“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important” – quote by Eisenhower.
Great time management means being effective as well as efficient. Managing time effectively, and achieving the things that you want to achieve, means spending your time on things that are important and not just urgent. To do this, and to minimize the stress of having too many tight deadlines, you need to understand this distinction:
- Important activities have an outcome that leads to the achievement of your goals.
- Urgent activities demand immediate attention, and are often associated with the achievement of someone else’s goals.
Urgent activities are often the ones we concentrate on. These are the “squeaky wheels that get the grease.” They demand attention because the consequences of not dealing with them are immediate. (excerpt above from Mindtools.com)
In the context of meetings, this dilemma becomes larger as your event comes closer.
- Stay calm.
- Focus on your to-do list.
- Shrink your “inner circle” of advisors.
This is the time when you get to make “executive decisions” on what can and should be done. Go with your instinct. Delay responses if you can and carry on with your plan. If you have responsibility for getting the event or project done, then you must do what you think is right, or at least choose the best option for the group as a whole.
Your determination and focus will be rewarded – in the end it takes leadership to get the job done.
For further study, check Steven Covey’s Urgent/Important Matrix.
Laurie Daschuk, BA is a meeting facilitator with Stop the Presses