We are in week #6 of Memorable Quotes. The following quote is one that might be known to you. It has been used in business, military and personal life. It has been used to help people organize and prioritize their lives.
“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” (Dwight Eisenhower)
If anyone had reason to make this statement, it was Eisenhower. He was the 34th President of the United States from 1953 until 1961. Before becoming President, he served as a general in the United States Army and as the Allied Forces Supreme Commander during World War II. He also later became NATO’s first supreme commander. He had to make tough decisions continuously about which of the many tasks he should focus on each day.
We waste a lot of time, mental energy and effort on things that do not move us towards what is ultimately most important to us. What I have found useful in deciding how to plan is actually something called the Eisenhower method. It goes simply like this:
Priority 1 are those things that are both important AND urgent. Get these things done.
Priority 2 are those things that are important but not urgent. Make a decision on when to do these things. Schedule them. Make them happen.
Priority 3 are those things that are urgent but not important. Delegate these if you can. Do them when you cannot make movement on priorities 1 and 2.
Priority 4 are those things that are neither urgent nor important. Honestly, these should probably never get done.
This requires honesty on what is really important and not shying away from these things because they are uncomfortable or require risk. I have found that if what is important is a large task, then breaking it down into smaller units is helpful for moving the ball forward. Otherwise it is too easy to be overwhelmed.
When I get to the end of any day, week, year (or ultimately at the end of my life) I want to know that I have put my utmost into what lasts.
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