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The Urgent-Important Matrix

“There is nothing quite so useless, as doing with great efficiency, something that should not be done at all.” (Peter Drucker)

Every leader, manager or busy priest will benefit from contemplation of the chart below.

In the upper left hand section are listed items that need to be dealt with immediately. They might also include family emergencies or hard deadlines for important projects or tasks. Most priests will have a few of these each day, often resulting in a reshuffled schedule.

In the upper right hand section are found urgent items that are important but do not require immediate attention. However, these are some of the most important items that a leader, manager or priest must plan for and accomplish. These are the long term achievement goals. They may also include prayer, reading, spiritual reflection or meditation, continuing education, exercise and maintaining relationships with family and friends.

The lower left hand quadrant are urgent but unimportant items which ideally need to be minimized, eliminated or delegated. These are the “poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part” variety of tasks, as well as phone calls that are off topic and junk email that needs a quick response because it is time sensitive. Dispensing with these will significantly improve effectiveness.

In the bottom right are found those items that are both unimportant and not urgent. This is the place where procrastination, attention deficient disorder, compulsive behavior and temporizing lives. Other time wasters include mindless web browsing, too much surfing of the 800 channels of cable television, watching cute animal videos on Facebook or playing one of the thousand apps designed to take your attention hostage.

The chart below, which is downloadable as a PDF file may serve as a useful exercise for the reader. With some preparation it might also be utilized as a parish council exercise concerning parish activities, parish council meetings or future goals and objectives.


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