Stress blog

Priorities: Don't ignore the important but not urgent

By Edward T. Creagan, M.D. August 12, 2010

While thumbing through a magazine in an airport, I came across an interesting take on the traditional to-do list. Most folks keep such a list on a smart phone, a piece of paper or just in their brains. Most often the list includes fairly mundane items, such as "get gas" and "buy groceries." More organized people may even have slightly longer term tasks on their lists, such as:

  • Renew driver's license
  • Schedule annual dental checkup
  • Pay off credit card

But the article I read suggested taking an even longer view and creating another to-do list focused on your future goals and what you need to do to accomplish them.

Examples of items on this list might include the following:

  • Update resume for a possible job search
  • Register online for a course to expand skills
  • Visit a financial planner

This second list was new to me and a good reminder of the need to focus not only on what's urgent but also on what's important. Obviously, you can't skip the day-to-day stuff, like taking the cat to the vet, but neither can you neglect long-term planning for your own wellbeing.

How do you prioritize the "must do's" and still keep your future in your sights?

With

Edward T. Creagan, M.D.

Follow on Twitter: @EdwardCreagan

Join the discussion at #Stress.

Aug. 12, 2010