This comes from The Decision Book: 50 Models for Strategic Thinking.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower supposedly once said, "The most urgent decisions are rarely the most important ones." Eisenhower was considered a master of time management, i.e., he had the ability to do everything as and when it needed to be done. With the Eisenhower method, you will learn to distinguish between what is important and what is urgent.
Whatever the job that lands on your desk, begin by breaking it down according to the Eisenhower method [see model], and then decide how to proceed. We often focus too strongly on the "urgent and important" field, on the things that have to be dealt with immediately. Ask yourself: When will I deal with the things that are important, but not urgent? When will I take the time to deal with the important tasks before they become urgent? This is the field for strategic, long-term decisions.
Another method of organizing your time better is attributed to the multimillionaire* Warren Buffett. Make a list of everything you want to get done today. Begin with the task at the top of the list, and continue only when you have completed it. When a task has been completed cross it off the list. [The Decision Book]
(* Buffett is actually a multibillionaire.)
More from Farnam Street...
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- It's official: The religious right is calling it quits
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How science is accelerating our search for alien life
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1: 10 major differences between the book and the movie
- 6 tiny scientific mistakes that created huge disasters
- Inside Turkey's shadow war with ISIS
- The dangerously childish morality of liberal ObamaCare supporters
- The slippery slope of Twitter's attempts to stop harassment against women
- 10 classic Sesame Street moments we wouldn't show today's kids
Subscribe to the Week