How to Master Your Time and Get More Done

by Thomas Oppong for Thrive Global

Oliver Emberton once said, “The secret to mastering your time is to systematically focus on importance and suppress urgency.”

It’s profound and so true. Urgency wrecks productivity. Urgent but unimportant tasks are major distractions. Last-minute distractions are not necessarily priorities. Sometimes important tasks stare you right in the face, but you neglect them and respond to urgent but unimportant things. You need to reverse that. It’s one the only ways to master your time.

Your ability to distinguish urgent and important tasks has a lot to do with your success. Important tasks are things that contribute to your long-term mission, values, and goals. Separating these differences is simple enough to do once, but doing so continually can be tough.

Jory MacKay of Crew explains:

Urgent tasks are tasks that have to be dealt with immediately.

These are things like phone calls, tasks with impending deadlines, and situations where you have to respond quickly. Responding to an email, when you have to do it, is usually an urgent task.

Important tasks are tasks that contribute to long-term missions and goals.

These are things like that book you want to write, the presentation you’d like to make for a promotion, and the company you plan on starting.

The problem is that important tasks usually get trumped by urgent tasks.

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