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Prioritizing Work Tasks


52 days until the end of 2010! Last week as I looked at my ever expanding work to-do list I wanted to prioritize what I could realistically get done between now and the end of the year. While keeping in mind three holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years).

1. List tasks. I made a list of tasks in a Word document.

2. Important or Not Important. My next step was to re-order the list into two lists. Important and Not Important. I want to focus on what is important.

3. Urgent or Non-Urgent. This time I sub-divided the important list into Urgent and Non-Urgent. Urgent items are tasks that will help retain, grow, or acquire business. They are also items people are counting on me to complete.

In a matter of minutes I had narrowed a list of nearly 40 possible tasks into less than 10 Important and Urgent tasks. Suddenly a road map of the remainder of 2010 unfolded in front of me.

The concept of Important/Not Important and Urgent/Not Urgent is one of the underlying concepts in the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The same concept can be applied to patient medical problems. I am planning a couple of posts where I will ask you to help me determine when a patient’s problem is Important and Urgent. This is a general concept that is taught to Wilderness Medicine providers in Wilderness Medical Associates courses. When resources are limited, and the environment potentially severe, it is a helpful scheme to prioritize tasks.