It is so easy to confuse urgent with important. Things that need done quickly usually fill our day, while things that are important tend to just slip by undone. It is hard, but surviving in business requires learning to prioritize important OVER urgent. Important has its own way of becoming urgent, usually when you are about to go broke.
Urgent things are client demands, project deadlines, emails, voicemails, etc. Important things are infrastructure, process improvement, R&D, and employee development. The important things make you competitive, grow your business, and make you profitable. The urgent things manage your cash flow, which is why they tend to get priority. The irony is that you can cash flow yourself to death.
There are times when you just have to get the bills paid, but the danger is paying the bills while your business shrinks and becomes irrelevant. So how do you pick between urgent and important? I think it is a struggle every business owner has, and I don’t think there is one answer. In my opinion, the key is to just not let the important go by the wayside when the urgent is “out of critical." When your business can live a few days without you, you should consider it urgent to use that time to start looking into the important. Is your business just paying the bills, or is it really maturing and growing into a money making machine?!?!