Of the 73% of planned tasks that an average R&D Engineer completes in a day, less-important tasks are somewhat more likely to be completed than more-important tasks according to Things to Do Today . . . : A Daily Diary Study on Task Completion at Work by Brigitte J.C. Claessens, Wendelien van Eerde, Christel G. Rutte, and Robert A. Roe.
After all these years of Steven Covey telling managers (in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) to focus on" important but not urgent tasks", for most of us, "tasks that are both important and urgent are more likely to be performed, but tasks that are only important and not urgent are unlikely to be completed."
The authors write that "respondents who were more conscientious and emotionally stable had completed a higher percentage of the planned tasks. Also, those who had participated in a time management program prior to this study completed more of their planned work."
What are some of the things you do to ensure you complete important tasks to prevent the firefighting that accompanies completing urgent-and-important-tasks?