Important Vs Urgent

Important Vs Urgent

Last week my web-site was hacked by crooks trying to ‘phish’ information from unsuspecting European bank customers. How this happened is a classic case of Important vs Urgent.

A number of people have written on this topic. Here is a quote from Dwight Eisenhower…

“What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important.”

Making sure my web-site was as secure as possible was something I knew was important but on Friday it became urgent! If I had dealt with the ‘important’ before it was ‘urgent’ I would have had less stress and people on the other side of the world might not have been potentially put at risk of cyber criminal activity (at least not involving me anyway).

Fitting new tyres to your car is important when they are getting low on tread however it becomes urgent when you are trying to avoid a pedestrian who suddenly steps out in front of you onto a wet road!

If your life seems to be going from crisis to crisis, i.e. urgent situations prevail, it’s most likely because you do not have the correct time balance in your life and you are ignoring important things while spending your time on unimportant activities.

If you look at the examples of the four possible ways you could mix ‘Important’ and ‘Urgent’ below you will see what this is about.

Q1 Urgent and Important – Tending to your child who just arrived home from school and slipped on cooking oil and split his head open on the stove, Cleaning up the spilt cooking oil and blood from the kitchen floor, Calling the fire brigade because your dinner caught fire while you were tending to your injured child and cleaning up the cooking oil and blood. Paying the overdue bills that you would have paid (just) on time the night before but you got distracted when chaos broke out!

Q2 Not Urgent but Important – Paying the bills today that are due tomorrow, cleaning up the spilt cooking oil before the kids get home from school, Saving for the future, Exercising, Replacing worn tyres before they are illegal and dangerous.

Q3 Urgent but not Important – Answering the phone, Responding to a friend’s funny comment on FaceBook,

Q4 Not Urgent and Not Important – Watching sport, posting a photo on Facebook, browsing eBay or YouTube.


Urgent vs Important

The Urgent vs Important diagram

We all look forward to Quadrant 4 type activities which are Not Urgent and Not Important. We will get to have more of these once we stop having to deal with Urgent Important activities. The secret is to spend deliberate and sufficient time in the Not Urgent but Important zone so you stop the crises from occurring.

My friend Chris Freeman from Balanced Wealth Creation has identified 12 important areas in life you must focus on regularly. You can ignore them for a time, but if you do you will eventually pay attention to them urgently in crisis mode rather than in comfort mode.

E.g. Health and Fitness is one of the 12. If you neglect health and fitness, one day you will find yourself in a crisis on the operating table having urgent life saving heart surgery.

The other 11 important areas can be found at Chris runs a program where he takes people regularly and cyclically through these 12 important topics to keep them in the important but not urgent quadrant.

The secret is to always operate in Quadrant 2, The Important but Not Urgent zone.

Another example would be using the Simply Budgets software which allows you to manage your finances in Quadrant 2.

Having a spending plan that makes money available for all the important expenses you know you will encounter in the future means you have taken care of the important expenses before they become urgent.

Having money set aside for regular bills as well as for replacing items such as your car, refrigerator and washing machine also means there will be no chaos or stress when the time comes for replacing these important items and will ensure you don’t end up in unnecessary consumer debt.


And as for me and my web-site, I have now moved from the urgent important zone of quadrant 1 to the non-urgent but important zone of quadrant 2.


Dealing with suspicious e-mails

Just as an important adjunct to today’s post; you should ignore ALL e-mails asking you to verify any of your personal or account details ‘period’.

Secondly you should never click on a link in an e-mail unless you know who sent you the e-mail AND you are sure they sent it to you (crooks can send e-mails to you from your friend’s e-mail address).

Be especially careful of emails from service providers such as FaceBook, Ebay, PayPal, Twitter etc as these are frequently targeted by crooks trying to con you. Some of the emails they send out look very genuine indeed so be suspicious of all mail that appears to come from these and similar service providers.

For more information about how to avoid being scammed online have a look at

That’s all for now

Till next time,

David Wright