Managing Time: What Is Important vs Urgent?

Posted by Practice Management Institute on Aug 16, 2019 3:15:18 PM
Practice Management Institute

To be effective time administrators, concentration must be focused on what is important rather than what is urgent.

Learning to concentrate on the important reduces crises mode and urgency addictions. The important eventually becomes urgent, so the strategy is to act on the important before it becomes urgent. 

Important things fall under seven key activities:

  • Improving communications with people
  • Better preparation
  • Better planning and organization
  • Taking better care of oneself
  • Seizing new opportunities
  • Personal development
  • Empowerment

When faced with deciding what is urgent and what is important, use the following diagram* to help prioritize and take action.

  Urgent Non-Urgent
Important Important tasks. You have to do them now.

1. DO

Urgent customer requests
Quality issue
Deadline driven project


Tasks you have to plan or they will become urgent


Relationship building
New opportunities
Strategic thinking | Improving systems


Not Important Tasks to delegate. Not value added tasks.


Some phone calls
Some emails/meetings
Interruptions | Distractions

Tasks to eliminate or they will become (3).


Busy work
Time wasters

*© 2011-2017 by EISENHOWER, a registered trademark by FTL3. All rights reserved.

The Importance of Delegation

Many office managers often want to control everything out of a misplaced sense of responsibility.  Delegation is the most effective time management tool. Do not be afraid to delegate responsibilities to others out of fear that it threatens your job.  If the employees you manage perform well, it reflects well on you. The true responsibility of a leader is to teach others and allow them to learn new skills. 

The rules of successful delegation are simple:

  • Give specific instructions for the job to be done, preferably in writing.
  • Monitor progress without “checking up” on them.
  • Set definite timelines for accomplishments and completion of tasks.
  • Give encouragement consistently.

Get More Time Management Tips

Download the recent ebook The Medical Office Manager's Guide to Time Management and get best practices to manage your, your staff’s, and your provider's time better. Start streamlining your office’s processes with a few changes and deliver best-in-class service to your patients.

Download Ebook

Topics: Practice management, time management, medical office manager topics, medical office staff

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