Marie Forleo introduction


I'm Marie

You have gifts to share with the world and my job is to help you get them out there.

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Over the weekend, I ran into a friend at a coffee shop. She’s 5 months pregnant, growing her business and planning a jumbo event here in NYC.

She wanted an update from me, and I shared that I just came out of one of the most intense creative times I’ve ever had.

A time when my mind kicked up thoughts like, “Are you freakin’ serious?!?! How did you ever think you could possibly accomplish all this — this fast?!”

Maybe you can relate. You see, I knew exactly what needed to get done. The end-game was crystal clear. My deadlines were non-negotiable.

But here’s the kicker.

Know the difference between urgent and important, and do what’s important first. @SPressfield Click To Tweet

The outside world didn’t know my schedule. And just because I was in a demanding creative time — that didn’t stop the rest of the world from making requests of my time and sending in new opportunities.

And that, my friend, is the reason most of us drown in overwhelm.

Because no matter how well we plan, we can’t seem to stay on top of what we want to get done and the seemingly endless demands that show up from the outside world.

But, you know what? There’s a simple fix. And, it works like a champ.

Note: simple, doesn’t mean easy. Just means you don’t need a PhD to understand it 🙂 !

It’s one of the key strategies that helped me stay focused (and sane) during that crazy intense time. And honestly, I use it on a daily basis.

If you’re anything like most people I know, you’ve got some compelling dreams to bring to life. Things to create. Ideas to contribute. Lives to change.

If you ever struggle with finding time to make it all happen, today’s MarieTV is for you.

This topic is one that’s dear to my heart. Here’s another episode you may enjoy too – 4 Things Really Productive People Do Everyday.

You were born to create and contribute. Don’t let the demands of the world drown out the work your soul came here to do.

Now, I’d love to hear from you. What methods do you use to separate the I’s from the U’s?

How do you ensure that your real priorities get done first?

Share your story in the comments below. Remember that tens of thousands of incredible souls come here each week for insight and inspiration. Your story may be exactly what someone else needs to hear to have a breakthough.

Important: please share your thoughts and ideas directly in the comments. Links to other posts, videos, etc. may be deleted as they can come across as spammy.

Thank you for sharing your genius and helping make this one of the best places in the digital Universe,


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  1. I gotta admit, my anxiety levels shot up when you said tackle the Important stuff first—which basically tells me that I am an urgency junkie. Time to get to work and do some shifting! Thanks for the kick in the pants, Marie 🙂

    • You are so welcome Demetria. Commit to I’s first for at least 3 days then come back and let us know how it goes. It’ll be a game-changer!

      • Marie,
        Can you imagine that today, of all days, is the day I committed to my TO DO list, the things that are so uncomfortable.

        – Cold CALLS: new people in locations around the country to host Godscribe talks. WHY it’s IMPORTANT: Reaching out has rewards bigger than the rejections
        – Follow-up with CONTACTS who want to host me. WHY it’s IMPORTANT: It’s followthrough; scheduling the work.

        My intention in today’s yoga class was “be what I said I am.”

        Thanks, Master Marie, for being a reliable source of encouraging the way.

        • Gosh! I love making lists too, and adding U’s and I’s is going to bring new power to my lists for sure. Fun Q&A this week

      • Susie

        I heard of the urgent vs important idea so many times for the past 2 years, it is getting so old!!! Cant believe u cant come up with original content marie. Pretty poor episode. You dont even know how to write PhD properly… A serious case of stealing content from others. Shame on you…..

        • Tracy

          It’s ok… I know what you mean about hearing similar things but it’s always a good reminder for me! It’s one of those things that are so easy to grasp but difficult to keep doing, and it’s always nice to hear it from a new perspective (she obviously quoted Pressfield but said it in her own voice). Plus proper abbreviation isn’t very urgent or important in stuff like this 🙂

          • Bea

            Yes Marie! Repetition is IMPORTANT! I like to be reminded too. And, for me, when the information is presented in different ways, it keeps it interesting and fresh even if the message is essentially the same. Love your videos. First time commenter 🙂

        • Susie, I have never heard this theory before so for people like me, this episode was invaluable as I am a huge procrastinator and currently avoiding my to do list, so being able to sit down and sort what I perceive to be important versus urgent will certainly help me get that list done.

          And let’s face it a good idea is an idea worth sharing a million times because not everyone has hear it and there are always new people coming into the world who can benefit from great ideas, i.e. the law of attraction, not a new idea- but awesome, yoga… not a new philosophy and is everywhere but people are still discovering it daily.

          I think if you have found a better concept or idea to help people get things done I’m sure the awesome peeps at Maria TV would be glad to hear it.

          But for now this episode for me was eye opening and I am cracking out that huge to-do list to mark my I’s and U’s right away.

          Thanks Marie.

          P.s The correct spelling of things in the grand scale of life….. not important.

          • Carolyn

            Here, here, well said Natasya. Love your perspective! Another well broadcasted tip to go along with Marie’s U & I tip is to Make your “To Do” list at the end of the work day for the next day works an absolute treat because you are already in the flow of your Important and Urgent items which makes it easier to list. Enjoy!
            Now off to write my book 🙂

        • Heather

          Susie just got her 5 minutes and managed to be an ass. Congratulations!

          • ha ha!! Thanks for the laugh, Heather, b/c she made me mad, and that little laugh shirked her right off my shoulders.

        • Oh, Susie. To leave a comment like this tells me that not only are you *not* a happy camper, but you’re also grossly misinformed. While you’re in charge of your own happy (or at least you can be) let’s make sure you get your facts straight. Quoting and crediting others (which is what we do) ain’t stealing, honey. And just another bit of info, Steven Pressfield didn’t come up with the concept of “urgent vs. important” – it’s been around for decades. Perhaps longer. One last thing, we’ve taken the liberty to unsubscribe you from our list, which will help make all of us a lot happier. Wishing you the very best.

          • WoW… can’t believe that someone like Susie has so much time on her hands that she nitpick … very sad! Thanks Marie for the time and effort you put into great tips & hints for a successful life … keep up the good work! I have only just found you and I am a very young 71 and love what you are offering. I am in the process of building my Plan B business into a Plan A and love what I do, contributing to the Health & Wealth of others while enjoying a full healthy life. As time seems to speed up and the amount of things I want to do seems to get bigger … I am in the battle of Urgent & Important in a Big Way … so thank you for that one. 🙂

          • Awesome. You go girl. Love it and love everything you stand for. Thank you for your generosity and power. Love, Ingrid x

          • JEDIDAH

            Great reply!!

          • Marie,
            Had a tough day dealing with “urgent vs important” and this post just put a big smile on my face.

            Not because I didn’t already know about the concept (great reminder BTW) BUT, because I laughed so hard when I realized some of my “urgent” customers — I DON’T HAVE TO KEEP! I can boot them off my site and out of my life — just like you did with Susie!!! LOL!

            Thank you for the reminder that I get to choose who I work with and what I work on as well as how important and urgent it might be.
            Thyonne….. and…..
            P.S. Did you know that the Chicago Manual of Style; Associated Press; and Strunk & White ALL disagree on the proper way to write PhD… Ph.D…. PHD darnit I should know this I’M A PHD!!! Hahaha. Thanks for ending my day with a little sunshine:-)

          • Thank you, Marie, for being living example how to deal with comments like this 🙂 You are cool 🙂

          • Well said Marie! I always enjoy your episodes and gain a lot of knowledge from them. Thank you for your weekly guidance 🙂

          • God bless you for all you do Marie. Please don’t allow people like Susie get into you. It’s sad how small people think they must spread their unhappiness everywhere. Keep shinning your light.

            With Love from Nigeria,

          • Awesome reply, perfectly handled Marie! Xxo

          • #LIKEABOSS
            Thanks Marie for showing us that you practice what you preach. You rock.

          • Hi Marie! Just finished 4 videos this morning because I have been so overwhelmed. I work a part-time job that is a happy place & have tried to maintain a part-time business which I am not certain is right for me. Love the company & really love the products but perhaps I should just be a customer. You know… what to do, what to do? Thinking about the 10 years in the future video. Couple of things really jumped out at me today. I too suffer from “I think I am dying from some exotic disease”. Actually sick. My to-do list is ridiculous & I rarely accomplish much. Your Urgent vs Important suggestions just put lines through most of my list. Gotta run… I can wipe out 2 things today for sure. Love you & your cohorts! Thanks.

        • You know what? There are quite literally dozens of blogs, books, workshops out there that give similar messages or advice. Sometimes it takes a certain sort of person to say it a certain way to get through!

          You know when you’re loved one can suggest something over and over again, but we do nothing. It’s like we don’t hear it. Then we can hear the same suggestion from a girlfirend and we think ‘actually that’s a good idea!”

          Keep up the great work Marie 🙂

        • Amy

          Susie, I have heard urgent vs. important mentioned in another form, but I like the way she said it. I think Marie is reaching out to a diverse audience with different needs. Since 7 Habits of Highly Effective people came out lots of people have used some of the terminology from this book to express things that we all know we need to think about. Frankly, I don’t think the Covey family is bothered by that. By the time Marie made this episode the terminology she used had been in common use in the public domain for a long time.

        • Dear Susie, It is called stealing if you don’t give any credit to its creator. But, look at her humbleness, whenever she says something that is not created by her she always give credit.
          She don’t need to say new things in every episode. It’s about giving solution and if there is already an existed amazing solution, why not sharing it to help others?
          She helped me so many times and many others.

          P.S: We don’t care about the spelling of PHD. We are here for something else. 😉

      • Hmmm yep facebook-on-the-lounge guilt creepin’ on in. But since guilt is a way for us to avoid taking a different action, best I get my butt off this comfy sofa and into action. So easy to create urgency in our lives to avoid getting serious about our goals and dreams!! Great episode Marie. Thank you for the reminder to prioritise!

    • Marie! The timing of your post couldnt’t possibly be better… it’s goose-bump uncanny! Just yesterday I was contemplating sending in a Q&A Tuesday request for help with this topic. Wow!!
      In my past, before smart phones, social media and a child, I turned the phone volume “off” in order to work uninterrupted in my studio…this ensured I could get “in the zone” of creative productivity and also meet important deadlines for exhibitions and shows. I have been having such a hard time feeling clear and productive this time around (returning to my
      art practice as an actual business), PRECISELY because of my confusion
      between Urgent and Important.
      Thank you so much for the zap of simple, yet brilliant clarity. I feel energized and focused again. : )

      • Kristin - Team Forleo

        Gabrielle, it’s so great when the timing of MarieTV episodes line up like that with real life! Cheers to feeling energized and focused 🙂

    • Good for you for recognizing the physical cues that trigger avoidance. That’s an awareness so few people have, Demetria! 🙂

    • I tend to do the urgent things first as well, the “important” stuff is usually my own inner work which usually gets pushed aside. Thanks for putting this into perspective Marie, I really need to work on switching things around!

    • Well that hit the nail on the head! Needed that reminder as I am striving to go full time with my own company, ‘but so many other things are pulling at my attention’. Important stuff first – read, write, pray, meditate…then go online!

    • We need balance life, if we still keep things happen for long time will there are something go down for bad like our health, not happy in relationship…etc. We also love ourselves but we need decide and action to how that for our know.

  2. We often equate (other’s) urgency with priority. And unconsciously, we abide by the ridiculous thought that we shouldn’t consider ourselves as a priority. This combo is a dream-killer.

    I like to say that until we make the decision to be the star in our own lives, we’ll always be relegated to co-starring in the dramas of others. Choosing what’s important ensures that we fulfill our desires and “sacred contracts” (Caroline Myss).

    Thanks for the reminder, Marie.

    • Yaasssss! I like to say that I will not not allow your poor planning to turn into a fire alarm for me. It is a constant reminder to choose myself and MY priorities.

      • Someone in my office has a sign at her desk that says “Unfortunately, a lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.” It scares me, but I love it! 🙂

    • I love the way you worded your response, Emelia. If anyone is guilty of ‘putting the cart before the horse’, it is I. Lately, I have been practicing self-discipline and training my subconscious to prioritize tasks by repeating several times in my mind what the most important objective of the day is, and concentrating on that one task, and it has been working for me. “You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage — pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically — to say ’no’ to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger ’yes’ burning inside. The enemy of the ’best’ is often the ’good.’” ~Stephen Covey

      • Thanks, Chas. And great reminder with the Covey quote “…a bigger yes burning inside.” I’m trying my best to live by this.

    • Ang


      I love your input here!
      It goes across all aspects of our lives. I just heard a TedX talk by a woman who said a healthy relationship with a spouse depends on whether you’ve first fallen in love with who YOU are. It sounds selfish, but as a mother of four grown children, I know that it is not. So, we need to get busy growing ourselves, and that implies pursuing our scary dreams, cuz on the other side of that is deep personal fulfillment and everybody benefits: your family, your spouse, your friends, your church, your community, your international benevolence, etc.

    • Beejay

      Emelia, what you said resonated with my recent philosophy on life and how to respond to other’s needs: ‘ Give to yourself first before you can give to others without feeling shortchanged or under appreciated!’ And you are so right; it is very equate ‘urgency’ to ‘priority’ and get bogged down in that. I love Marie’s tips – simple and clear! Keep on keeping on Marie, I for one really appreciate your work! xoxoxo

      • In complete agreement, Beejay. Putting self first is key.

  3. For the last few months I am finally living more of the life that I want. The first thing I do in the morning is a yoga practice. But I cannot tell you how many times I am getting ready to do yoga, to feed my soul, to breath, when the thought of skipping it crosses my mind. The anxiety voice comes online and says: “oh, you could get an early start….”, but then what? The work is not going to run away. The good news is that my anxiety is not the only one that has a voice. My inner self reminds me that taking the time to do yoga in the morning will set the tone for a much better day. Taking care of my self is IMPORTANT.

    • Lidiane, this is so true! You described my thoughts and struggles exactly! Thank you for the reminder that this morning routine is SO IMPORTANT! And also vital for our success personally and therefore professionally. 🙂

  4. This was so helpful. I am now going to divide my “to-do” list into “Important” and “Urgent” and now I believe the important things I want to get done will not make their way onto my “to-do” list the following day and the next and the next!!

    • Glad it was helpful Bridget. This practice takes discipline, but it’s soo worth it!

      • Someone don’t believe in lists to do can get things they want. Even they write down list then they still have lack motivate to do it.

  5. I think EVERY business owner can relate to this 110%. (I know I sure can. Yikes!) We have all these great plans + visions for what we want to do with our biz, whether it’s creating a new product or writing our very first book…but they always get pushed back for the sake of trying to wade through our inbox or surfing the black hole that is Facebook. This is something I’m always, always struggling with — and something I hear all my beautiful biz lady friends lament about as well.

    One thing I try to do is make the important what is “urgent.” I frame it this way: “I need to work on this and this FIRST (things I really, really want to do to grow my business over the long term)…so that by the end of the day/after my kids come home from school/etc, I can get to my emails/schedule my social media shares (things I really, really have to do to keep my business moving in the short term).”

    Ironically, this is the same mindset I try to have with cleaning. “I gotta clean up all this junk before I sit down at my computer and get lost for 5 hours.” Since I know I’m going to get to that computer eventually (and HAVE to get there!), it makes me work super fast and hard to get the dirty stuff done first.

    • Erika – this is such an AWESOME change in perspective and I can see how it works! I’m going to give this one a try in addition to identifying the urgent and important on the to do list – starting today. Love this! Thank you!

  6. Angela, this was such a great question! I am currently working really hard at what I call lassoing my time. I read Timothy Ferris’s “4 Hour Work Week” and it really changed my thoughts about time and gave me so many practical suggestions for reeling it in.

    One of the things that he suggested to do was to have a to do list that you put together every morning. So far I have noticed that I am a lot more productive as a result. I find that I procrastinate a lot less and work hard to check off as many boxes as possible. The problem is that I don’t differentiate between urgent and important tasks. As a result, I am all over the place when it comes to getting things done. Since there are a lot of tasks that I tend to put on my to do list, a lot of times, the important things are left unchecked. So I’m going to incorporate Marie’s suggestion as a way to reign in my time better. Thanks Angela and Marie! Looking fabulous, Chica!

  7. “tomorrow is the day I…” is a perpetual beast. It’s always true, because tomorrow never comes.

    Dreams are important. YOUR dreams are important. That’s why you’re here. When I’m working with clients, that’s the big thing I try to drive home. I think it’s so critical that I wrote a book about it. 🙂 We focus on what I call the 5 Key Areas of Success: faith, family, fitness, fortune, & freedom. You can’t ignore any one of those areas for too long or that part of you begins to die (sometimes quite literally).

  8. Soooooo RELEVANT!
    You are the queen! Thanks so much!
    I struggle daily with being productive. The situation you describe is spot on!
    The method I use now is just to add all my tasks in my schedule with limited time frame to work on each task. This way I try to give priority to the important ones over urgent.
    Thanks a lot!

  9. Kellie Williams

    I can’t recommend highly enough reading the book “Miracle Morning” by Hal Enrod. Would be a great guest to have Marie. It’s truly a game changer!

    • Kellie, THANK YOU for the book suggestion! I went over to Amazon and snagged it because I need a routine desperately. After spending 32 years working in an office environment, I struggle with getting a routine now for my own business. This looked great and I appreciate it so much!.

      Marie and everyone,
      I am one of those “must check email every five seconds” people and it even annoys me! I think a new habit is knocking at the door. 🙂 Important before urgent. Got it! Thank you! 🙂

  10. Great advice Marie. Thank you. Since Jan I have been focussing on the important rather than the urgent. I think that if you focus this way then it also helps your clients to develop healthier strategies for themselves too. And of course that big long-term awesome project of mine will finally see the light of day!

    • What’s your awesome project? I’m now intruiged…

  11. This is so perfectly timed! I was just speaking with my “partner in crime” (aka husband) about how OPP (other people’s problems) were interfering with what he really wanted to do right now in his life. I guess sometimes you just gotta to do what’s most important…which allows others to be accountable for their own life. Everyone wins!

  12. Awesome!
    Last year we split from our business partner to continue to follow a dream they were not ‘comfortable’ with.
    We found that even though we didn’t see the whole path in front of us, with each step we took we had new opportunities come our way. It was truely amazing! The road before us unfolded as needed.
    Now this year we’re going to do it again only this time we will be producing 6 times the number of last year.
    The challenging thing is now ‘knowing’ what we have to do to accomplish this. It’s mind blowing.
    So thanks for this video because staying focused and sane is rather important 🙂

    • Congratulations Cindy for trusting yourself , even when others didn’t!

    • Kristin - Team Forleo

      Cindy, that’s so huge — congrats on taking such a big leap of faith with your business. Amazing how the path unfolds just how its meant to, right? 🙂

      • It is amazing. It’s sad to think of all the opportunities lost because the resourses cannot be found inside our comfort zones. Step out and take a leap of faith the rewards are worth it. 🙂

  13. I find an 80/20 mentality helps with this – if you prioritise the actions which will deliver biggest results, you don’t tend to get bogged down in the urgent but inconsequential.

    • Absolutely Gareth! And, if you’re just starting out and you don’t have “proof” for what creates the biggest results quite yet, you’re still able to decide between important tasks and urgent ones. It can be a great stepping stone to 80/20!

  14. Hey Marie,
    nice to see the snow blizzard didn’t stop new marie tv episode 😉
    yes, I’m aware it’s pre-recorded, but it’s still… it was on time.

    It really resonate with me to hear you say urgent things are related to other people, but important things are related to me. I’ll remember that!

    As for my favourite method for dealing with the important – I make it a part of my day that I do automatically, just like breading, brushing my teeth, drinking water…those things I don’t need to think about doing, or convince myself the are important – I just do them every day without questioning it. I treat the IMPORTANT goals the same way.

    • Thanks Vesna! Thank goodness, none of us lost power so we were all a go 🙂

  15. Monica

    This is great, and to some extent helpful to me personally, but what about those of us who are exchanging our time for money? I don’t think my boss would appreciate if I tackled my “I’s” first thing at the office, since she is paying me for 8 hours of “U’s” – any more tips for those of us in this type of earning situation?

    • Hi Monica,

      you’re exchanging 8 hours a day for mony from your boss. Whad do you do the rest of your time?

    • Hey Monica! Great question. I’ll bet your boss would prefer you tackle I’s before Us. The I projects move the needle ahead for the company, which will raise your value in the company and can lead to more money, benefits, projects, time off, etc. Plus, if you train yourself to always do what’s most important first — if you decide to strike out on our own, you’ll already be trained in a valuable habit that will dramatically increase you chances for success!

      • Flo

        Hi Marie, I think I’m in the same situation as Monica. I am currently working in an Asian country and I am expected to dedicate 8-12 hours a day in the office to work-related tasks, yet I also have personal dreams and goals, such as writing a book. At the same time, I have family and friends I want to spend my limited free time with (dinner and weekends). Can you recommend how I can separate the I’s from the U’s if I don’t have a lot of “me” time at this point in my career?

        • Hi Flo,

          I just wanted to say that I’m in the same boat. I spend 50 hours a week working+commuting and (assuming I get 8 hours of sleep a night) that leaves me with 62 hours in the rest of the week for everything else: chores, exercise, friends, and my own personal goals and dreams. Finding balance is really tricky and I know how fast those hours can go!

          A couple of things that really work for me:

          1. Priorities, Priorities, Priorities. — I don’t have unlimited free time, so it’s really important I pick just a few “I’s” to focus on. Things that rank high on my list: making time for my writing every day, cooking delicious meals, and keeping up with a small group of really good friends and family. Since I don’t have all that much time available, it’s important to focus on the things that *really* matter.

          2. Prune ruthlessly — I’ve been working on this for years at this point, and it works really well. Get rid of anything and everything in your life that doesn’t serve you. People who don’t leave you feeling energized and awesome, gone. That Netflix subscription that costs you more in hours than in dollars, gone. A thousand and one email subscriptions that clog your inbox but don’t serve you, gone. Removing the distractions allows you to use what time you have to focus on what really matters.

          3. Take time for you first. My passion is writing (and it’s not my day job), so finding time to write each day is one of my biggest “I’s”, but going to work every day is a non-negotiable “U”. The problem I used to have was that I’d do the “U” first — and by the time I got home from work I was totally exhausted and the *last* thing I felt like doing was plonking down at my desk and hammering out my daily word count. In the past few weeks I’ve turned this priority system around — now I’m getting up an extra hour early and using that hour to write *before* I have to go to work. Yes my job pays me for 8 hours of my time every day (and uses up 10…) — but they’re not paying me for my *best* 8 hours, in fact they’re paying me for a very specific range of hours (9-5). So now I’m getting up early and taking my very best hour for me — that single great hour is worth at least three of my exhausted evening ones. Plus, this way I can use my evening hours for less taxing “I’s” like cooking a delicious dinner, without feeling guilty that I’m not working on my writing instead. I think it’s a game-changing way to look at things.

          I hope that helps!


          • Monica

            These are great suggestions. Thanks for sharing. I desperately want to become a morning person so I can do exactly what you’re doing and get some I’s out of the way before the 8-hour U, but the person I am when I first wake up is not someone who can make the conscious decision to get out of bed. I’ve never successfully been able to shift my sleep schedule to go to bed early and wake up early… I literally wake up in a “sleep drunk” state every morning, hit snooze 80 times, and scramble to get to work (late, usually). I just haven’t found a solution yet! If anyone has any tips, I’d love to hear them!

          • Emma

            Marie, that’s a great proactive response to making sure you hang around with like-minded people who energize you, and distancing yourself from those who drain you and bring you down.

            Susie, take heart. In your complaint, I hear a deep-seated frustration with yourself. We are all in the same boat. Life is *hard*. But your power lies in how you choose to react. If you take a positive attitude wherever possible, life will get easier, you will find ways to be successful, and reminders such as Marie’s will serve to strengthen your resolve and keep your motivation fresh. The truth is, there is no miracle cure. Our biological programming has made sure of that. You can only keep practicing these tricks to see which ones get your neocortex to override your old brain the most often. And you will keep having to repeat these tricks, day in, day out, for the rest of your life.

          • Emma

            Great ideas Jessica! Thank you!

          • Great tips Jessica! Thanks for sharing.

          • Michael

            Thanks to Jessica and Marie,

            Wonderful to have people like you.
            Super education!


      • Monica

        Thanks Marie! That’s good advice. However, I am mostly struggling with my personal I’s vs. the company U’s. Much of my spare time does go to the most important I’s I do get done (exercise, healthy eating) but these are more like daily necessities for me at this point, and my more ambitious I’s are getting put on hold or moving very slowly as a result. I feel like being required to spend 8 hours on someone else’s priorities (the company U’s) sucks the life out of me and leaves little room for my personal I’s.

        • Flo

          Thanks so much, Jessica, for taking the time to help! Really appreciate your advice. I’m a night owl so, like Monica, I also struggle to get the 8 hours of sleep plus have enough time in the early morning to myself (minus getting ready and not missing my train!). And I’ve also experienced not having the energy after work for me to be a productive night owl. When I do though, I feel the 1-2 hours is not enough to reach my goals (writing a whole book for example). Are my baby steps enough to let me achieve my goal eventually or do I have to get real about the compromise of having a taxing day job?

          • I hear you both on the inability to get up early, Flo and Monica — I am (kind of) a morning person and even so I resisted the decision to get up that extra hour early for at least a year. To my mind it sounded awful, really truly awful — I always justified to myself that getting up at my usual time was bad enough already. But what I’ve found is that getting up that extra hour earlier is actually *easier* than it was getting up an hour later. I enjoy my morning writing so thoroughly that I actually look forward to waking up early to get to do it.

            However, obviously your mileage will vary and I don’t dispute that some people are incurable night owls — so in that case I’d like to pose a question: If you could have any hour to take for yourself, what would that ideal hour be? And then: is there any way you can arrange to have that hour?

            Obviously it will depend on what you do for your day job, but it maybe be possible to arrange to take an hour for your self in the middle of the work day, either as your lunch break or in exchange for staying an hour later or something.

            Finally, with regard to baby steps — I think it’s always true that baby steps are better than taking no steps at all! You can get a lot more done with an hour or two a day than you think, as long as you’re focused with your efforts in what time you have. I’d like to point out that you can write 80,000 words in a year as long as you manage 220 words a day (about a half-page, single-spaced). So, yes. I think it’s definitely possible to accomplish something substantial (like writing a book) using baby steps, the key to is to make sure you take them consistently!

  16. I could have written that question myself… This was so helpful! One thing I have started to do is allow myself 24 hours to answer client e-mails. It’s so hard because I want to respond IMMEDIATELY, no matter where I am or what I’m doing. But I’ve found that quicker isn’t always better and replying during a scheduled time allows me to be more thoughtful and focused.

    • Hey Kelsey,
      it’s great that you are so focused on serving your clients, I applaud you!!!
      Do you have any automated emails? Those can save you a ton of time, and if you do them right your clients will be more than satisfied, most of them won’t even notice those are automated answers, but again, only if you do it right.
      I have a business coach that is a proven expert on automating other peoples businesses, and I wholeheartedly reffere her to people like you. Please send my an email, and I’ll send you to her link and also send you her e-book on automating your business! (I don’t want to do it here, as Marie asked to not include links to our posts)
      Take care!

  17. Fabiane

    Doesnt´matter how many “Us” I have in my to do list on tuesdays, watch your episode is always one of my “Is”.

    Thank you!


    • That means the world to me Fabiane 🙂 We work hard to make sure your time spent with us is stimulating and valuable!

  18. I love your idea of classifying the to-do list into “urgent” versus “important.” I’ve been highly productive in advancing my dream in the last four months. What I look at is whether or not the to do moves my dream forward or is more about someone else’s agenda. Here are a couple of things I’ve done to help me focus:

    1. Unsubscribe from most e-mail newsletters. While I love the words and thoughts of so many authors and entrepreneurs, their newsletters are first and foremost promoting their agendas. I decided when I’ll visit these folks, not when they come knocking on my inbox.

    2. Batch tasks. I avoid lingering on social all day and get tapped and drained. I avoid looking at e-mail all day. Scheduling times to check-in helps me to keep my energy focused not stretched.

    3. Editorial calendar. I maintain a calendar that keeps me organized and focused. It allows me to plan ahead, collect ideas along the way, and have specific deadlines that I can share with the people I collaborate with.

    I love your ideas Marie and I stay tuned to you because you are a helpful resource that keeps me on task and moving in the direction of my dreams. While I don’t tune in every week, I dip in when I can make the time to support my dreams.

    Keep up the fantastic work! Love your spirit!

    Kathryn Costa, Collage Diva + Creative Dabbler + Mandala Mama

    • Kristin - Team Forleo

      GREAT list, Kathryn. Thank you so much for sharing your methods with everyone!

  19. Hi Marie,

    I have some pretty big ADD, so my brain has always seemed to process any task or project as important AND urgent. In adulthood, I’ve had to figure out how to overcome that.

    I make my to do list in my office each evening for the next day. (I think I got that tip from you!) Then, first thing when I sit at my desk each morning, I can look at the list again and decide what’s important and what’s urgent.

    Taking time away from the flurry and overwhelm of compiling the list, allows me to clearly classify my priorities.

    I and U it up!

    Thanks Marie!

    • Hey Dana! YES on making your next day’s game plan the night before. It’s such a simple habit, and it works wonders to reduce stress and drive up productivity. Well done 🙂

  20. Because I personally value spontaneity sooooo much, I resisted time blocking for a very long time. The irony is that when I started calendaring blocks of work time and adhered to a schedule based on my true priorities for my business and life… it was… and is… liberating! Thanks for bringing focus once again to the important things in life, Marie.

  21. OH YES… that is a great idea. I already have a daily list and find joy in crossing off items (total nerd that way) but I am the original serial entrepreneur and new projects or ideas are always getting added to my list!

    My big secret? I map everything out. When a new idea or project shows up it goes on the list BUT it gets moved off the list by finding its way to the map.

    This is where I see HOW if fits into strategic plan and I get to cross it off the list 🙂 if it doesn’t fit into the strategic plan… I have to rethink the idea or project.

    If it doesn’t fit it lives on the side of the map to let my brain visit it each time I look at the map. Some go away with time while others change and fit perfectly!

    “Success is NOT accidental merely the implementation of a sound strategy with the correct resources and tools” Clara Rose

  22. Hi Marie,

    Great tip! My life really started to improve since i started doing important things first. I’ve learned this lesson from Tony Robbins on his RPM Method! Really great!

    Thank you for such inspiring post! You are a great inspiration! 🙂

  23. The timing on this video is perfect! As I get ready to build my new corporation, it’s easy to get distracted from what is important. I have to keep my eye on the prize… making people feel healthy and vibrant!

  24. Marie! Perfect tip and great episode! It’s so important. I have found that if I set aside some time first thing in the morning for my body (movement, exercise, smart food, and dancing), and meditation, that I have a better grasp of categorizing what’s important vs. urgent.

    • Love it Alexander and I’m with you on the morning ritual. It makes “seeing” what’s truly important a lot easier!

  25. Aaargh, this topics really hits home. What helps me when all the urgent stuff is burying the important projects, is to work on the important project for 15 min.

    It helps me because my important projects are often also quite scary and … uhm big, so I got started. And then after awhile it becomes easier to take bigger steps.

    Love the t-shirts in the episode by the way 🙂

  26. The idea of prioritizing the stuff that was most important to me – not to other people – made the difference between living a humdrum life and living a life full of creativity and passion. It started when I was working in retail and I would get up half an hour earlier to sit at my craft table and make collages. I didn’t manage to do it every day, but at least 3 days a week. Starting my day working on something just for me changed my entire perspective and led me down the path I’m on now. Now, no matter how many deadlines I have, I spend at least half an hour at the craft table playing with art supplies. It gets my imagination going and helps to inspire me in the artwork that I make to sell.

    • Ashley Berg

      That’s awesome that you made the shift of prioritizing based on what is important to you, and not to others! They can be two very different lists, and leave you feeling two different ways, as you say!

  27. Oh I know this so well! Particularly because my “dream business” that I’m currently setting up isn’t paying right now whereas my design work is and often I get emails with “urgent” deadlines because something needs to go to print or it’s gone to print but needs an “urgent” change. It’s actually something I’ve been trying to work on the last few days and I’ve been trying to dedicate either my morning or evening to do my important stuff and then use the other part of the day for the paid work and you’re right, it does still get done. I’ve been also getting up earlier, staying up a bit later (meaning I sleep better because I’m a terrible insomniac) and I’m finding that I am slowly but surely getting things done although there’s still a way to go yet. I think the key idea is not to try and cram too much in so you don’t start feeling overwhelmed and not to try and radically change your whole daily routine overnight. Small changes over a gradual period of time mean it’s more likely to stick and I’m definitely finding it true. I love your idea of designating whether something is urgent or important, I think I’m going to give it a go and see if it helps.

    Thanks Marie!

  28. Loved this episode, Marie! Such a great reminder and reframe.

    Sometimes the things that can feel urgent in my life are loved ones wanting my attention, asking me my opinion on something, etc.

    Something I’ve found really helpful for keeping them from getting upset if I’m ignoring their call, text, or even them dropping by my office, is to give them heads up before I head into creation mode.

    For example, as I’m getting ready to get started, I might let them know, “I have something really important I need to work on, so I’m not going to be answering calls, texts, etc. and can’t be interrupted for the next few hours. Is there anything you need from me before I head into that zone?”

    That gives them an opportunity to ask for anything they might need during that time, allows them to help you stay on task because they’re aware of it, and it helps keep them from getting upset if you’re not answering them. Rather than feeling ignored, they feel respected because you gave them a heads up and checked in first.

    This one shift has made such a difference for me!

    • Great video and advice, like always; thank you Marie!

      I would like to share my recent experience, with Angela and any other interested people here.
      I used to have the same problem and it was there for years. I was almost desperate as none of the time management classes worked good enough for me.
      Finally searching around through a lot of materials and programs I’ve found the solution for me: I listened alternatively (for several weeks) the audio books “First thing first” by Stephen R. Covey, “Today Matters” by John Maxwell and “Eat that frog” by Brian Tracy.
      I prefer audio books as I am working on my hand made products during the auditions. Training is my job and hand made is my hobby.
      When I feel it’s the moment I have an audition just for taking notes, but otherwise prefer to let the information go freely at its place in my mind and my heart.
      I began changing my schedule, my to do list, my priorities according to these teachings. The best outcome was understanding better my values and beliefs connected with time management.
      Now, finally I can say my day really has 24 hours that can be used and not lost. I’m not asking myself anymore, at bed time, where the day has gone with so many things still undone.
      It was not at all easy. I had a few steps forward and a few backward, but it helped a lot to notice and celebrate the little victories.
      From time to time still have a not so good day, but I consider it the “necessary imperfection”.

      Thank you again Marie for your devoted work you are doing here. You are helping us a lot. I recently created on Facebook a little group of friends that are active in business area, and they are also enjoying your videos there!
      Most of all I appreciate your reading advice and the guests you have from time to time.

      All my love,
      Freelancer trainer, Romania

  29. Great video Marie!
    I had scheduled to start B-School (signed-up last year) in January because I knew that’s when I would have the time. For three weeks I tried to start but “urgent” stuff kept getting in the way. Finally, I said, that’s it this is “important” to me and made it happen. I’m on a roll now and loving B-School. I look forward to learning more each day and feel like I’m finally moving forward!

    • Kristin - Team Forleo

      So happy to hear you’re making it happen, Alejandra. Quick side note — as a B-School alum, you’re welcome to join the next session starting up in March if you’d like to ride the momentum of doing B-School “live” with other returning students as well as our new 2015 class.

      Either way, awesome that you’re focusing on what’s important to you!! 🙂

  30. Gil

    Great Video Marie! Thank you for this episode.

    What I like to do is get an old sand clock and use it as a timer….and get a job that’s truly important done within the time it takes for the clock to empty.
    I have a 25 minute clock but you can get longer sand clocks for larger tasks. I then reward myself by checking out a sports page or youtube for 15 minutes and then it’s back on the clock!!
    Do whatever it takes because FOCUS is gonna make you profitable!!

  31. Hey Marie!

    Thanks so much for the tip. I thoroughly enjoyed it! (you rock!)

  32. As always, Marie, your advice lines up with the cosmos to bring me exactly what I need to know when I need to know it.

    I’m a writer, and just a couple weeks ago I realized that my “day job” was preventing me from getting through ANYTHING creative or fulfilling. I had had enough. I wasn’t going to make money as a writer if I didn’t finish writing anything!

    I did just what you said–I decided that if my creative work was supposed to be my “money maker,” I should put it first in my day–even if I have to get up earlier to do it.

    Not only am I making headway on my novel, but I feel more personally fulfilled and calm, too.

    Thanks for this A, Marie. Keep ’em coming!

  33. I remember scratching my head when I first heard there was a difference between the urgent and the important. I was even more confused when I heard it was the important I had to give priority too. But it makes sense. Dealing with the urgent as a priority is a recipe for running in circles, never have time left to do what really matters… But it’s not easy! Especially if your job and life are filled with interruptions and demands by others (I worked a lot in call centres). Can’t say I master it yet. But I get it at least!
    One victory I’ve had with time is that people now know that I rarely answer my phone (except if it’s my mother haha). Some complain but most have accepted this . My time is as precious as theirs. And in my experience, real emergencies are rare. A text message can be used at those times too. Then I will respond straight away.

  34. Thanks for all you do, Marie! This totally makes sense but I would love to hear more about finding the energy to work on the dream. After working at the job that pays the bills for 8, 9 hours, I’m often too tired to work on my dreams. Unfortunately I can’t not attend a conference call because I’m writing my blog. Well I can…but not if I want to keep paying the bills!

    • Kristin - Team Forleo

      Totally hear you, Hydee. You’re not alone in feeling this way. It doesn’t directly answer this Q, but I think you might like this older MarieTV episode about how to write a book when you’re busy making money — might be some food for thought about how you can fit in blogging around your job!

    • You need something change necessary. Don’t allow yourself stick with something that you know is bad for long term. With least you should do your dream with free time or part time. There are many things you can change still keep your life enough to follow dream. Consider anything you can but you need to ready for your dream.

  35. This is awesome, Marie- and definitely something that I needed to hear! I loved this video, and will absolutely use your suggestion for guiding me through my daily and weekly task lists. I had been using a calendar to note deadlines for business related tasks and goals, but had not way of handling everything when the urgent things would come up and demand my attention. I am looking forward to how this changes the way things get done and how much I can now accomplish!

  36. This video came at the perfect time – thank you! We’re trying to create daily lists that outline what *has* to be done, versus what we’d *like* to achieve, each evening for the following day. Having new ways to look at how to schedule time – and find balance – is incredibly helpful.

    Can’t wait for B-School to begin!

  37. I put my shoes on when its time for Important stuff. Urgent stuff happens in my socks or bare feet, or after the important stuff is done. Putting my shoes on means its time to focus on what is really important.

  38. Marie – you missed a major rap remix here!! Being down with urgent is being down with OPP – other peoples priorities!! And I’m sooo not down with OPP…yeah, you know me!

  39. Great video Marie. IN the work I do with nursing and midwifery teams I often encounter teams who are “addicted to firefighting”. They get a hug buzz from the urgency of crisis management and external demand – even though they also LOVE to complain about it! The end result is that they don’t build the foundations for the future – no planing, no creating systems that work better, little time for developing new skills. Here’s the difficulty. Their drivers are patient care, patient care and patient care. So they’ll get sucked in every time – until they realise that care of future patients is just as important as current ones.

    I’m not saying that I have this completely handled in my own life, and I’m working on it!

  40. Natsu

    Hello Marie ! Today was one of the happiest day of my life. I made a request for what I really want for my life – my dream, and not only I got OK for one months leave to Paris, but also a funding for my new career. Just watched your video and I am so grateful to be connected here with you.
    Thank to my gf who introduced me here, and Thank you for encouraging me and inspiring me to live the life I want !

    • Kristin - Team Forleo

      That is SO AMAZING, Natsu! Congrats!! What a huge, special day for you. It’s an honor that you spent part of it here with us 🙂

  41. Productivity is one of those words that can mean a lot of different things to different people. For example, taking a break and allowing your body to rejuvenate and restore is being productive.

  42. Ashley Berg

    Thanks, Marie. This is similar to what I do (but I can’t take credit for the way I organize, I’ve read about it in many other places). I make a grid that categorizes things as both Important/Not Important and also Due Soon/Not Due Soon so you end up with four boxes filled with tasks. (And Due Soon/Not Due Soon is just a different way of saying Urgent/Not Urgent). So the order in which you should work on tasks is Important and Due Soon, Important and NOT Due Soon, THEN you work on the Not Important but Due Soon, and lastly Not Important and Not Due Soon.

    Most people switch around the 2nd and 3rd ones, thinking they need to work on the non-important things first because they are urgent/due soon. But like you say, you need to focus on the important stuff first, even if it isn’t urgent, or you will run out of time and not get to them.

    Thanks again, this is great advice and well-worth repeating!

  43. This was Great Marie! Helpful and I will pay more attention to what’s IMPORTANT! And get the urgent things done when there is the time to do them! Love, Sarah

  44. This was awesome! I came up with something similar last month and it has kept me on track more than anything else I’ve tried. It just takes ignoring that potentially exciting “urgent” stuff that will always come up throughout the day. I work on my “Big Stuff” first thing in the morning, before anything else. Next I work on marketing, then client work, then emails at the end of the day. When I finish a big chunk of my “Big Stuff” work, then I’ll take a little break (like watching my Tuesday Marie videos!) and then dive into marketing. I get so much more accomplished when I’m not bouncing all over the place, going from responding to emails, replying to tweets, and then trying to squeeze my biggest projects in between. Thanks for your episode today, it put a smile on my face!

  45. I appreciate the idea of prioritizing your to-do list in this manner, but I’m still feeling stuck.
    The urgent-not-important “client work” – or, in my case, the day job that pays the bills, MUST come first. If I don’t show up, I don’t get paid any more and that is vitally important!
    But that doesn’t mean my personal pursuits, growing a brand and business in the evenings and weekends, aren’t also important. They are important! They just get pushed aside in favor of the reliable paycheck. Any advice?

    • Hey Amye, I understand this as I worked a day job – so to speak – for many, many years. Everyone approaches this situation differently, but here are few things to keep in mind.

      1. You have to utilize pre-work or post-work hours to move the needle ahead. What you choose will depend on what you’ll most realistically do, and what makes sense for your body rhythms. More about that here:

      2. You also have to make clear priorities for yourself. I’m not sure how many personal pursuits you have, or what kind of business you’re building. When your time is limited you have to make tough choices about what you’ll work on consistently. Don’t make the mistake of trying to focus on too many things. Ask yourself, what’s the most important outcome I want to create? Is the personal pursuits or the business? If the business can replace your day job income and create more freedom long term – emotionally, financially, etc. then you may have your answer.

      Bottom line is that millions (if not billions!) of people have successfully made a transition from a 9-5-ish job to their own, profitable business, so it is possible. Keep us posted and good luck!

  46. Productivity talk makes me giddy! I know something you taught us last year going through B-School that I never forgot, is don’t let someone else’s lack of planning become *your* emergency. Ever since then I’ve been able to see that, yes, a lot of times the messages in your inbox are someone else’s emergency and they are attempting to make it yours too. We all want to help, so absolutely respond and be of service, but just be sure to prioritize *your* important work first, and then get to those requests for your time a bit later. That way you avoid that moment at the end of the day, where you felt you were really busy, only to realize you haven’t moved the needle forward on your dreams or to do list! Loved this!

  47. I’ve learned to fill my cup first. Once I did, it was so much easier to get to other peoples’ needs because my cup is not empty. I’ve also realized, that if my cup is empty, I really got nothing to share and I always end up being miserable doing all these other things for other people.

  48. OMG Marie this is such a game changer video!! I have had such an aha moment here.
    If people starting out their new business’s can grasp this concept (do what is important before what is urgent) they will be unstoppable.
    I know sooooo many (myself included) who do all the urgent things first…. and as we all have experienced, what we actually need to do to get our business (or even hobby’s) to move forward just doesn’t happen.
    I am going to adopt this concept for my life in all area’s. I so often spin my wheels and am so tired after I’ve done all the urgent things in my day, that I rarely get to the important things. What a difference this concept will make in my business and personal aspirations.!!!

    Thank you for this video!!!

  49. Debs

    Genius! This is totally what I need to apply. I knew it – but I don’t do it. Which is pretty much the same thing as not knowing it… right?


    Thanks beautiful lady 😀

  50. I love this tip but I think what a lot of people struggle with is assigning realistic time to how long something will take to complete. So if you have a list of ‘importants’ and ‘urgents’ but the list for that day is too long and unrealistic to accomplish, it won’t get done and then we tend to start procrastinating or saying “I’ll do that tomorrow”.

    I find it that the key things to productivity are:

    (A) knowing your productivity preferences (e.g. do you prefer to do the heavy lifting in the morning or evening?). Not every productivity tip works for everyone so it’s important to know what works for you (e.g. I like to do sports just before lunch, as opposed to first thing in the morning as it’s currently popular. What works for you?)

    (B) knowing your goals (and separating those from ‘actions’ – a goal is “to get 20% more income in your business in the next 30 days, an action is something that you take towards achieving that goal, for example “create a freebie”). It’s too easy to make this mistake 🙂 Your goal isn’t to “re-do your website” but to improve your website conversion rate so you get more income /subscribers/ whatnot…

    (C) planning realistically – we tend to think we can do more (tomorrow, of course) and then we don’t achieve it and we feel bad at the end of the day. Or we go on facebook during the day because it takes pressure off our minds. Start by making you goals or daily priorities so small that it’s impossible not to achieve them, but make sure they are important (as Marie says) to your business.

    (D) allowing yourself to be human – I say that productivity is like dieting: most people can’t stick to a diet 100% of the time. But if you do 80% well, then you can actually afford 20% (when you have a bad day, things are not going well or stars aren’t aligned). And chances are that those 20% won’t be as unproductive as you think. You’d just do half your work and not have to feel like beating yourself up about it…

    (E) having a plan to deal with distractions – similar to not being productive 100% of the time, distractions DO and WILL happen so it’s just how we deal with them. My simple suggestion is to keep a piece of paper on your desk, and every time you have a thought to do something that’s not your priority right now (like google/research something, send an email, make an appointment, check facebook), to just write that down on that piece of paper. What it means is you’ll get back to that when you have a break, but also you can forget about them instead of trying to keep it in your head.

    Ah, I could go on 🙂 But I think I covered some of the most common ones that I see people are struggling with.

    Hope it helps someone.


    P.S. I love Marie’s dress in this episode!

    • Thanks Jana – it’s very helpful and sistematic 🙂

    • Pervin

      Great tips Jana and great reminder Marie.

      Marie, I enjoy watching all your videos and learn something new each time. You are awesome and I love your energy.

      Keep up the great work!

      • Caroline - Team Forleo

        Thank you so much, Pervin! Happy to have you tuning in 🙂

  51. Thanks for this tip, its very helpful to prioritize what’s important versus the ‘urgent’ stuff that I can put on the side until I can get it done that day. I created my own planner because as an artist, the struggle is real to find a decent planner…lol so with this new info, I will re-work my planner and use this tool as well.

  52. I created a 7 to 21 day turnover time for my graphic work with a priority clause and fee for urgent matters. It has helped me tremendously in planning my own time better and setting a new standard.

    Thank you for this video!

  53. Hi Marie,
    Love your videos and tips.
    Love your sparkling positivity.
    MarieTV is AWESOME! 🙂
    It always makes my day.

  54. OMG did I need this. THANK YOU, Marie! I’m normally really good with time management (love, love, love Nozbe). But at the mo’, I’ve got a full client load PLUS I just signed with an agent and am in the midst of trying to wrangle 20 years of my life into a memoir PLUS I’m launching a brand new flagship offering for my company NOURISH Evolution in summer.

    And I gotta tell you, I feel like weeks keep going by and the memoir and the offering keep getting shunted off to the side to make room for more client work, more this, more that. So the whole Urgent versus Important tagging (reminds me a lot of the boulders versus pebbles) is a technique I’m going to start using today.

    Thank you!

  55. Thank you, thank you, Marie! I was asking this very Q this morning! I’m in a highly creative time in my business, I’ve hired a coach for my new blogs and am making those important – writing one/week for 12 weeks, BUT writing copy for my new website is sadly lagging!!! And my body hasn’t been to the gym in a few weeks! The website launch was SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN this week and I haven’t followed through. I have important business requests popping up all over the world and I tend to put aside if I don’t know exactly HOW to do these things. Can you say more about this? What can we do when our business is exploding, we’re at the helm of the ship and don’t know HOW to do it all. It’s like I need an agent to help me with my European tour coming up, but can’t quite afford someone like that yet. Part of marketing my business is social media and contributing to various blogs & chat rooms & I get distracted just like you said. I once heard a guy say to have a work computer and a second computer/ipad, etc for social media, news, etc. Thought it was a good idea, but everything pops up on any screen I’m on whether it’s my phone, my base computer, my laptop. I’m conflicted. Another philosophy I abide by is when something comes up deal with it immediately rather than putting it aside, so some days are LIKE THAT – urgent yet if I go to important, they backlog. Sorry, I’m rambling, thinking of everything to do next! Got any suggestions???

  56. Kathy

    Boy can I relate to Angela! I seem to think everything on my list is important or it would not be there. I will have to get a little more picky with my time and discern what is important and what is urgent! Thanks for bringing back to my attention!

  57. I need these two words tattooed on the palms of my hand. It seems I am constantly weighing the two. I love this perspective, and uber love the action plan. Cuz it’s simple (and yer right – that does NOT mean “easy”). I’m smiling because I will be sure to smack my forehead with my “important” hand first! Overwhelm is a distraction (and sometimes an excuse) all of its own. Time to drop-kick it off my radar. Love you Marie!

  58. Talei Loloma


    I LOVE this! In some ways it it the opposite of what I do. I can kick social media to the curb but the urgent family, friend, and work in my biz tends to come first on the list. I can’t wait to try this, this week!

    Many Thanks!

  59. Good stuff!

    My method derives from the concept of “beginning with the end in mind.” (Thanks Steven Covey)

    I decide at the top of the week, month, year, etc. what things I would like to see happen in my life. You know, the overall goal or desire. I create a list of things that I NEED to do to make it happen and start with the first step in that direction. Those are the things that go on the “important” list. Anything outside of that (even the urgent things) have a place in my life IF I have some time to spare.

    Not easy to stick to, but simple to implement.

    Solid Marie!

  60. Love this A to the Q! I’m really going to give this a try this week because I spend so much time on answering emails each day that the important stuff always gets pushed off. Thanks Marie! btw I loved your hair 😉

  61. PREACH!! Omg, Marie, did you nail it today, THANK YOU!! This is me to a T and all of what you said makes total sense to me, why didn’t I think of this?!?! I have a website that I love and am in the process of improving, a blog that I love but need to contribute to regularly, articles that I need to write for a few websites that I contribute to that have been half done for a month and all the while, I’m a mama to a 1.5yr old and a wife that is tirelessly helping hubby find a job (who was laid-off over a year ago). Doing all of this while working 9-5pm. Wow, just typing that makes me feel overwhelmed! Even with all of that going on, what you said made TOTAL sense and has given me hope that I can get all of this under control and make my side business (website) my full-time job which is my ultimate goal. I am here to give and to contribute to the world and can’t wait until that is my reality!! Thank you & much love XOX

  62. Annette

    Oh boy. The Urgency is Addictive message and the realization that I/we might place those tasks first because we like to be needed hit home in a shocking way. I hadn’t thought about it like that. I often feel selfish when I put my stuff first. I generally vacillate between times when I am able to ignore the urgent stuff and focus on me and then times when I am completely at the whim of everyone else’s needs. When I am successful at putting the important stuff first I do it by making a list the night before and by not checking email or my phone until I’m done. Lots to think about. Thank you.

  63. Silvana

    Great video, Marie! Thanks! I like the idea if marking our items with U and I, which made me think of I=myself; U=you. Not always that black and white, but it might give me a cue.

  64. Jutta

    Hi Marie,

    thank you so much – very helpful. your message arrived exactly when I needed it;-)


  65. Samantha Kelly

    This is a HUGE issue for me, particularly in my day job, which is in fundraising. I have my list ready of things I want/need to do every day and by lunch time everyone else’s URGENT tasks are burying me alive. I also happen to be in a role were I support over a dozen people. How do I politely ignore in those situations? I tend to determine the REAL urgency of something by who it is reaching out – is it the President of our organization? the VP? my boss? A gift officer? But sometimes there are just so many people coming to me with urgency, and you better believe each individual believes the sky is falling in that moment. How the hell do I manage their expectations (and politely ignore) so I can get things done?!

  66. Catherine

    Great message…

    For me the question is to I feed the goose or the egg…

    All important things tend to feed the “goose” without which there would be no eggs.

    All urgent things are related to the egg which once consumed does not miraculously replace itself.

    Bottom line if I ignore the goose (important matters in my life) I will inevitably suffer consequences in either dissatisfaction, feelign of emptiness and deplation physically, mentally and spiritually.

    Good topic today, Thank you again for reminding me of this truth.

  67. Alexandra

    One of the best videos, EVER. From all we have to do for the day we forget the big picture, where are we going and what is important. But requires a lot of self control.

    Alex 🙂

  68. Karen Rickers

    Sometimes I think I instantly do the “urgent” tasks because they’re less scarey than the “important” ones. The urgent stuff is stuff I already feel competent at, usually, whereas the important stuff is usually breaking new ground … emotional ground if it’s something creative.

    • SO true!! Spot on Karen. I’m the same too, I don’t like to feel like I don’t know what I’m doing. Good luck with your ‘importants’ 🙂

  69. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this! Great insight and tools Marie thank you. Making my I & U list right now!

  70. nancy

    Great tip! I think the original source, however, is Steven Covey’s 7 habits of Highly Effective People. He talks about the 4 categories:
    1. Urgent & Important: i.e. house burning down
    2. Urgent & non Important: interruptions, emails, etc.
    3. Non-urgent and not important: distractions, twitter, fb, etc.
    4. Not Urgent & Important: meditation, working on your art, committing to your long term project, etc.

    Of course we have to respond to #1 first, then continue as Marie suggested with #4, then #2, and slowly try to minimize #3.

  71. I loved this episode , thank you. Sometimes things really can seem overwhelming, so your way of prioritising things becomes very freeing.
    My task this will be to contact as many US JDCs and prisons in order to help the hopeless, depressed inmates/prisoners see a path to find ways to cope with their problems and make better choices so that they can work towards a successful parole.
    Thank you so much for the inspiration you give us all. X

  72. This was exactly what I needed to be reminded of today. Urgent loves to steal the show! What’s important to you in your daily life is what truly matters. At the end of the day all the other task will still be there. You only get one life. Live it and love it!

  73. Hi,

    I love your answer on this one. I did an IT of a department once. The #1 thing that had them in low productivity was that they addressed only what was urgent and they also created scenarios for urgent situations. 🙂

    Case in point… this is important right now that I check it. I’m delaying a few things that I have to take care of. 🙂 Like rebranding my website. I’ve got the text and will be done soon. YEH! But is is fun!



  74. Allana Pinkerton

    Great reminder! I subscribe to Tony Jeary’s idea of sorting out Low leverage activities vs. High leverage activities. It really helps me decide if the projects, tasks, phone calls, etc. I am working on are helping me reach and achieve my goals.

    Watching your videos and reading your emails is considered high leverage activity because it falls under the category of self improvement. I must take time everyday to focus on me in order to succeed!

  75. Azzy

    Thank You so much…
    We tend to forget whats important to us when we are in stress…
    If we just practices this consistently even a little…I will add up and change our lives…
    Its profound…

  76. Rachel

    What a great Q and A? It’s great to have things validated. Last year I was trapped in the never-ending cycle of U – normally ‘Mum/Darling/Sis, will U do this? will you U do that? will you U help me? will you U come with me?’ And the this/that was always right now with the I’s I was trying to reach getting buried under the U’s really easily. However, since the beginning of the year, my focus has been me and my priorities, I am working on the things I feel are Important, following my Intuition, seeking the right Information, and ensuring what I do has Impact. I is really my favourite letter in the alphabet right now.

  77. Love your insight about how much more emotionally sexy Urgent stuff can be – more instant gratification and socially-connecting. Very helpful! Agree that starting with what’s important, v. urgent. Where it’s really a struggle to choose focus is when your options are between working on client deliverable deadline – truly urgent – or more progress on the book that’s going to free you from future client deliverable deadlines! As one of my advisors taught me some time ago, even if counterintuitive, start with the activity that is most important to YOU long-term first. You’ll stay late to finish that client deliverable, but you won’t likely extend your day for an activity that doesn’t have immediate payoff. Thanks for more good scoop as always, friend.

  78. WOW – Marie! It’s 3.50am and I can’t sleep. Thinking of all the urgent stuff I must do and getting me down on the big important stuff I’m be.earthing into the world right now! So….. yeah… I decided to do the ‘urgent’ – checked my emails… and found yours. I decided to watch that…. before the important stuff…. but WOW – the TIMELY ADVICE of this one…. and in a few hours, I’ll start the day(light) day (!!) in this busy house I live in with my beautiful man….. 10 people in a share house/ community style living in tropical paradise, where I”ve been winging to him how I can I do the dishes/clean up after 8 boys (eek gross), have space for myself + my morning practice + all the other billion things that distract me here (like living in such popular, beautiful home of game changers & lovers of life aka too much fun and love all the time living with my friends aka real family! And I constantly lock myself in my room to my new project of Love. So again, this is just the reminder I needed – to focus on the important (yoga + my dancing + my conscious lifestyle consultanting business) and leave all the urgent stuff (cleaning a kitchen for an hour a day, doing my washing for a man who somehow wheres I billion clothes and uses 4 towels every 2 days, and although the urgency feels to hang with friends and enjoy coconuts in the backyard…… to enjoy more coconuts… I’ve got to focus on giving my gifts of love to enjoy more in the future). You rock. Thanks for the reminder woman – from tropical, sweating-my-blls-off Cairns, northern Australia. Xx Em

  79. Great timing on this topic, Marie – thank you!

    This week my goals are 1) working on a video communication skills training I’m doing for nurses, 2) updating content on my website “about” page, and 3) getting my (self-employment) taxes done by 1/31.

    Of the three, one is most important, then two, then three. But I can see myself veering towards working in the reverse order. Why? Because I’ve got external deadlines to meet which makes the last two feel more urgent!

    Re-prioritizing right now as I write this, however, as a result of today’s video!

    I love what Stephen Covey says about about important vs. urgent tasks:

    “Quadrant II (important but not urgent tasks) is the heart of effective personal management. It deals with things that are not urgent, but are important. It deals with things like building relationships, writing a personal mission statement, long-range planning, exercising, preventive maintenance, preparation – – all thosethings we know we need to do, but somehow seldom get around to doing, because they aren’t urgent. “

  80. Marie, timely video. You just sold one of Ramit Sethi’s classes to me. Hit him up for a kick back. 😉 I’ve been spiraling in on a business idea centered around teaching busy professionals how to get the novel inside of them out into the world. So many people tell me they want to write a book, but don’t have the time – which really says ‘I don’t know how or where to even start’. Looks like it’s time to get busy putting that toolbox together to offer people. Nothing better than acting as a kind of midwife to someone’s dream.

  81. Mary

    I wish it were so simmple. I have my full-time job and then there’s care-giving for my Dad and my Aunt (I can’t afford nursing care or nursing home) so I have very little free time even after I drop twitter, look at my personal email one or twice a day (mostly hitting delete) and rarely look at facbook. The deams will have to wait.

    • Hey Mary, maybe unsubscribe from all those newsletters you delete anyway?

  82. This video couldn’t have come at a better time for me (one of my faves)! I’ve got some big creative goals coming up and getting really clear about my “I’s” and “U’s” will help keep that momentum going.

    My go-to guide for beating procrastination and resistance is Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art… and I bought it after a recommendation from you, Marie – so it’s a double thank you today 🙂

  83. Such great reminders! One thing that caused me to procrastinate on “Important” things is that usually they are big, like a goal or a project. And they take a lot of time to accomplish. So it’s futile to put it on my todo list everyday because I’d never get to the urgent things. Now what I do is keep the important things on a separate “goal” list and break them down into manageable parts. I put one part on the daily list, and consciously set aside one hour per day to work on the important things. That way I’m always making progress. Also, throughout the day when I realize I’m spinning my wheels, I say out loud to myself “what’s the next most important thing I should be doing?” It works to remind me to look at the clock and get me back on track. Thanks Marie!

  84. Great reminder. Good tip to schedule the important before the urgent. The Eisenhower matrix goes even further and I think is more realistic. The categories are urgent & important; important but less but not urgent; delegate and dump.
    Some things are urgent AND important. But that still means that the important things get done – they get scheduled. The thing that I like about this one is it calls for me to find out what my values are and base my prioritizing on that. So the important things will get done if I follow my values. I’d love to see you Marie talk more about this.

  85. Love the Important vs Urgency method for tackling daily tasks. For the past couple years I have been building out portions of other company’s businesses while trying to build my own. The problem is…their businesses pay the bills, while I’m working on building mine. I think a huge lesson here is learning to say no to a couple of their requests, until my business is off the ground and running. (so hard to say no sometimes, but soooo necessary!) Thanks for your tips today! Needed to hear it!

  86. I’m not sure that I differentiate yet the U vs I.

    I may have just started, but I definitely didn’t include all the important stuff.

    I can’t give any advice, because I, myself, have some lists to do 🙂

    Thanks Marie,

  87. Such value in articulating the distinction between urgency and importance. Thanks, Marie!

  88. Awesome! I’ve been finding myself having a hard time dividing this lately in the midst of looking for apartments cause I’ll easily find myself spending an entire afternoon looking (so much more than necessary) while I have other goals like writing my book, for instance. I think some “urgent” and “important” listing is in order… and maybe even setting a timer for some stuff so I’m not stressed and burned out.

    Thanks for this Marie! 🙂

  89. Great to run across this as I delay the important task of getting my exercise in for the day in favor of doing more business-related work. My physical and mental health are so important but most often get put on the backburner behind all things business-related.

    • Kristin - Team Forleo

      Mallie, I think so many can relate to feeling this way! Totally agree that our mental and physical health are what make every other part of our life tick along successfully. Good for you for recognizing that! (And with that, I’m making a mental note to get some yoga in tonight.)

  90. I LOVED this, @marieforleo! I’m going to start “U”ing and “I”ing my to-do lists. Other strategies that work for me: I observe a Shabbat for the modern Jew, if you will – No email or social media from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday; I leave home and work from a cafe, away from all the “urgent” distractions. Thanks, again, for this fabulous episode of Marie TV!

  91. Sally

    I have found so much inspiration from Jim Rohn. This nugget of his wisdom changed my life: “We always manage to get done those things we choose to do first.” By applying this simple truth, I have been able to accomplish goals and dreams I thought I never had time for, all while caring for my family and home, working in a demanding job, and finding time for friends and fun. Now I’m on a new journey to launch my own business. I feel overwhelmed, but thank you, Marie, for reminding me that this is what is IMPORTANT so I can out it FIRST!

  92. Sheila

    This is just what i’ve been looking for it and didn’t realize! I’ve had so many things i want to work on but always feel like other more “urgent” things come between them.
    I will try the technique you suggested and i can’t wait to see what happens

  93. Michelle

    Luv the P.S. in your email, it really spoke to me today. “You were born to create and contribute. Don’t let the demands of the world drown out the work your soul came here to do.”

  94. OMG This video was so made for me! I just added the U’s and I’s to my to-do list. Thank you Marie, I’ve never heard this before I love it and feel super clear and excited now!

  95. Hello; great video. Love your energy. as a blind computer user social media sites aren’t all that easy for me to use. unlike a lot of blind people instead of complaining about this i see it as an advantage over my sighted counterparts. if something isn’t fun then you will most likely use it less. so i do all my social media activity or at least as much of it as i can through email notifications. this keeps me off of the sites unless something requires me to visit. It does mean that i miss out on some of the posts of my friend and family. but if its important people will tag me call me send me an email etc. it frees me up for more time doing things that are really productive. hope this helps, max the blind blogger

  96. Michelle

    Absolutely LOVE and needed this! I have been struggling to get it all done and the work that comes from my soul seems to be on the back burner making me feel so frustrated. I now completely understand the difference between “urgent” and “important” tasks. Cannot wait to put this concept to work. I have been searching for a way to balance everything and am inspired by the idea. Thank you for sharing such great advice.

  97. Last year , thanks to B-School , I was able to organize better my life and my business.Your video have always been very inspiring with so much teaching. But for months I stop watching them…. Two weeks ago, I took the decision again to take some time watching your videos since they helped me so much last year in so many area of my life.
    Marie Tuesday Q & A is in my IMPORTANT to do list that I am doing right now.
    Thank you Marie for this amazing video ,like always.

  98. Arun

    Dear Marie, first of all thank you for such an idea.I don’t know how i found your website yesterday,today i saw your first video and really happy .Tomorrow onward am going to try this in my life..Thanks a lot..

    • Kristin - Team Forleo

      So happy to have you here, Arun 🙂

      • Arun

        Thank you Kristin

  99. Another great episode Marie! I am in this position right now .. lots on the go … beautiful dreams coming in to being … Important “v” Urgent … not what you would originally think …LOVE IT!!

    One way for me to juggle everything is to go to bed early and get up early. I love the early hours of the day, such a powerful, spiritual time, when the creative energy is most alive and connected (for me). I know everyone is different but this is what works. I also have taken to giving myself permission to do my DREAM stuff first. In this way the IMPORTANT is already scheduled in to my day and I then have to figure a way to fit the urgent stuff in. Oftentimes, if we give ourselves heaps of time to do something it will take heaps of time to complete. This system of planning helps me get ‘er done!

    Thanks again … I LOVE what you are doing!!

  100. Wow! This really spoke to me. Of course I already knew this (I think deep down we all did) and I knew that doing the important stuff first would be the tip, but when you phrase it urgent vs. important it makes so much sense. You are so right. The urgent stuff WILL get done. That’s the stuff we do instead of relaxing on the couch watching House of Cards with our husband if we’re under deadline – it’s the important stuff that always gets blown off. I get up at 5AM every day to do the important stuff and more often than not end up doing the urgent stuff. NO MORE! Thank you, Marie, for a well-needed reminder.

  101. Frank Daley

    Marie, good advice!
    The key is self-knowledge.
    And action.
    Here’s what I consider the Best Time management/Productivity tip ever.
    1. Before you go to bed, list then top five things you need to attend to the next day in order or importance (not urgency!)
    2. Prioritize them.
    3. In the morning, go to No 1. Work on it until you can’t work on it any longer (for whatever reason (internal or external).
    4. Move to No. 2. Repeat.
    5. Do the same for Nos. 3-5 until all 5 items have been addressed.
    6. Carry on with your work day.
    7. Do this daily.
    You will be astonished at how much you can accomplish.

    • Caroline - Team Forleo

      Great tip, Frank. Thanks so much for sharing it with everyone!

  102. The two most important things on my to do list have been working out to get in shape and writing my ebook so that I can $ell it! I’ve been putting them off every day for MONTHS and I let everything else get in the way. After watching this video, I did these two things immediately and got them done before starting anything else. Wa-BAM!

    Important first rocks!!

  103. Another awesome episode! It’s so true! It all comes down to identifying what is important and prioritizing… 🙂

  104. Nathalia

    Hi Marie I’ve started like 3 books and all the sudden I just forget about it even though that I want to write them my heart wants to write them when I have the time to do it my ideas are just gone!!! Now I have an idea of helping native Spanish speakers to speak English starting from “0” but I don’t have any certification or anything that says I am the right person to help this people in fact I’ve learn English on my own reading the dictionaries and listening to the radio, but i enjoy passing my knowledge over to who ever ask me for help do you think it’s possible thru the Internet to help them even though that I don’t have any college certification?

    • Caroline - Team Forleo

      Great question, Nathalia. While reading your note, I thought you might really like to check out this MarieTV episode:

      Marie shares some great tips on how to get started in a business if you don’t have “credentials” … yet!

      I hope that helps, and thanks for tuning in!

    • If you can help someone achieve that goal, let try. When you really help them and master your plan of training then you can start it as new career. Good luck

  105. One trick I do & tell my Organizing Clients I Coach when they get distracted is to write themselves an email with the 1-2-3 Top Priorities in the Subject Line. Leave that “Unread” so the bold Subject Line will catch your eye & keep you on track! It works to overcome email distraction.

  106. OMG Marie…this is a gem. Thank you very much for making things so clear and easy to implement immediately! I have been doing the urgent things THINKING that they are the important things. Today, after watching your video, I rolled up my sleeves (well not really, but you get this gist) and got to work to what is important to ME. Working on my website and content.
    My best friend in keeping me focused????? Anti-social app – it’s amazing!
    Thanks for making it a great Tuesday…..can’t wait

  107. Thanks so much for this video, Marie! I started my business while pregnant with my first daughter. My second daughter came along very shortly after the first. The task list of mothering and business development seems insurmountable most of the time. So often, in fact, it usually sends me in to frozen land where I’m too anxiety ridden to do ANYTHING at all. Your message is a big help and puts a lot in perspective.

    • Wow Danielle … you keep rockin’ it! I so admire YOU!!! and all mums and mum entrepreneurs … keep following your dreams xxx

    • Same with me when I have normal job while do other things serve myself. There are many things need to do and I feel not enough time and tired. When people have good priority will help people live better with balance.

  108. Thank you so much for these great ideas. I find myself crazy busy most days doing work that I LOVE at a Christian life coach training academy but it seems like sometimes the minors get in the way of the majors. I will try what you suggested. Thank you and keep being awesome!


  109. This goes really well with the B-School maxim that ‘If it’s not scheduled , It’s not real.’ I put the things that are important on my online calendar for set blocks of time and if I feel resistance I use tomato timer online to work for 25 minute slots with five minute breaks. I block for social media for just before the school run so I don’t get caught up in it.

  110. shelley mccready

    No further emails please!

    • Caroline - Team Forleo

      While we’d be sorry to see you go, we always include a link for you to unsubscribe at the bottom of our emails if you no longer wish to receive our newsletters.

      If you have any questions or need assistance, please reach out to our team at info at marieforleo dot com and we’ll be happy to help!

  111. OMG, Elsa’s hair looks AMAZING! Elsa! What you doin’ girl? What conditioner???

  112. Pavlina

    Your best one yet, Marie, because it spoke to me very loud! “I” must come first. Then even the “U” can benefit 😉
    I need to start writing.
    Thank you so much!

    • Chelsea - Team Forleo

      So happy to hear that, Pavlina!

  113. LOVE this video! I love all your videos, Marie, but this one hit HOME. I write up a To-Do list every night for the next day on a post-it note. I do what’s URGENT first so it is done, but do the IMPORTANT stuff first!? Ingenious. The urgent stuff will get done because it has to. Brilliant. THANK YOU.

  114. I loved this little trick. And, I totally relate. It gave me words for something I already do intuitively that’s been at the center of my success up to now. Now, I can do it better!

    Another weird little trick that I use as a super visual person is that I color code my Google Calendar events. I use my favorite colors for the things that are important, loud, intense colors for thing that are urgent, and all the other colors for all the other stuff.


  115. A very helpful tip and I agree it’s simple and easy to understand, but I’d like to add thoughts on the fact that the person who submitted the question feels like she doesn’t have time to tackle her dreams or important stuff. I don’t know her exact situation but when your job – the one where you make money (and lots of it ideally!) gives you the satisfaction that you are doing the important stuff then you don’t get so caught up in the weeds. I would work towards making my life’s work the important stuff – now how you do that is a bigger question and here are my top 3 ways:
    1. Meditate and use creative visualization every day
    2. Change your relationship with time by realizing you are the one who creates it.
    3. Figure out how to clear any subconscious and conscious blocks on why you can’t have it all (enough time, money, and energy to do the work you love, volunteer and have a life!).
    …As women entrepreneurs we have more power than we think!!

  116. First off, I absolutely LOVE your dress today Marie!

    I love this tip because as most of us, I can get very lost in the urgent. I always feel like “I can’t work on my project until everything is organized and under control!” The problem with this is that once things get organized like email, the laundry, etc….it tends to naturally get cluttered up again.

    I’ve started to set a chunk of time aside on Friday that I don’t meet with clients and go to a coffee shop instead where I just focus on writing.


  117. Another awesome one Marie! I love Steven Pressfield and have read all his books … this is a mantra I also use … Urgent vs Important. I loved, however, grabbing the extra nugget o’ wisdom on writing the I and U’s next to my items on my to-do list … good tip!!!

    Thanks for rocking!

  118. How uncanny! Was just talking about this yesterday with the MM group but you explained it so much better than I so have forwarded it on to my friends. Have been practising this very topic lately and you’re right the urgent stuff still gets done but the bonus is you feel great by knowing you’ve chipped away a little bit of the important stuff. Thanks Marie

  119. anybody else notice the coincidence that when you write the list of Important vs. Urgent things, you’re marking it with an “I” As in “our/my own goals and dreams things ” and “U” meaning “other people’s goals and dreams”.

    Couldn’t help but think how perfect that actually is-and how it’s probably not a coincidence at all:)

    -Thanks for a great episode!


    • Kimberley

      I did not notice that, what a great observation!

    • Wow! Really good observation Dana…
      Love that!!!
      Carla xo

    • Caroline - Team Forleo

      Oh wow, great catch, Dana! Love that!

    • I agree this time to wake up and practice something serve ourselves.

  120. Kimberley

    Hi Marie,
    I loved this video so much, thank you. The urgency and busyness is me all over, followed by exhaustion and no time left for all the importance and creativity bubbling away inside me.
    I subscribed to you mailing list yonks ago, knowing that some day I will need you. I never read the emails or watched any videos until quite recently and the reason being, I don’t have a business, I’m not creating anything, I’m not in your league yet. I thought I needed to make something or start something first before I was worthy of accessing your amazingness.
    I don’t know what happened but recently I’ve started to very excitedly and enthusiastically take responsibility for my finances. I’m loving your videos and am learning so much. I think you’re a deadset legend. So beautiful, real, funny and inspiring. I’m sorry I ignored you for so long and I gratefully welcome you into my world. xx

    • Caroline - Team Forleo

      Thank you so much for this wonderful note. We’re so delighted to hear that you’ve started tuning in, and we hope you continue enjoying our videos – we have some great ones in the works, too! 🙂

      We’re honored to welcome you into our world, and know that you’re always worthy and welcome simply for being the awesome YOU that you are!

  121. Yes! Love this (and love that you quoted Steven Pressfield- he’s one of my favourites). The thing I would add to what you say are the ideas of a) setting a realistic goal of what contribution you can make each day toward the “important work” and, b) celebrating the bite-sized accomplishments you make each day towards this work. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by what you don’t get done if you’re, say, writing a book. So setting a goal like “I will write for 20 minutes each day”, making sure you do that before moving on to the urgent things and then enjoying that accomplishment will help you from feeling like your efforts are not enough.

  122. I’m so guilty of this! I’m pretty sure I’m addicted to the subtle dopamine rush I must get when my phone dings with a new message etc. and I feel like I have to check it right now!
    Might go back to checking email just once or twice a day.
    Need to really make a conscious decision to focus on Important over Urgent.
    Love that Pressfield tip.
    Thanks Marie!
    Carla xo

    • Chelsea - Team Forleo

      Yes, I hear you – those dings and red notifications can be quite alluring.

      Something like Inbox Pause for Gmail can be really helpful since it won’t ding you about or show you new email coming in until you’re ready and finished with an important project. That way you can still have your email open to grab information, but you won’t get the distraction of new mail.

  123. Angela

    Hi Marie,
    Either this is my exact question I submitted or there is another Angela in exactly the same situation. Thank you so much for this timely video Marie! What a great technique and I think the “important” stuff resonates with me more so it probably makes sense to start with these things and set the momentum for the day. I love that this tip is not overwhelming and simple and practical to implement – thank you. A shout out to all the wonderful ladies commenting and offering advice and book recommendations. What an incredible space you’ve created here Marie, thanks for having us all along! Ange x

    • Chelsea - Team Forleo

      Thank you, Angela – so glad to have you here!

      • Angela

        Thank you Chelsea, I’m in day two of implementing U vs. I and it’s working!! Thanks Marie!

        • Chelsea - Team Forleo

          Love it! 🙂

  124. Hey Marie,

    Thanks for being one big ball of positive energy!! I love seeing you in my inbox every Tuesday..

    Loved the tips today.

    One new tip I’ve recently adopted is using a timer to block out things on the ‘to do list’ in 25 minutes blocks. During that 25 minutes, you can only focus on the task at hand. No coffee break, no checking emails, no twitter.. just 25 minutes of uninterrupted time.

    The good thing is it keeps you focused and you know in 25 minutes you can get up, make a coffee, move to a new task and another 25 minute block.

    Also, very good if you are sitting at a desk all day as it is important to get up and move every 30 minutes

    Julie x

  125. Dear Marie,
    I am a newbie to the world of Marie, and so incredibly grateful to be here!
    I am a creative professional and find that most of my time is spent putting out fires instead of sparking new and creative ones-
    Would love to see your “Important” and “Urgent” actors made into magnets for my white board to do list- they are so perfect!
    Also, noticed on your to do list, you had “Hire a Designer”- I would like to apply for that job if it is available!
    Before my switch to Interior Design I lived and worked in Europe designing printed textiles and dresses, it is a joy to see how beautifully you wear them!
    Thank you for sharing your spiritual, emotional and physical inspiration!
    When I hear you say that the world needs what I have to give, I truly believe it!!
    Dee Ann

  126. With 2015 came an urgency to get so many things done that I had to slow down and prioritise. This is such cool timing. As always – thank you for sharing your inspiration xx

  127. Marie, I am amazed with how often you are in my head. Perfect timing with this post. I find I also put off my creative tasks and recently have been getting more frustrated (and resentful) for the urgent tasks. For the past 2 weeks I’ve scheduled in my creative time, building my email list, but have been allowing urgent tasks to get in the way. I get stuck in the “need to respond asap” but know that isn’t the case. I think I’ve been suffering from procrastination and fear of will this biz really work. I feel like I’m ready to step into the fear, submit a guest blog post by next Friday. Thanks for the advice. I am going to commit to the important tasks first!

  128. I also neglect the Is for Us sometimes. Thanks for this great productivity tip! I’m gonna try it out to make sure I’m truly getting done what’s most important.

  129. Rosie

    Marie, I enjoy these episodes so much! Thank you for all the great advice. This video in particular speaks to me!

  130. Hi Marie, Love your message and your vids in general, always walk away with a refreshed point of view. Thank you.
    I would add that, somedays I do many “urgents” to indulge myself. This sometimes give me permission to stay on tract with the “importants”, disconnecting from the “crazy-making”. As an entrepreneur, in a world of rapid chaos, seeking contentment, these are the little things we do to keep it all moving forward :)))
    And good for you for promptly unsubscribing Susie, that was an important for sure ! Best regards, D

  131. I’ve always been a task-master, majorly talented at churning out loads of work, often to the detriment of my social life….

    However, as I’ve moved into life as a full-time entrepreneur, I’m started to notice the tendency for me to do what’s easy, over what’s important because the sense of urgency has shifted, and I’m holding myself solely accountable.

    I want to write a book this year to help online retailers market their brands more effectively. Have I written a chapter? No, but I’m blogging every week.

    Definitely a reminder to focus on what matters, and be relentless with my goals. Thanks Marie!

  132. Are you writing just to me? I was just talking to my dad about this then hopped on and checked my email and BOOM there you were saying the same thing – in a more concise way!

    You rock Marie!

    • Thank you so much Marie for explaining the difference between what tasks to get done each day and how to start working toward your goals at the same time. I love how you keep it so simple!

  133. Great video Marie! One thing that helps me perspectivise, to use the emails-from-clients example, is to ask myself what would REALLY happen if I worked on something else for 30 minutes before I replied.

    Obviously if I reply straight away it’s off the to-do list and I feel good because I got something done. But in real terms, most often it would make no difference, so I can work on my ‘important’ for 30 minutes and then do all that other stuff.

  134. Hi Marie,

    Thanks for another great episode!

    I’m happy to say that I generally do my important things on a daily basis. Things like exercising, eating well, sleeping, doing my most important work tasks and so on.

    But I also have to admit that for my work tasks I tend to be set on deadlines, doing the things that have more urgent deadlines first. I’ll have to take a more careful look at how I’m prioritizing. I’m sure I can do some improvement.

    In fact, I can think of times when I leave important things to the end of the day and then find myself too tired to do them. So here’s a spot to improve on. :)0

    Thanks for clarifying the difference between urgent and important. I think we all tend to believe that urgent things are most important/come first.

    Cheers, Lash

  135. Sachiaki Takamiya

    Dear Marie,

    I have recently started watching your shows, and I am enjoying them very much. Thank you for the wonderful contents.

    Today’s video is very familiar to me.

    I am a writer, an English coach, an organic farmer, and run a local network group all at the same time. Organizing my time has always been a big theme.

    What I do is to make a weekly schedule, and put everything I need to do, including Important Things, from the time I get up to the time I go to bed. When I am writing a novel for example, I put my writing time in the schedule, too. If anyone asks me what I am doing this Saturday, I’ll say I am busy writing that day. I usually give 4 months to write one novel. Therefore I don’t really have to do it this Saturday. I can change my schedule if I want to, but I don’t. I give the same weight to both Urgent Things and Important Things, and putting them in the schedule makes me feel that they are all urgent.

    I have managed to complete seven books this way.

  136. Kimberly

    This video hit my in box at a perfect time! My ‘To Do’ list has a 101 items on it and all of them are urgent…almost to the point of imploding on the urgency. Wow, what an excellent and much needed reminder to do what is important first. Duh! Urgency is such a delicious but costly diversion.

    Even though the video is fabulous (as always) the most valuable lesson I learned from this video was in the comments. We always hear the saying “haters gonna hate” and not to worry about them BUT I have always been secretly a tad terrified of the haters. I have allowed that fear to stop me from acting on my ideas too often just to avoid getting whacked on the head by comments just like the one made by Susie. Seeing the baseless and nasty comment and the super kind responses from the community is a powerful reminder that there really are way more supportive people to counteract the haters AND that it is ridiculous to allow the fear of someone hating my work stop me from sharing/creating/speaking my truth. It’s wonderful when something that you’ve always understood on a logical level finally becomes belief and understanding at the center of my being.

    The videos are awesome and have given me so much encouragement!! I am so thankful that you share yourself, your knowledge and your enthusiasm even though there are haters lurking in the weeds.

  137. Elizabeth

    Felt as if I wrote that Q! Thanks Marie for your awesome A 😉 I’ll definitely put that into perspective. #ImportantOverUrgent

  138. Thank you Marie!! Can’t believe you gave that tip away for free! Thanks also to Angela for that awesome question!

  139. JEDIDAH

    I am going to share this with my family and friends. I hope they subscribe soon coz we all need a dose of insanely-fun sanity!! Love the episode!

    • Chelsea - Team Forleo

      So glad you loved the episode, and thanks for spreading the good word, Jedidah!

  140. Thanks. I never really thought of it quite like this. Right now, I try to get most of the urgent stuff out of the way while my daughter is at school. What I realized after this episode is that while hanging with her is on top of my important list, the other important things on my list seem to scream out “hey- what about me?” So instead of really tending to that #1 importance, I am spending ample energy on fighting off the other important things…..ugh. I am ready to recalibrate and get what needs doing first. I am going to try this tomorrow. Thanks Marie. <3

  141. Dear Marie,

    I really liked Angela’s question. I also like prioritizing while writing eBooks, Technical Papers & Household work. Today’s video was very helpful for me. Hats off to Marie & Angela !!!

  142. lia

    Hey Marie!
    Tahnk you for your video about Important VS Urgent… very inspiring…
    problem for me is Urgent things often come up disguised asImportant and confuse me!!
    I’ll try with the list!
    Thank you!

  143. This is so interesting it actually feels counter-intuitive to me so that means I have to try it! Great episode as always Marie!

  144. melissa

    I just want to say a big thank you Marie for your awesome videos 🙂 this is the thing i struggle with on the daily. I also find it hard to put “my” important things first 🙁 and i find myself doing things for other people as my top priority. I am motivated to do work for others, and lend a hand but when its something directly related to my life im so unmotivated to do anything. By the time i get home from work im to tired to move and just end up eating dinner then going to bed. How should i overcome this ? Any pointers ?. Keep up the great videos and if ever you are in Sydney, Australia i think you should do a buisness/motivational event :). Lots of love x

    • Chelsea - Team Forleo

      Hi Melissa – thank you for your kind words!

      You’re definitely not alone in the unmotivated feelings and spending the day on others or the urgent tasks at hand. Hopefully this episode gives you some ideas on switching things around, maybe even literally moving your schedule, so that the important things you want to do for you happen first thing.

      Three other great MarieTV episodes you might love about this topic are:

      This practice of prioritizing your important goals isn’t easy by any means, but definitely worth it.

      No plans for Sydney or international travel right now, but we’ll absolutely let you know if there are plans in the works for the future! 😉

  145. lynn

    eliminate the external tempation .. this worked on me very well.. I have been procrastinating on preparing a test.. I know it is important but as long as I am online I couldnt help myself checking emails, brainstorming the marketing strategies for my business.. or reading others’ successful stories ..then I printed out alll my study materials.. put my laptop in my bag. after that I managed to concentrate on my test … after I finish certain amount of work, I will celebrate .. similar to tinyhabits … like BJ-Fogg said.. dont trust motivation .. behaviour can be designed 🙂

  146. I love this Marie! It is so easy to get caught up in social media, emails and often initially more fun… However, the days when I get engrossed in the ‘important work’ are so much more rewarding and allow me to use my big picture thinking to achieve so much more. Thank you. .

  147. Kim

    This episode was timed well! My colleague & I just reviewed our urgent & important matrix yesterday. We use the 4-square matrix to prioritize the work for our project because priorities keep changing from leadership; however we still have to do the core activities regardless of changing priorities.

    Good stuff!

    • Chelsea - Team Forleo

      Love it!!!

  148. Hey Marie,

    Great tip. Really old but still amazingly right on spot.
    I use a productivity list each day. I put down my Life Purpose, my Awesome Three, My Challenge, My Projects, My Priorities (A, B en C) en The People I am waiting for or wanna reach out for.

    At the end of the day I always get the things done I find the most important because they are in the A section of my Priority list. They connect with my Why and my Projects. I am doing this for 301 days now and it really makes a difference each day. Every 30 days I hang them on a wall. Then I analyse my productivity sheets. Have I forgotten something, what did I accomplish, did my focus shift and why, what should get more attention, what gets the best results and what doesn’t.

    I can advice anyone out there to use this list. One other thing. I was a creative who hated structure. Now I am a creative who gets things done by adding some structure.

    Do the great work, be a life artist,

    Love you Marie!

  149. Wow. This post couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve been struggling with urgent matters vs important tasks and this approach is a game changer. It’s such a more conscious way of going through your day and deciding what to focus on. There are so many distractions around us that beg for our attention but as you said, they are not really important! Thanks so much Marie and keep inspiring us!

  150. Something that I’ve been trying lately is taking all of my Important items (the stuff that I’m not necessarily getting paid to do but will ultimately lead me to sharing my dream with the world) and breaking them down into small steps. Then I make sure I do at least one of those steps per day. Forward motion without overwhelm allowing me to work on the Important stuff as well as the Urgent client work.

    Great tip, Marie! Thanks for doing what you do!!

  151. This is the advice I give to myself and my sales agents, but I can’t seem to get through to them. I had them all sign up for your email and now they finally understand this! You did such an amazing job explaining this and I can’t thank you enough. You have a gift Marie. Thank you for sharing it with the world.

    • Chelsea - Team Forleo

      Thank you SO much, Janis.

  152. Tammie

    This was very helpful. Being a mom of 7, stay at home and homeschooling one too plus 10 animal beings too. Taking care of others is what I domfirst then I do me, which having these definitions really help make it easier for me to create that space for myself . Because I can make it all importantly urgent!
    Thanks for the inspiration and empowerment today !

  153. I love prioritizing and getting more things done! Recently I went through Racheal Cook (The Yogipreneur)’s Fired Up & Focused Challenge (it’s free too btw ~ and we talked about this concept, but a little expanded (Urgent + Important, Urgent + Not Important, Not Urgent + Important, & Not Urgent + Not Important).

    For me, right now, as a multiple business owner, mom with one on the way, and just as a person I have A LOT to do. Which means my to do list feels like it’s miles long and sort of threatens to overwhelm me each time I look at it!

    So I’ve taken this concept & adapted it a bit. As per Racheal’s advice I am working on getting rid of all the “omg” tasks first (which are the Urgent + Important). For the future I’m making sure that I lessen the amount of things that I would categorize here to nill so I don’t feel like I’m putting out fires all the time in my life.

    Going forward, any time I add something to my to do list (and I personally love to use Asana for this ~ another freebie!) I schedule those things that I know are actually important. Anything else gets added, but doesn’t get a date assigned to it so I automatically know it’s “when I get to it, I get to it”.

    As I go along sometimes too, I will realize that maybe X isn’t something I really need/want/have to do anyhow and I’ll go ahead and delete those tasks.

    Writing it all down in an app that I can have wherever (computer, phone, or tablet) makes it less stressful because I won’t lose it. It also means that I can update it instead of searching for paper & pen and hoping not to lose it!

    This has lifted SO MUCH weight off my shoulders to not feel like I have to keep it all in my head!

  154. Thank you, Marie! You always make things super simple, easy to understand and take action on. That is a real gift that only a few have in my opinion. I keep coming back to learn from your honest, simple and clear teaching. That definitely comes under “Important” on my list! 🙂

  155. Love this vid and urgent vs. important concept, but OMG how do I decided.

    Watched the vid again, googled it read so more on it. Everything feels/seems/is IMPORTANT. Nothing exciting or dramatic “urgent” on my list- Is it possible my whole list IS important ?

    Should I limit the size of my list so its not too overwhelming, since all these important things sure won’t get done on one day? Thanks !

  156. Fabulous reminder! I find myself guilty often of putting “check email” on my to-do list, and then doing it first. Even when those emails are personal! The emails can wait – the real, important work cannot.

    It’s crazy how quickly a day can go when you aren’t fully focused and aware of how you’re spending your time. I’ve started to close Facebook and only open it back up at specific times during the day. This has helped too – gone are the days of losing an hour or more down the rabbit hole of social media!

  157. Hi Marie! Thanks for this! I’m an for online businesses, start-ups and creative entrepreneurs. I’ve been growing my business but somehow I’ve been getting zapped of energy lately. I think I just need to learn to say no to projects that don’t energize me, and a reminder on prioritizing my to-do list definitely came in handy. So thanks so much!!

    Jana G.

    • Chelsea - Team Forleo

      Yes, Jana – getting on the “No Train,” as Marie calls it is really important. Happy to hear this episode helped!

  158. Lucia Haliburton

    Hi Marie,
    I’m a freelance/contract worker currently between contracts. I have recently had a personal creative breakthrough and have been worried my day-job might exhaust me once I start my next contract – just as I am finally committing to my creative needs. My creative work is of utmost Importance to me and has made me happier than I’ve been in a long time. I really feel like defining Important vs Urgent will be what keeps me on track for my personal goals. I plan to start using this method now, so the habit is well-established by the time the day-job starts. Thank you so much for this well-timed light-bulb moment.

    I have one thing I’d like to add. I recently read an article about what really successful people do, and it’s exactly what this episode is about: putting the important stuff first. The one thing this article emphasized that may help people that have a structured work/ life day is to wake up earlier and do those Important things before your “outer world” wakes up or before heading to the office when the U demands can feel louder or more powerful.

    That’s my plan, and I think simply asking myself “I or U?” (LOVE the subtle double-entendre) when something gets added to my list will keep me on track. “I vs U” so simply and clearly defines the struggle so many of us face day to day, not just in our work, but in our relationships as well. Thank you.

    I have been following you for a while, but this is the first time I felt compelled to write. Thank you for your contribution to my life over these last few years.

    • Caroline - Team Forleo

      This is wonderful, Lucia! We’re delighted to hear that you’ve been following us for a while, and thank you so much for your kind words.

      We’re so glad you decided to comment today for the first time and share your suggestion too – I love the idea of working on your “I” before jumping in to the outer world. That’s such a great reminder!

  159. This is fantastic. The way I understand Important vs Urgent is this: The important work encompasses the “Big Picture” it is the work that moves us toward completing the painting that is our dream. The urgent work is the little details within the painting – the blades of grass, the leaf on the tree, the reflection on the fruit bowl – that help complete the painting but is not the backbone or foundation of our dream. Just details that may (or may not) enhance it. I don’t know if this is what Marie meant but it is what I understood from this session.

  160. Katie

    Some urgent things are also important, so the first step is actually eliminating the items that are urgent and not-important, as well as the not-urgent and not-important because those can be seductive. The challenge I have found is transitioning from the urgent-important tasks to the not-urgent-important tasks. You have to address the urgent-important first, so what’s key is finding a way to slow yourself down after taking care of those urgent tasks and feeling ok about spending time on something else that is important, but doesn’t have an adrenaline-pumping deadline and/or a clear, defined outcome.

  161. Such a good reminder Marie. I’m re-starting a business that was “on hold” for 2 years while I worked exclusively with one business partner, and I’m smack dab in the middle of “urgent” versus “important” as I put things in place to re-launch.

    One thing that helps me immensely when I reach the point of overwhelm is to 1) take a deep breathe 🙂 and then 2) ask myself “What’s one thing I can do right now that is going to move me forward towards my biggest “needle mover” for my business.” Then I do that, no matter how big or small! Lots of those moments strung together and it’s amazing how much closer you are to the prize!

  162. I actually hadn’t heard of this technique before and it was really refreshing. I think where some people have issues with it is when they take it as an EXTREME. This doesn’t mean “don’t call your clients back in a timely manner” or don’t take care of the urgent stuff before it needs to get done.

    Like you said in the end, the urgent stuff will get done. It’s all just a matter of balance. And many of us need to learn how to tip the balance a little more in favor of what’s important to us. Thanks for this episode Marie 🙂

  163. Amy

    Starting each day choosing my 3 MIT’s (Most Important Tasks) has worked best for me. Whether it is business, dream or family related, picking my 3 MIT’s lets me know what I need to focus on and also helps me pin point when I am beginning to drift towards procrastination. Give it a try.

  164. Lynn Cook

    Love your description of the important being quiet, so true, and the urgent being often about other people’s stuff.

    Last week I was talking to friends about all the things I want to do, and one friend cut to the heart of my problem – saying “Lynn, your artwork is important, your weaving is important and gardening is always important, but you need to cut down on your social media.” Fantastic, yes! Exactly.

    Be quiet, be creative, do the important things first. If the important stuff is done, everything else is in perspective and matters that are really urgent become obvious and the other stuff fades away.

  165. Jennifer Rodriguez

    Marie Forleo, You are soooo cool Girl! I’ve seen and received tons of advice and tips on productivity but this is the best one I’ve EVER seen or received so far. The difference between Urgent and Important – that’s the key to everything. Thank you soooo much, Girl! You’re the BEST!

    • Caroline - Team Forleo

      Awesome, Jennifer – thank you so much! We think you’re the BEST too! 🙂

  166. Jinny

    This couldn’t have arrived at a better time. I incorporated your strategy into my very busy consulting work day this morning. I feel like I’m finally going to get over the hump of launching a business I’ve been developing for more than a year. Thank you Marie. Awesome.

  167. PFF


    Your message today was insightful and troubling for me. I am a stay at home wife and mother of four toddlers, a 3 year old girl and 2 year old triplets one boy and two girls. I’m sitting here trying to figure out how to apply your wisdom to my situation.

    My list of important things have me at both ends of the spectrum they are my sense of purpose, my gift, my hearts desire and also my source of stress, anxiety and doubt.

    While my urgent things are living breathing gifts from God that only take a break for a few hours a day. I write during nap time some days but lately especially this cold season I’m barely getting thru each day.

    I been advised to step away during this time because my children are my number one priority and wait until they are in school. That is wise however what am I to do in the mean time? My creativity and heart never shut down. It’s like air to me and without it I don’t have purpose. And the one thing I do know is yes I love my husband and children however I love me more. I can’t be the fun, outgoing, creative, smart woman of God that I am without the other piece of me. Stopping would hurt all of us.

    So what to do? I want it all! As of now my hearts desire is not paying the bills so having help is not feasible. I need sleep and my most creative time of day is morning. My children are early risers and my 3 year old has school. The only reason I am writing today is because my husband is working from home and I am in bed sick.

    I’m organized, determined and crazy enough to go after the desires of my heart. Just need to find a way to balance my desires, marriage and children.

    Zealously yours,
    Perfectly Flawed FeMale

    • Kristin - Team Forleo

      You are SO not alone – in fact, Marie has an episode of MarieTV that touches on this exact topic. It features Latham Thomas of MamaGlow and I think the key things they talk about will really resonate with you!

      You can find that episode here:

      Above all, though, keep doing what you’re doing. If you feel the passion in your heart to keep going — keep going. Maybe for some people temporarily stepping away is the right thing to do, but if that doesn’t feel good in your heart, keep up your hustle. I can only imagine how challenging it must be to balance everything, but don’t let anyone tell you to stop if your gut is telling you to keep creating.

      • PFF


        Another confirmation! Thank you so much I will keep making it do what it do. Each day is a new opportunity to push it to the limit. Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!

      • Marie, this is a great episode. Thanks for this tip that is so helpful to many.

        As a mom, however, I wondered the same thing as perfectly Flawed Female. To her I write, you are amazing and four children who are not school age will consume you. That is a fact. When my boys (I have two of them, three years apart now 9 and 12) were younger they both stopped napping at age 2 so, frankly, with hindsight I realize it was not possible to achieve what I hoped. I am, however, a single parent with no family support which increased the pressure on me. I had my weekends when they were with their father. Please know this does not mean somethings were not achievable. Small children however, can’t be put on hold like adults whether they be spouses or clients. I watched the MamaGlow episode but, frankly, found myself laughing out loud when Latham Thomas suggested utilizing “nap time as dream time”. My boys barely slept and when they did I would shower! I couldn’t dream without getting some basic hygenie in first. We need to speak up for moms more and be truthful about how demanding the job is.

        Keep going and do know they grow up. My eldest now is terribly attached to his mobile phone and I find getting him to look in my directions sometimes challenging! Thank goodness I now have my work.

        • Caroline - Team Forleo

          You make some great points, and thanks so much for adding your voice and wisdom as someone who has been there. I know parenting can be one of the most difficult jobs there is, and you’re absolutely right that kids can’t be put on hold.

          I know other moms (and dads too!) shared your sentiments about the “Working Moms” episode, and there were some terrific discussions over there in the comments about parenting, balance, sacrifice, and getting things done for those who found that naptime wasn’t working for them too.

          You sound like an incredibly strong woman (and mom of course!), and thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and encouragement to all the Perfectly Flawed Females tuning in!

    • Everyone also deserve with good, you can choose both things you want. But you need efforts to do things best of you can and always to be smart to save your time and energy. Everything also have reasons and always you have enough power and energy for things you want. Decide follow what your heart calling, do things with your best.

  168. That bit with the personified urgent & important made me laugh out loud! So hilarious, and true. Which makes it even more hilarious.

  169. I so needed this!!!! I love you Marie Forleo, you totally rock!

  170. Osan

    Watched a few of your videos before but this is the one that gets me. Thank you Marie!

  171. I absolutely love this topic! I am doing the “entrepreneurial moonlighting” over here and I personally separate the I’s from the U’s by carefully scheduling my “side hustle” time. For me, it means waking up at 5am before I have to head off to my 9-5. I NEED to know what I am working on ahead of time — I can’t wake up at 5am and say, “Sooo what should I work on now?” Instead, I sit down the night before or even on a Sunday and schedule out that time. Then it’s just a matter of sticking to my commitments! Thanks for the validation and insight Marie!

    • Kristin - Team Forleo

      That is serious dedication and focus, Stephanie. Good for you!!

  172. Dear Marie,
    I appreciate how you abbreviate ‘urgent’ and ‘important’ to ‘U’ and ‘I’. These letters helped me remember the keys: if the task is urgent for you/U or important for me/I. This helps me to decide if the work I am doing today will help me reach the goals I have for the future and also help me feel like I have lived each day well.
    Thanks Marie.
    Lucy J

    • Chelsea - Team Forleo

      Yes, exactly Lucy! 🙂

  173. Jerry

    I love this. So good. Needed to hear this.


  174. When people done important tasks then they will feel really good. And people don’t have other choice to get things better. Waste time with things not important will make you sick and also give you feel bad.

  175. Rizzo

    Hello Marie,

    this Q&A is just awesome, thank you for this video. My mission this week is to apply your advice in my life! It works but I still struggle with one thing:
    Everytime I am about to start a task or am in the middle of if there comes my “self-sabotage-seducer” and kicks all off…I let myself get seduced by things that aren’t important neither urgent….it takes over me and I forget time, issues (more or less) and myself…surrender to my distractions, fun and entertainment…
    Example: I just started to read an important book for my work and suddenly I stop to read it right after the second sentence and browse sites just to find an information that has nothing to do with the topic I am reading – just for fun. I put all aside even knowing that what I am doing is not good to me and waste my time on a grand scale with things that don’t bring me further.

    I don’t know how to deal with it anymore. Can you give me some advice? Thank you!!

    • Caroline - Team Forleo

      Ahh, Rizzo, you’re SO not alone! I know very few people who DON’T get distracted from time to time – those entertaining distractions can have such a strong pull, and it’s so easy to get sucked in.

      Fortunately, staying focused on one thing at a time is a bit like a muscle that you can continually exercise and work on. We have a great episode that talks about some techniques for improving your focus and follow through, if you’d like to check that out:

      I think it’s one of my personal favorite episodes, and I actually refer to it myself when I need a little boost of focus.

      There are also some great apps and tools out there that can help you stay focused. This could be as simple as using a Pomodoro-style timer to time your work periods, or it could be something like the apps “Self Control” for Mac or “Freedom” for PC – these actually block out those distracting sites for a designated amount of time so you can’t go to them at all.

      I hope these tips help you kick those distractions to the curb, at least while you’re working, and thanks for tuning in!

    • That easy to cure, when you have a list of things you will do for I and U. Before you do something in this list, you tick a note for it to make your command that you need finish this work before do other things. I don’t want cheat myself and I think you so. I do this because I also at same with your situation. And It work for me.

  176. It seems like the same principle of paying yourself first when you want to save money. In this case it’s be your own client first. Schedule an appointment with yourself. Show up. Do the work. Make it a habit. Decide where you want to be and then work backwards to determine what you need to do and when to get there.

    • Kristin - Team Forleo

      Autumn, I love the idea of being your own client first. Makes so much sense. If you schedule an appointment with someone else, you’re going to keep it, right? So doing that for yourself is just as crucial — and very wise!

      Thanks for sharing with us!

  177. Teri Bradford

    Wow, this was perfectly timed! I’m a college student and I’m very involved on campus in multiple things. I juggle my interdisciplinary major and a minor while also juggling extracurriculars as well as work (it’s juggle inception!). I usually arrange my to-do list by things that just HAVE to get done followed by things that need to get done but not before that other stuff. Basically I was arranging my list from Urgent to Important and started with Urgent every time, leaving the Important things to overlap with my to do list for the next day.
    Categorizing what is Urgent and what is Important will be hard probably but I’ll definitely try it out. Thanks 🙂

  178. This is great. I have been trying to find a better way to get organized. I am going to try this immediately and see how it works. Thanks Marie for sharing your gift!!

  179. Natalia Stefanova

    What’s really cool, I have observed, is that when I do the (I)mportant things first, over time the amount of (U)rgent things reduces, if not disappears. Magic!

  180. Thank you Marie. Very timely video for me! How do you plan your videos to be so in tune to what we need when we need it? What’s your secret?
    It’s easier to tell ourselves to continue to do what is not important because more urgent items are calling our names. And to set those urgent items aside is very hard to do. It makes me wonder how many times out of the day we are doing what we think we need to do but really is just something someone else wants us to do because it helps them. We need to help ourselves first. We need to put ourselves first. Easy for me to say, harder to do. It takes time. It takes practice. But by working at this daily, pretty soon we will forget when the transition really happened. We will be doing what is important to us all the time. Thank you again Marie

    • Chelsea - Team Forleo

      Derek, it’s straight-up mind-reading 🙂

      We love that our videos have been so helpful and timely for you! It does take practice to do the “I”s before the “U”s, but you’re so right that we get better at it the more we do it.

    • It depend your feeling, you will feel need to stop doing something to do other things you feel good like that is important or you love it… Always make your list I and U before.

  181. Shari

    While the concept of “Important” vs. “Urgent” is not new to me (I am familiar with many different productivity matrices, such as the Eisenhower box), this video was a timely reminder not to get caught up in everyone else’s business at the expense of my own happiness and fulfillment. You hit the nail on the head Marie, most of the time the ‘urgent’ things are urgent to other people because it revolves around THEIR schedule and plans, not necessarily my own. At the risk of sounding obvious, and grammatically incorrect, important things are important to “I” and urgent things are important to “U” (you).

    Now knowing this is one thing, but putting it into practice, well, that takes practice, lol! It is certainly something I will try to be more conscious of from now on. Thank you for the reminder!

  182. Kirstena

    Hi Marie,
    I haven’t heard of this method to prioritize before and I have really been struggling with Time Management. I watched the video and thought “How could this help”. With little faith in this method, I started to read the comments below, I realized I was being skeptical to a trying something new. Time is precious and costs at the same time, however, I am in desperate need to find a solution that actually works best for me. Thank you for the video, I’ll try out this method and keep you posted.

    • Kristin - Team Forleo

      Kirstena — definitely check back and keep us posted. We’d love to hear how this works for you. It can be tricky trying something new, but hopefully it skyrockets your productivity and makes time management a piece of cake for you!

    • When you know exactly things you need to do then you will go to do it. People lazy to consider to know this. So first for help a day productive you should write down things you need to do a day (I and U method is good practice with). Then from this list you will consider what you need to change with first thoughts about that to have list of works really productive, even you can change that in process of day. But that don’t be all of solution for you. One more thing you need to do is overcome your double and procrastination to do that list. That mean you don’t know how to do some of works in that list…. Believe in me, do it, something you don’t know let you ask or require from other. It will easy help you start, support in process. When you comfort with that process, you will gain your own experience and knowledge. First start always hard but then easy to keep up.

  183. This is ridiculously profound!

    Tara xo

  184. I or U = I or YOU…

    Tee Hee!!!

  185. I think it’s about seeing the entrepreneurial journey has a “whole life” experience. We are ‘whole’ people–not just worker-bees and as such, we have the freedom to create a life-style where the important work gets done AND we make time to do the things that nurture our creativity, health and wellbeing.
    Always enjoy your videos. Thanks, Marie. :]

  186. Adrienne

    I love your dresses! Please tell me where you buy them?

    • Caroline - Team Forleo

      Marie has an awesome stylist who picks out Marie’s outfits from a variety of places, and a few of those are H&M,, and Bar III from Macy’s! 🙂

  187. Definitely looking forward to implementing the U vs. I on my morning to-do list. I get bogged down in the urgent, especially when it comes from supervisors or management. Any advice for how to help your upper management understand when something really is not important? I find often that because my manager can mislabel projects as “important” when really they are only urgent, it throws my whole day off even when I have the best of intentions.

    • Caroline - Team Forleo

      Ohh this is such a great question, Victoria – I’ve definitely been there myself too. It can be a real challenge to have someone else’s agenda keep sneaking in on your important projects, especially when it comes from your managers!

      One thing I always liked to do personally was read over or consider the request, and if it really could wait, I would respond quickly letting my manager know that it’s on my radar and I’ve scheduled it for the next day, or a time that seemed appropriate, then followed through. That way they felt better receiving an immediate response with a timeline, and that worked nearly 100% of the time for me.

      Another thing that I’ve found sometimes helps me is to schedule some time for dealing with urgent “stuff.” If you know you’ll be handling “urgent” projects from 3-5 daily, it can free up more time to dig in to the more important projects before that.

      If you find you’re not able to find the time to focus on the tasks that are really important, you might like to sit down with your manager and see if there are ways you can work together to make sure you get the time you need to focus on the important tasks. For a few tips, I thought you might like to check out this episode about winning people over:

      Our guest, Bob Burg, is really amazing and the tips he shares are incredibly helpful.

      I hope this helps you find great ways to get more of the “I” in your days, and thanks so much for tuning in!

    • I think life is journey, if you can’t be perfect about something right now doesn’t matter. You don’t need done all things at once time. Don’t try to be perfect, simple done it. You should focus and consider about things serve you, for your own, things you love to do. Remember people can do anything but can’t do all things. If your own project so big for one person to do, let hire other do for you or build your own team. I at that situation many time. My experience.

  188. Hey Marie, I just wanted to say a HUGE, HUGE thank you for this video. ‘I’s & ‘U’s!!!! Amazing tip! I always feel like I have to do my Urgents first before I can start my Importants. I’m off now to re-do my to-do! Yay! xx

  189. Oh Marie, I’m a little embarrassed. I guess I have been taking care of the urgent things and am just now getting around to LAST Tuesday’s Marie TV…which yes, turns out to be IMPORTANT!

    Thank you Marie. I so appreciate your willingness to share and help us all grow in our personal and professional lives.


    • Kristin - Team Forleo


      No need to feel embarrassed! I’m so glad this episode resonated with you. And you’re just in time for a new episode tomorrow, too! 🙂

  190. Great tips, Marie!

    I love that you just shed light on the fact that YOU get to choose.

    You get to call the shots, be the boss, run the show in your own life and decide what’s most important all the way down to the nitty gritty details of your day. Those decisions are what creates a life you love (or not).

    xo, Tifanie

  191. I love to do a mind dump and then I put A,B or C beside all the items on the paper. A is important, B is urgent and C gets delegated.
    Thanks for the share Marie.

    • Kristin - Team Forleo

      Oooh, I love this strategy, Rowena. It sounds like a total stress-reliever just being able to mind-dump and then organize everything into buckets like this. Thank you so much for sharing with us!!

  192. Marie Marie Marie! you are such a life saver! I’m sitting in bed with the flu because, for the past couple of months, I didnt know about Urgent and Important and now I’ve crashed and burned! Thank you for giving me the tools to make sure this doesnt happen again. And thank you for being such a beautiful inspiration! Girl you totally rock and I’m so grateful for you!
    x Linda

    • Chelsea - Team Forleo

      Oh Linda, we hope you feel better! I love that we get to keep you company through MarieTV, and so glad this episode struck a chord and gave you just the tip you needed for once you’re out of bed.

      Another post you might love checking out is one Marie shared on what she calls the Upper Limit Problem:

      Happy MarieTV watching, and take care of yourself! We’re sending you tons of healthy vibes and happy thoughts 🙂

  193. Emily

    Love love loved this post. For YEARS I´d been telling myself, “your life becomes the things you don´t procrastinate” which was kind of my incentive to get out of bed and go for it. Then last summer, after YEARS of rejection slips from literary magazines and negative pregnancy tests I sold my first short fiction and gave birth to my son in the same month. I am abundantly happy. For the first time in a long time, I´m at liberty to invent new New Years Goals!

    • Caroline - Team Forleo

      Oh wow, that’s wonderful, Emily! I love the part about life becoming “the things you don’t procrastinate.” What a great reminder. Congratulations on your exciting big wins last summer, and we’re sending our best wishes for more happiness and abundance in this new year! 🙂

  194. Maria – I love your videos but his is my FAVORITE! My name is Angela and I really felt like you were speaking directly to me. (Thank you to the other Angela for asking this question.) I just put a post it by my computer that says “Is this a U or an I? I will do the Important ones first.

    Thank you so much Marie. (And I can’t wait to take B-school again this year.)

    • Hi Angela, I really love work but that is my character not good too much. But come from my experience I want to add here. Do things you want, don’t do work so much, even you done it always there are many of tasks or work waiting you, you always don’t feel good if follow that process. If you wanna to do something, do it.

  195. I love what you say because it’s literally what I’m doing lol

    “**This episode is vital — especially if you’ve got an awesome project like writing a book, finally getting back in shape, or making the time to start your business!”

  196. Wow! What a simple revelation… i’ve been hooked on urgent stuff for so long …. no wonder its taken me so long to get my act together and get to whats important. You’re awesome i love you!

  197. I love this video. I am starting from tomorrow. U for urgent I for important. Thanks Marie 🙂 <3

  198. Andrea

    I love the simplicity of the message…Urgent vs IMPORTANT

  199. Stevie

    Well, you must be living in my pocket you know me so well, I often write notes during the night and in the morning I have these notes written on small bits of paper which I add to my – to do list, I have so many things listed to do and feel I am never – to do list free – I am going to do what you said now and get these things done, it’s like I am always playing catch up; I often love to be away overnight somewhere where whatever is around is not yours to do, so you get more of what you want to do, done. Thanks again Marie for your energy, you can get out of my pocket now!

  200. Hi Marie! I’m a little late posting about this video but I wanted to tell you…thank you! This video is totally important. It’s a reminder of how Steven Covey teaches us to focus on working in quadrant two. Great reminder! Thanks!

  201. One technique I find helpful is to write my 5 main goals in a journal daily, and each morning, I reflect over the previous day’s to-do list and ask myself, “What did I do yesterday that got me a little bit closer to my 5 goals?” What I find is, it makes me proud of the things I tackled, and it makes me aware of the days I blew it and did zip towards my goals. It also inspires me for the day at hand to WANT to be able to have something worth recording at the end of my day. I may have picked this one up from Brian Tracy 🙂 bottom line, if I even get ONE of my “I’s” done, I count the day as a success. A day with zero progress towards at least one of my goals is a wake up call.

  202. Michelle

    WOW. Thank you, Marie. This morning I told myself that today I am finally going to do MY work. As I was looking through my email, I saw yours and knew I had to watch this episode. I can’t tell you how much I needed to hear this, especially today. I have had so many dreams over the years of starting my own business, and have always put them on the back burner, because I made “urgent” things my priority. Today that all changes. Marie, you are such a gift to us all. Thank you for all of the positive energy and encouragement you put out into the world! Now if you’ll excuse me I need to get to WORK! 🙂

  203. Jutta

    Hello Marie, uhhh, I like this video. And for sure I will keep this in mind forever 🙂

  204. Gretchen

    Thanks Marie! HA! Your urgent buddy encouraging you to check twitter.. so on point with that one. This helps so much to separate into U & I. My To Do list is a mile long but I will start chipping away at it. Much love!

  205. great idea, simply mark to do list items as U or i and proceed.
    would have been great to not take 3 minutes of our time to tell us that Marie. sorry, new visitor. if this is the kind of time wasting content your sharing, I don’t be following any more.
    best wishes

  206. Prioritizing can be so difficult, especially on days when there’s a lot to do! I always make lists so I can see everything that needs to be done. I like to put each task on a sticky note and put it on my mirror, that way my list is always looking at me! It also feels so rewarding to rip off the sticky note when I get something done!

  207. Important things in my life tend to get shoved to the side. I agree that urgent things such as e-mail are actually not as important as we thought originally.

  208. Hi!

    A dear friend helped me with this very issue just days ago. I asked her to pray that I would have the wisdom to prioritize the right things.

    She asked, “Have you ever made a list of your priorities? Specifically, in order of importance?” I hadn’t. So I did.

    Now, when I’m in an emotional bind over making a decision about what to do, I can now reference the list.

    I started by asking “_____ is always more important than…” Then, “Once _____ is attended to, _____ is absolutely the next most important thing in life.”

    In the name, or hope, of being helpful, my personal list is as follows:
    My relationship with God.
    My relationship with my husband.
    My personal well-being (taking care of myself).
    My husband’s well-being (spiritually, emotionally)
    My responsibilities (Just, literally ‘what I’ve gotta do’ to take care of my clients and to take care of us, financially).
    Ministry / Spending time with others.
    Pleasure (art, reading).

    On Donald Miller’s Storyline Blog, I also benefitted from the “Storyline Productivity Schedule.” In its presentation, I learned never to answer e-mails first thing! Instead, do the things YOU need to get done first (e.g., spend 90 minutes in the morning doing something to build your personal business), then attend to others’ needs.

    Putting self before others can be difficult at times. However, I’ve found that, in doing so, I am so much more fulfilled! Fulfilling my dreams gives me life and hope and balance and peace, which I am then able to share with others.


  209. Sarah

    Thank you so much for this episode Marie. I just watched this week’s episode (4 Minutes To Massive Productivity) and saw the link to re-visit this one – perfect timing! When I get to work this morning first order of business will be my I’s and Q’s. Thank you for continuously providing top-notch content; I have found so many of your thoughts and advice to be game-changers for me (and your book recommendations are highly appreciated!). I am very grateful for you and the Marie TV team. Thank you. x

    • Caroline - Team Forleo

      Thank you so much, Sarah. We’re so glad you checked out this episode and it really resonated with you (it’s also one of my favorites)

      We’re so grateful for you too! xo

  210. This was so great!
    Do what’s important first. Urgent will still, and always, get done.
    I’m applying this to my to-do list. I’s and U’s away!

  211. Louise

    Hi Marie

    While I agree with what you said it’s not always that easy putting it into practise. Im an accountant and moonlight as a romance writer. While the accounting pays the bills, the writing is my passion. If I were to term the writing important and the accounting urgent, I’d never go to work and I’d be living on the street. Often when I get home I’m too tired to focus on my novel. I know there’s no easy way, but I can relate to Angela’s Q, with a day job, the dreams often get put on hold! Smaller projects might work better…
    Louise x
    Ps. Love your videos

  212. Nicole

    I feel like one of the problems is that all of my important things could go on forever and aren’t something that can be checked off the list..which is why it gets so complicated. I am an artist and I lose track of time when I am painting or doing lots of “important” things and then it seems like there is no sense of accomplishment or balance?

  213. Lisa

    Thanks Maria! I have been battling with prioritising and procrastination for ages but this makes it seem so much simpler!
    Thanks again!

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