Apart from efficiency and effectiveness, prioritizing job performance is one other way of time usage that is important for business. It is always a battle to distinguish between what is important and what is urgent. Some chores are at times urgent but not important while some others are important but not urgent. It is your duty to classify these jobs appropriately before executing them. You must do what is urgent and important first before you do any other thing. There appears to be some consensus among business gurus to the effect that “urgent things are seldom important, and important things are seldom urgent.” It is your duty to decide which is which from your work schedule and your time budget.
Let me illustrate this relationship with academic work as we all experienced when we were in school. Then, we were all expected to write our semester examinations at the end of every semester. If we were to write five courses in one semester, four weeks to the examinations, all the courses were important but not urgent. When the time-table came out two weeks to the examinations, all the courses were still important but some were then more urgent than others depending on the schedule. When the examinations began, any course we had written was no longer important. The nearer courses on the schedule were both urgent and important while the farther ones were important but less urgent. This was how we were able to manage our study schedule till the end of the examinations. All the papers we had written became less important and less urgent at the end of the examinations. If you made the mistake as it happened to some of my course mates, to study for a course not scheduled for a particular day, you just had to settle for a re-sit. There were no two ways about it. If you found yourself in such a situation, you must have made the mistake of making what is important but not urgent suddenly important and urgent. For this mistake, you found yourself writing an examination you did not prepare for. Chances of passing such examinations were always very remote. This is how it works even in business. You just have to know what is important and what is urgent, and then schedule your jobs to fit the situation.
Balancing is the key. Plan your work and prioritize your activities. This is the only way you can avoid spending your time doing unimportant but urgent things to the detriment of the important and urgent things you have to do. Wasted time automatically means wasted money. You therefore must be able to manage your time well if you hope to succeed in business. But can time really be managed?
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