Urgent or Priority?

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[vimeo id="128895252"] Several years ago, Stephen Covey published a book called 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. One of the first things he focuses on is the difference between things that are urgent and things that are important. Many of us live our lives from one urgent thing to another. This can be frustrating and emotionally and physically draining. However, we can never move past the frantic cycle of the urgent unless we can distinguish between the urgent and the important. Here are three differences between things that seem urgent and things that are actually important.

First, urgent things are focused on things that are present and priorities are focused on the future. Something is urgent because you need to do it now. Its only effect is in the present. Priorities, on the other hand, are future-oriented. Your priority might be creating an innovative, empowering environment. You can’t do that while you’re sending dozens of emails every couple of hours, so you may need to empower your team to take care of that urgent task while you focus on the priorities.

Second, the urgent depends on circumstances and priorities transcend circumstances. Like the previous point, the urgent is focused on dealing with the present circumstances that surround you. This is how many unimportant things suddenly become very urgent. However, priorities will always be important regardless of the situation. For example at Southeastern University, our priority will always be our students and how we can best serve them. That is the number one goal of our faculty and staff. If we loose focus of that priority we will lose our mission. Setting the right priorities in your own life and in your organization will keep you on your missional path.

Lastly, urgent tasks drain you, priorities fill you. If you are constantly under pressure to be doing the urgent, it will slowly burn you out. Sending dozens of unimportant emails can make you feel like you’re spinning your wheels. On the other hand, when you make headway to accomplishing a priority, you feel like you’re really making a difference. Priorities come from your personal Divine Design, so when you fulfill them, you are actually realizing your potential.

Thanks for checking out my blog! I hope these words encourage and empower you on your journey through life. Please feel free to leave any thoughts or comments below. Thanks and have a great day!