Balancing Urgent and Important Tasks

This space has been pretty quiet recently…

Don’t Do It

It’s funny how, over time, things can shift from seeming really important or urgent. When I signed in to write this first blog post for Cohort 21 Season 10, I was surprised to see that I had 18 draft posts from previous Cohort Seasons waiting to be completed and published! They were clearly neither important nor urgent. According to the Eisenhower Matrix, they are things that could be eliminated from my To Do list with no ill effects on my goals – phew!

Davidjcmorris. The decision-making matrix that Stephen Covey espoused was also based on the Eisenhower Matrix. 20 November 2018. Wikimedia Commons. CC (SA) 4.0 International license by

Do It Now, Not Forever

In early August I decided to change schools. With school starting just a couple of weeks later, this fall everything school-related has seemed both urgent AND important as I worked to wrap things up in one school and understand how things work in my new school. a lot of energy was devoted to:

  • Supporting my successor who was hired just a week before school began
  • Cleaning up my old email and Google Drive that housed my repository for everything over the past 17 years
  • Learning the names and how to recognize all 300 of my new students and colleagues despite the fact that they are all masked
  • Learning how a new school works – how DO students and teachers access the technology available to them? What HAVE they done in the past? What SHOULD stay the same? What needs to be addressed asap?

And the list went on! Everything seemed both urgent and important. These tasks had pretty clear deadlines and consequences if they were not done. Focusing on so many of these Quadrant 1 tasks meant that I had little energy to devote to other tasks that require deeper consideration. However, now that they are mostly complete and I have a deeper understanding of how my new school works, I can get out of “crisis mode” and feel ready to start exploring and designing systems to support teaching and learning.

Delegate It

As a Technology & Integration Co-ordinator, my role exists to ensure that others can do their jobs well. Thus, it is easy to spend all my time on tasks that are urgent for me simply because they are important to others. This fall, these types of tasks included:

  • Responding to device issues
  • Answering questions about student accounts and class rosters for platforms
  • Introducing software and hardware to students

These can take up a good portion of the day and, although they help others, they don’t move me towards my own long-term goals since not much time remains to develop innovative curricula or evaluate possible new apps or support students and teachers to  effectively use technology as a tool for research, creation or communication. In an ideal world, I would delegate many of these Quadrant 3 tasks to others. But, being new, I felt that I needed to first learn all about how these work in this school before delegating the tasks to others. I am just now reaching a point where I have learned how these all work and can share this responsibility with others.

Schedule Time to Focus on Opportunities and Growth

Something that has been important to me for a long time has recently become more urgent because I think that it could help support all teachers. At almost every meeting I attend, someone mentions a resource that could be helpful for students, teachers or administrators. However, only those present at the meeting learn about it and we rarely have time to investigate how it might effectively support teaching and learning. I would love to develop a resource hub that could be collaboratively curated to benefit everyone.

This is a project that will take time to complete and although it is important, it is not urgent. Thus, I should schedule time on my calendar to make this Quadrant 2 task happen. This seems like the perfect challenge to explore with Cohort 21 this year since I know that there are scheduled times to focus on this long-term goal with few distractions!

This image was originally posted to Flickr by o.tacke at It was reviewed on 19 October 2015 by FlickreviewR and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0

Building a Resource Hub for Teachers

I am not sure which Cohort Strand this if this project best fits under:

  • Leading Change through Well-being since it will impact others and, since I am new to the school, I don’t want to overwhelm anyone with doing things in too many new ways?
  • JK-6 Pandemic Pedagogy and Wellbeing since it will impact teachers of students in this age range)?

Regardless, I am looking forward to getting support from the passionate educators who are part of Cohort 21 Season 10 community about possible platforms to use and how to make this a useful, collaborative venture for everyone.

3 comments to “Balancing Urgent and Important Tasks”
  1. @ljensen – reading your blog post made me think about my own laundry list of personal and professional tasks and how to categorize them. The theme that I see running through your blog is your considerate and compassionate approach that you take to do your job. I feel like you prioritize the relationships you have with people as you think about improving teaching and learning – something that seems important and enduring…uh oh …is that another quadrant? thanks for sharing. @acaplan @ckirsh

  2. Thanks @ljensen, and I agree with Tina, but also wouldn’t it be great to create your own strands for faculty, or organzie the resources as they come up. What this brought up for me what how brilliant social bookmarking can be, and believe it or not @ddoucet I still use Diigo on an almost DAILY BASIS!

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