2.3.3 Sorting out the important

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2.3.3 Sorting out the important

Topic Progress:

We will feel overwhelmed and stressed when everything we have on our plates feels equally important and urgent – when we cannot distinguish what is most important from the least important stuff.

In our last 2 topics we drilled down on what is important to us and our organisation.  In this one I share a tool that will help you sort the important from the unimportant, the urgent from the non-urgent – and understand the difference.

“always saying ‘no’ to something. If it isn’t to the apparent, urgent things in your life, it is probably to the more fundamental, highly important things” (p. 157 – 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey). 


Download the worksheets:

  • Considering your definition of ‘important’, list what you are doing in each quadrant in terms of your job.  Consider the organisation’s mission and strategic directions; staff and patient needs; your role in developing the capacity of yourself, your team and ensuring their efforts are amplified (developing and reviewing systems, processes and practices).
  • Circle the things that seem to take up most of your time.
  • Using a different colour, circle the things that you spend most of your time on to best achieve the important stuff – like yours and your organisation’s mission and values.
  • If there is a difference what might stop you from changing this mix?
  • What could you do instead?
  • Over the next week, log what you spend time on in your diary.  How does this compare to what you estimated? Are you satisfied with how you are spending time? If not, what would you need to change?


Management_activity_recorder Time_management_matrix Management_activity_recorder




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