Prioritizing In Time Management Systems

Let’s face it. 24 hours in a day is not enough time for many people to do everything in their schedule. It is therefore imperative that people perform their activities in the order of priority.
The art of prioritizing covers 4 major task groups:
  1. Important and Urgent
  2. Not Important but Urgent
  3. Not Urgent but Important
  4. Not Important and Not Urgent

Important and Urgent
These tasks are the ones that must be done right away, or consequences may result. An example would be bills that are due today. If you don’t pay your bills on time, you would incur additional charges or they might cut off their services to you. Activities belonging to this category need to be acted upon without delay. You should give them the highest priority.
The good news is that some of the tasks included in this category are simple enough and can be delegated to someone else, like buying grocery items for the party tonight. Outsourcing can be a very intelligent decision when it comes to taking care of manual jobs. If you can spare some money in exchange for your time (when you can do much more productive stuffs), then go for it. The rich treat their time more importantly than their money.

Not Important but Urgent
The significance of an activity falling in this category depends on the individual. For example, a 3-day super sale might not be important for some because the items on sale are things that they don’t necessarily need at present. (They might take advantage of the sale even when they think it’s not important because they just felt the urgency that this is a rare occasion and this might never happen again.) Whereas someone who always wants to buy a Harry Potter book but cannot previously afford one may treat a book sale as both important and urgent.
One thing you can do to determine its significance is to analyze the negative effects that may occur as a result of not doing it. If you consider the consequences too immaterial upon nonperformance of the task, then just don’t do it at all.

Not Urgent but Important
You might often put off tasks in this category, but these are the ones that require your attention more. These involve planning, organizing, and implementing your objectives.
The real danger in delaying these activities lies on the possibility that you may engage in more unimportant tasks that you see as more urgent. This would therefore eat up a lot more of your time. For example, instead of planning on how to increase your sales or minimize your expenses, you tend to put most of your time in entertaining customers (which, by the way, can be done by other people). Or worse, you may procrastinate (more of this in a later chapter) until you realize that you’ve not been doing any activity under this category for a long time now.
Give these tasks high priority. You may not immediately realize the advantages of accomplishing them, but the benefits in the long run is worth the efforts you will be pouring into them.

Not Important and Not Urgent
You might think activities in this section are not worth people’s time, so they won’t engage in these activities much. Think again. You would be surprised to know that people spend most of their time doing things that are both unimportant and non-urgent, such as watching TV and movies, playing video games, senseless chatting for hours on the phone, shopping for new clothes, etc.
Of course, it is essential for people to relax and unwind once in a while. ”All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” as they say. But you should be strict in limiting your time for these activities; that is, if you really want to accomplish a lot in your life.
Treat activities belonging to this section with the lowest priority. If you really want to succeed, strictly limit your time in doing these activities or don’t do them at all. Focus on those that will bring you fruitful results.

Numbered Priority Tactic
Here’s one of the most powerful techniques that you can use to manage your time efficiently – the Numbered Priority Tactic.
Buy a very small notebook that you can put in your pocket. You should be able to bring it anywhere you go. At the front page of the notebook, put the title: Important and Urgent. At the back page, put the title: Important but Not Urgent.
If an idea or event you encounter is Urgent but Not Important, then forget it. You want to utilize your time well, won’t you? If you think it’s significant in some way, then you may put it under Important and Urgent. Ignore Not Important and Not Urgent tasks.
Every time something comes up during your daily work or on your mind, put it in the appropriate page of your little notebook. So let’s say your boss told you to submit a report due tomorrow. Write it down on your notebook under Important and Urgent. Then your friend told you that there’s a big 2-day sale at the downtown furniture store. You may put it under Important and Urgent if you simply must have that furniture you’re drooling for months. But if you think your house would do fine without it, then don’t write it anymore. As you’re walking down the street you suddenly thought of a great new idea for your part-time business. You may put it under Important but Not Urgent.
As the day goes on, write down each and every idea, thought, or event that comes to your mind. As the list increases in each category, examine each of them carefully and start numbering each item in the order of priority - with 1 being the highest priority. Start working on Number 1, and never go to Number 2 until you’re done with Number 1 for each category. If distractions come about, you may take care of them first but always come back to your numbered list when you’re done.
Because priorities may change, you may switch or change the numbers of the items in the list. You may also transfer one item from Important and Urgent to Important but Not Urgent, and vice-versa. When you do any changes, make sure your notebook stays clean. Transfer your writings to a new page when you see that it’s getting untidy. Start off with a new page every day.
This method can enable you to achieve more in one week than what most people can accomplish in a month. The important thing you must do is to buy that little notebook and to start doing this super tactic right now! Time is running fast. 


  1. As a chronic procastinator, posts like this are incredibly useful.

    Then again, as a procastinator my natural instinct is to simply read it later. Ha!

  2. "Then again, as a procastinator my natural instinct is to simply read it later. Ha! "

    I was about to say that!

  3. procrastination has saved me a many of times i love waiting til the last minutes

  4. but procrastination is not that bad at all, leisure is the mother of philosophy. And after some years of not doing anything, you can be a great philosopher easily :D

  5. Going to implement these tips into my daily routine to see whether I can get rid of this lazyness and improve some aspects. Thanks!


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