Important vs Urgent

Important vs Urgent

Important vs. Urgent. How do you decide? According to, Important means of great significance or consequence, while urgent means compelling or requiring immediate action. Both demand your attention.

Here are some examples of each:

Urgent Items

  • Meeting a crucial deadline for a key opportunity
  • Dealing with a critical HR issue
  • Responding to false online claims

Important Items

  • Developing your strategic plan
  • Identifying your quarterly goals
  • Developing (or updating) the incentive plan for your commercial team

One may argue, and rightfully so, that some items are both urgent and important. I have found a useful tool that helps me decide where to focus. It is a simple four-block quadrant.

If I map my competing priorities on this chart, I can quickly see where I need to focus. Obviously the Urgent & Important items should get my attention first.

Sometimes we let the urgent win over the important. We convince ourselves that because we are meeting urgent demands, we are focusing on the right things. I submit that sometimes the Important but Not Urgent gets the short-end of our time and focus. These can be things like:

·         Exercise

·         Sleep

·         Getting an annual physical

·         Stepping back to take stock of where you are against your personal and professional goals

·         Taking time to analyze your current business strategy to see if it is working

Too often we busy ourselves with things that we consider urgent when they may not be at all. We create an inflated sense of urgency to make ourselves feel better about being busy. In the long run, the important items, those items of great significance or consequence, will have a much more lasting impact – positively or negatively – depending on whether we invest in them or ignore them.

I challenge you to stop and take a real assessment of your time. Do you spend it on the urgent or the important or both?

Addressing challenges with your sales process or CRM may not be urgent, but it is most certainly important. Call on the experts at TopLine Results to get the advice and assistance you need: 1-800-880-1960 or

About the Author
Melanie R. Varin specializes in 
business process consulting
 for organizations across many industries. With more than 30 years of business expertise, Melanie focuses on providing clients with winning strategies for improving their sales, marketing and overall business processes from assessment to implementation.

Melanie’s certifications include: Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Silver Certified Microsoft partner and Registered Salesforce partner.


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