journals three times longer than Seth’s initial post and all have differing interpretations and opinions of Seth’s post.
    In this article, Seth raises the issue of urgent issues versus important issues. An urgent issue is something that calls for immediate attention. An important issue is something of great significance, but not necessarily immediate attention. Seth’s opinion is that people focus on getting urgent issues finished rather than important issues because people are afraid to fail. The urgent, because we are acquainted with it, does not scare us and actually makes us feel accomplished as if we are moving forward. Important issues are scary because they are the unknown, ask us to do thing we are not comfortable with, or allow the possibility of failure. Generally speaking, people are fearful of the important because they may fail. Urgent matters, which make people feel good about themselves, provide an immediate sense of gratification as if people are growing instead of actually promoting growth. There is no long-term goal in urgent issues.
    For example take the life of the average college student, a class of individuals I argue understand urgency better than most people because it is their constant state. College students are in a constant state of urgency. For the most part, college students delay doing their assignments until the last day or two before the due date. In those last two days, the students are extremely stressed, most likely loose sleep, and have no time to do other work. As a result, the students’ work load builds up till the point that when they hand in their current urgent assignments, other work takes place of those prior assignments. This cycle of delaying work, stress, and more work is a constant for most students, but it is “easy” for college students. College students know how to “wing it” and can finish urgent work without real strain. However, since many college students are in a constant state of urgency they have no time for important matters. For example, that reading assignment due the next day may be urgent, but what about going to career fairs, building up one’s resume, networking, finding internships, or building on skills for a career. There is no immediate gratification in doing the previously mentioned work so the average college student may not even think about them.
    People need to start focusing on important issues to allow for long-term goals. Seth writes that people should be “finishing [their] dissertation,” but after college there is no “I will finish that later.” You either did the important work or you did not. If you lay off the important work, the important work will lay you off. It is vital to work on important issues before they become urgent so one can work towards long-term goals. From my experience, one has to anticipate work, and continuously change his or her methods of anticipating the important because if his her methods become habit then one gets use to the important like the urgent.

  22. Erin Carunchio March 24, 2017 at 7:28 pm #

    After reading this article, I realized that there is a difference between important and urgent. The author is explaining to us the different levels of priority. When something is urgent, it means it requires immediate attention. When something is important, it means it in great significance or value. So what is the difference between these two? Urgent to me sounds more serious. It requires attention right that second, so it needs to get down now. Important is more the higher up the task I need to do is on my list, the more important is. When something is Urgent, it can be important too. However, when something is important, it necessarily does not have to be urgent. It does not have to be down right away. Being a college student, I see my work changing from urgent to important daily. When it comes to Friday, I look at all my work due in the upcoming week, I decided which ones are more important, and therefore I do them first. However, I know every Friday 3 course blog comments are due for BLAW so that because urgent, I do that right away. I tend to do more things urgent. In college, we have so much going on with school work, classes and social activities that its hard to handle everything. We find ourselves (more then we like) waiting the last minute to do something and when its almost the deadline we are rushing to get it done. That is an example of urgent. Doing something that needs to be done right now because its due in an hour. I feel like that is a common occurrence among college kids. The author explains how people do the more urgent things first then the important ones. I think that is true. Especially in kids that are in school, we are so hung up on that deadline that we will not worry about how important it is. When a due date or time approaches, our goal is to make sure we hand in the assignment before the due date or time. However, sometimes we do need to go by importance. The more important an assignment is, there is a sign that it needs the most work put into it. I see myself sometimes due that. Even If the due date is farther then all my other assignments, I will at least start my most important one. Personally, I think it all depends on the person, doing something because of urgent or Importance. As long as everyone gets the job done, it should not really matter.

  23. Adis Hoti September 21, 2017 at 8:01 pm #

    Seth Godin’s article “The why of urgent vs. important,” discusses how the important is pushed over in order to attend the urgent. Individuals fear the urgent and are nervous for the important. The urgent creates a sense of fear because the deadline is fast approaching. Most people think the important can just be done at another time. Godin says, “The reason we go for urgent is that it makes us feel competent,” meaning that we can handle things that must be done right away. The uncertainty of the future is what we struggle to accomplish.
    Godin’s article had me question the choices I have made in my past. The way I prioritize my work can definitely be done differently. Urgent assignments should not arise as often as they do for me, however, they do. These assignments cause lots of stress and tension on our minds. We should not allow assignments to become urgent. To avoid having assignments become urgent we must simply do our work at a reasonable time. I am nowhere near perfect, but I am trying to better myself. One of the things you have taught us professor, is to not leave assignments for last minute. Situations arise where we are forced to push over important for urgent.
    The important should not be pushed over. If we view everything as urgent while keeping in mind how important they are then things will be done successfully. What I mean by that is that we have to make a better schedule for our work, events, activities that will allow us to complete everything in a timely manner. Pushing over important events can have a negative effect on our future. Putting together a strong resume that is due in a month is important but not urgent, so most people push it over until completing the resume becomes urgent. This causes people including myself, to hand in work that just is not our best.
    Failing to prioritize our work and push over the important will hold us back in life. Handing in rushed assignments will hold us back from receiving opportunities to further improve ourselves. The same applies for work, creating a schedule to complete all of your work in timely matter will help us succeed. Some of the things we can do to help complete all of our work in a timely matter is doing the work when it is assigned. If we do our work right away, then urgent never arises. Working under pressure often causes a person to rush and ultimately make mistakes. Mistakes are what we want to avoid in these situations. Getting our work out of the way early also will help relieve us of stress.
    Doing work right away will eliminate the urgent vs. important issues that arise. Doing work right away will eliminate the chances of work becoming urgent and will allow you to treat the work with the importance it deserves. Godin’s article has opened my eyes on this issue and has influenced me to try and prioritize my events better be creating a schedule.

  24. Greg D'Ottavi October 27, 2017 at 4:35 pm #

    Time management is possibly the most important aspect of success in my opinion. Seth Godin touches upon the difference between urgent and important in this blog post and it caused me to rethink my time management. Godin entails that humans push off the “important” tasks in order to complete those we deem as “urgent”. However, there may not be a difference to someone on the outside looking in, but we all know when something is urgent and needs to be completed now. Godin says the reason why we choose urgent over important is because “it makes us feel competent. We are good at it. We didn’t used to be, but we are now.” I completely agree with this comment because that is exactly what happens every time I leave something until the last minute. After finishing an important assignment that became urgent because I did it at the last minute, I feel better about myself. Finishing something last minute makes you feel like you accomplished a more difficult feat than if you had done the work in a timely manner. I do not know why this happens, but it acts as a sort of procrastination circle. After completing an assignment last minute, it makes you feel as though you can continue to do so and therefore continuing to choose the urgent over the important.
    Something that I truly wish to improve upon is avoiding the procrastination circle that I have created for myself. Unfortunately, I still have problems with waiting until the last minute, but this article made an interesting point and forced me to realize the problem with that. By choosing not to use my time wisely, I am only hurting myself in the long run. Instead of choosing the urgent over the important, I need to manage all of my important tasks and finish them before they become urgent. In the cases where I have not waited until the last minute to complete a particular assignment, I realize how much better I feel than if I had waited until the last minute. I wish I had better time management and always chose to do my work in a timely matter because in a college setting, the workload can easily become overwhelming. Once you have fallen behind on a couple assignments in a class, it can become very difficult to recover and it makes for a much more stressful lifestyle. As I continue learning as a college student, it is becoming clear that if I want to achieve the grades I know I am capable of; it is going to require more effort and better time management.
    Urgent matters will always exist in my life, but I understand the difference between important and urgent and hope that I can change my working process accordingly. If it is possible to finish something before it becomes urgent, I need to do so because it is a recipe for disaster if I continue waiting until the last minute. Godin has given me food for thought as I continue along my college career and I am certain that a change will come whether I like it or not if I want to succeed.

  25. Brian Ayoub October 27, 2017 at 8:16 pm #

    As a second year college student, I feel like I have learned about what does and does not work in order to succeed as a student. For me, having a structured schedule helps me more than doing things randomly. That is why the concept of “urgent vs. important,” is very important to manage as you enter into college. By being able to manage the important things along with the urgent things, you are able to succeed and better manage your time. However, if you prioritize the important over the urgent, you will struggle and get behind on your studies. The worst thing that you can do to your self is get behind in your studies because it puts a lot of unneeded pressure on you. To stay ahead of your work, you must put the urgent ahead of the important. Although the urgent maybe more challenging to deal with, it will help you in the long run. The long run is what matters according the article. The article states, “You know you should be focusing on the long-term journey, on building out the facility, signing up new customers or finishing your dissertation.” Another reason why you should focus on the urgent is that you feel more competent afterwards. You feel as if you have achieved a feat much more impressive than it actually was, just because it was more pressure. There is a ton of fear and uncertainty with urgent, however, it allows to be more productive. If the task is only important and not urgent, you may not have the motivation to take care of it, causing you to fall behind. The main thing is to find your balance of urgent vs. important. From there, you will be able to master your most efficient methods or work and productivity.

  26. Tori Breazeale April 6, 2018 at 10:16 pm #

    Time management is essential, especially for college students. One must earn their grades in order to obtain the internship, the job, and the career of their choosing. All are categorized as important. I do agree that the term often associates itself with fear and remedy. It is the need factor of the mold, generally followed by a constant want. It is the necessary. I am currently juggling between being a full-time student, an intern for a reputable company, and a part-time expeditor at a fine dining restaurant. I want to go to school because I need a career. I want to be an intern because I need the experience to obtain my degree. I want to go to work because I need the money. It is easy, however, to slip due to things considered dire and urgent. Things considered may be the call from your girlfriend who is having family troubles in the midst of your studying; the call from your job that cries to you about how they are short-staffed so you pick up an extra shift; or the chip in your nail that prompts a salon appointment. Necessity and desire (although can go hand-in-hand) are different. The activities previously mentioned are more associated with unexpected occurrences rather than planned priorities. You are prompted to shift your responsibilities for a feeling of reward even when focusing on your studies for that big exam.
    Nothing generally goes as planned. In current events of my life, I can relate to this blog. It is the most surreal piece of writing I have encountered. My parents and I debate what is most important and how I can avoid overprioritizing and/or spreading myself too thin. It provides me a sense of accomplishment as I seek to be a reliable member of society. We all want to make impressions but sometimes the most important one is what we leave with ourselves. The future smile spread across my face in regard to earning my accounting degree will be a picture moment and worthwhile.

  27. Justin T October 11, 2018 at 11:19 am #

    In the first week of my Management class this year our professor split up the board into four different categories pertaining to urgent and important. The purpose of this exercise was really for us to understand in our daily lives the tasks we view as urgent and the tasks we viewed as important. It was amazing to see how many tasks in our daily lives that we viewed as urgent and not important, and then looking at how many of the important tasks we really accomplished on a day to day or week to week basis. Setting long term goal is a very important task that everyone should set out to do, that being said if you put off all the important tasks for urgent tasks you will never reach your goals. Important tasks are really the tasks that set the foundation for completing a longer assignment or further tasks, these important tasks allow us to get ahead on projects and much more. In my life an important task would be applying for internships. It’s not an urgent task because there will always be jobs out their but if I don’t apply to them I will never reach my goal of where I want to be.

    I really connected with this article when thinking about my experience this past summer working an internship. Every of often my boss would give me an important long term project to do, but it never seemed to every get done. Why? Because he would then slam me with urgent tasks that had to be done then and there, and then when he would ask me about that other project he handed me a few weeks later I would explain to him I didn’t get much jump on it as you had me working on really long urgent tasks that you said must be completed right away. In the end the point is sometimes you need to take a step back and understand what is really important and what is not. Sometimes even though things are urgent you must fit in important tasks to balance your life and be able to put a good foundation of work moving forward.

  28. Jessica Forsthoffer October 12, 2018 at 7:16 pm #

    This short article packs a powerful message that we don’t often consider in our day to day lives. We confuse tasks and activities as important when they are simply just urgent, but don’t hold as much significance. This is a challenge we all face every day that we don’t even think about because it is so far back in our subconscious since we do it so often. Looking further into this, I found that it has been named “The Eisenhower Principle” because Dwight D. Eisenhower mentioned it in a 1954 speech to the Second Assembly of the World Council of Churches. He distinguished between urgent and important activities by saying that important activities help us to achieve our goals, and urgent activities are demanding attention immediately, and usually are associated with achieving the goals of others. The article mentions that we choose urgent things over important things because accomplishing them quickly and under pressure makes us feel good about ourselves. I often find myself writing down a to-do list and listing small tasks I know I will complete just because I can cross them off the list and I feel like I have accomplished something, even though I would’ve done it whether it was on the list or not. I tend to push off the important things because the urgent tasks are more time sensitive and can be done quickly. This article made me reconsider what I prioritize and why I organize these tasks as so. Humans want to feel accomplishment, no matter how great or small, and sometimes we falsely prioritize things when we shouldn’t. This could go two ways: we either don’t want do the important things because they could result in failure or they are difficult, or, we put the tasks we must do for others first because we have a need to please other people. Personally, I put urgent tasks before my own because I do not want to try at the important ones to potentially struggle or not perform up to standards or expectations. Minor, urgent tasks are simpler to get done faster and leave me with the same feeling of accomplishment. I have noticed this issue more so with one of my roommates lately, as she is very busy with schoolwork as well as her job and being the president of multiple organizations. She has expressed to me how she has so much work to do for class and for her organizations, but she puts smaller tasks such as responding to emails and planning for her organizations first, before schoolwork. I have told her to put her schoolwork first because in the long run, that is most important, and assignments have deadlines and expectations that must be met. Emails, while urgent, are not as important and can wait until it is convenient for you to respond. Overall, it is understandable that it can be difficult to completely rearrange/reprioritize your life when an urgent task is thrust upon you and you are busy with important tasks. I believe that in time we can all condition ourselves to put ourselves first and accomplish the things that really mean something to us before completing trivial tasks that can only benefit others and to avoid immediate consequence.

  29. Halli Schwartz October 25, 2018 at 5:36 pm #

    In life, we all have a to-do list. In my personal list, there is a list of things I need to do within the next few weeks. Whether it is a project to complete, a small homework assignment, or a test to study for, in my mind, these things are urgent. They are deadlines that are coming up, and they need to be completed quickly and efficiently. However, in the long run, how important are these things really to my future? In the article, “The why of urgent vs. important,” the author touches upon my question. “You know you should be focusing on the long-term journey, on building out the facility, signing up new customers or finishing your dissertation. But instead, there’s a queue of urgent things, all justifiable, all requiring you and you alone to handle them” (Godin 1-2)”. This is truly a struggle I seem to face, but have not quite realized until I read this article. I have a long list of things that need to be completed in the near future, and I will most likely receive a repercussion if I do not do what is currently urgent in my life. However, are these really the most important things for my life and my future? Should I get hung up on a homework problem that I cannot wrap my head around, or should I apply for an internship to streamline my career path? I feel as if my mind, as well as many other college students’ is focused on the now, rather than the future. Our focus gets blinded on due dates and exams, rather than building a career, and preparing for our futures. The now is accessible. It is made up of small things that will not totally impact our lives. However, the important things, the things that will really impact our future, are kind of terrifying. I was discussing with my friend just this week how we are terrified to grow up, and face our futures, whether this be getting a job, or supporting a future family. And this, as discussed in the article, is the reason why we avoid the important, and focus on the urgent. “Important, on the other hand, is fraught with fear, with uncertainty and with the risk of failure” (Godin 5). It is terrifying to think about the fact that you could have got a college education, secured your dream job, and built a family, but have somehow failed in the process. In other words, the fear of the unknown and failing to live out your dreams is quite a large one for many people. However, after recognizing this fear, it should be one’s action to confront his or her fear face to face, and get through it. They should prepare for the unknown, because then it becomes less unknown, and less scary. I, too, need to do this. I need to overcome my fear of the important, and face it head on. The next time I am stuck on a homework problem, I will stop and see how insignificant it is to my future, and instead go look at the internship I have been thinking about.

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