I sometimes have to remind myself to focus on the non-urgent critical tasks, rather than the urgent non-critical tasks. When prioritising what to do next, distinguishing between urgent and critical helps me a lot:
- Urgent critical tasks need to be done now. These usually have no problems of being prioritised.
- Non-urgent critical tasks are important to get done, but can wait a while. For example next months taxes, getting some freelance projects for income, taking basic care of the body by exercising, cleaning kitchen, etc. – these can end up very postponed if not careful.
- Urgent non-critical tasks includes replying to most emails, phone etc., going to a class, getting something on sales. Has a tendency to seem more important in the moment due to its urgency, even though other things are more important to get done.
- Non-urgent non-critical tasks are usually easy to sort out when prioritising.
A simple tool for sorting this out, when having a lot of tasks is to draw two lines to split a paper into four quadrants, – the critical at the top, and the urgent on the left, and then write each task in the appropriate quadrant.