Urgent vs Important Matrix

September 16, 2021
BY: Adam Kent

Using Time Effectively & Managing Priorities

What if I told you that using a calendar and to-do list is comparable to a white belt in martial arts. It’s one of the first lessons in becoming a black belt in how to manage your time. Change will take some time, patience, commitment, and newly acquired skills.

Speaking generally, people are so stuck in the loop of “I have no time” that even when solutions are presented, many of us won’t, or can’t do what’s necessary to get it back.

Time stressors are one of the most pervasive sources of pressure and they happen as a result of having too much to do, or at least feeling that way. With this kind of pressure all too common, effective time management is an absolute necessity.

You probably use a day-planner and to-do list right now. These tools are certainly helpful, yet they don’t allow us to drill down to one of the most essential elements of good time management: Distinguishing between task’s that are urgent & important. Urgent & not important, not urgent & important, or not urgent & not important.

Great time management means being effective and efficient. To do this, and to minimize the stress of having too many tight deadlines, you need to distinguish clearly between what is:

• Important: Activities that have an outcome that leads to the achievement of your goals.
• Urgent: Activities that demand immediate attention.

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.


Now that you are clear on what defines each area of the urgent/important matrix, use the template below to create a game plan on what is urgent and important for you to accomplish. GOOD LUCK!

Download the Urgent vs Important Matrix Template PDF