Important or Urgent Tasks – How Do You Decide?

By: AJE Recruiting Specialist

Important or Urgent Tasks – How Do You Decide?

Many employees – regardless of what field they work in – are faced daily with tasks that require immediate attention. But when you are saddled with multiple deadlines at work, how do you decide between those that are urgent; where not meeting deadlines may impact the business – and ultimately your success at work, from those that may be a priority, but do not require immediate attention.

Distinguishing between the two can be stressful. But there are many things you can do to help prioritize your work day.

Urgent tasks have immediate deadlines, period. These can be task that stem from a workplace crisis, where not responding immediately may impact the entire project, business goal or other success metrics. When an important task has switched over to the "urgent" category, your best approach is to concentrate your full attention here.

If you can, clear your calendar. Do not be sidelined by other tasks that have less of a priority. Communicate to your co–workers that you on an immediate deadline – thereby reducing any interruptions that will delay completion of the critical task.

Recognize that while you came into work with a different plan for your day, it has now shifted. Accept this and you will see that you can focus more clearly on the urgent task at hand, ultimately enabling you to do a better job.

Sometimes, however, you may be tasked with a project that you have decided was urgent, and in essence, is not. Take a step back when presented with an urgent request and determine if it really does require your immediate, undivided attention.

It’s not unusual for people to blur the lines between important and priority projects, especially if you are more prone to work in a fast–paced, stressful environment. If you treat every task that comes your way as urgent, you will find that you can sometimes become less productive; focusing on things that may not be important when looked at objectively.

Ultimately, there are always many factors that distinguish important issues over urgent ones, and sometimes you have control as to whether an important task becomes urgent. For instance, if you procrastinate on work projects and do not set clear deadline you will be confronted daily with an urgent workload.

In order to ensure that your days are not riddled with stress and looming deadlines, be sure to prioritize each day. You may find that you can reduce stress and eliminate the need to classify everything as urgent by this simple strategy.

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