|How to Prioritize a Task|
Writers deal with shifting priorities all the time. If we have children, we put their needs before just about anything else. A spouse often comes before our needs. We face deadlines with books, with blog posts, with friends' expectations... you name it. There are always things tugging at us. Asking us to decide which is more important.
How do we decide? By putting them into a chart like the one shown here. There are four quadrants: Important, Not Important, Urgent, Not Urgent.
Important implies something that must be done, but perhaps not this moment. Urgent means it's something that must be done now. Not important means it can wait until a better time. Perhaps nothing bad will happen if we don't do it at all, or at least the consequence is something we can live with. Not urgent means it should be done, but can be put off.
What's the difference? An urgent task has a looming deadline or one that has passed. It can have a significant impact on your life. Important tasks don't have a deadline, but they have an impact anyway. Urgency is associated with time and impact. Importance is associated more with impact.
So how do you decide what to do first? Consider whether the task at hand has a deadline. Must it be done right now? Paying the light bill by a certain date to keep the lights on is an urgent task. Changing a burned out light bulb might be important if it means you can't see to pay the light bill.
Think of the Urgent and Important tasks as putting out fires. They are extremely important. Things could get worse if they are not handled now.
Important but Not Urgent tasks are things we do to be proactive. We can do them at a pace that allows us to spend "quality time" on them, without rushing. But they must be done.
Urgent but Not Important tasks are things we have to do right now (answering the phone) but that you might be able to shuffle a bit.
Not Urgent and Not Important tasks are things we do that don't add to our goals, such as shopping, playing a game, even some driving. These are more "time wasters" than productive items.
Plug a few tasks into this chart and see how they fall. If they are not urgent and not important, they can wait. The urgent and important can not. Determine where your tasks fall in this chart and you will be well on your way to prioritizing your next task.
Kayelle Allen is the founder of Marketing for Romance Writers. She is a multi-published, award-winning author, and the owner of The Author's Secret, an author support company. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include contemporary characters, futuristic immortals, covert agents, and warriors who purr.
Unstoppable Heroes Blog http://kayelleallen.com/blog
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