The thin line between prioritizing and procrastinating

by MPA03 Jul 2014
By David Lykken
Special to MPA

Did you hear about that new regulation that is slated to take effect in the middle of next year? Yes, of course you did. Well, have you started making changes in your organization to prepare for it yet? Um, well, not exactly. That's quite another story...
Why do we tend to put off preparation for important changes until the very last minute? The answer seems obvious: because we have issues that are more pressing and must be dealt with sooner. We call it prioritizing, but it can very easy slip into procrastinating.
Stephen Covey, the late author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, broke these two scenarios down into two different quadrants: 1) the important and urgent, and 2) the important but not urgent. The "important and urgent" are those regulations that are taking effect next month. You've got to focus on them now, because you're on the clock. The "important but not urgent" are those that aren't taking effect for another year, so we can put them on the back burner.
Covey recommends taking a different approach to the important tasks that are due now and the important tasks that are due later. He suggests "managing" the important things that are due now, but "focusing" on the important things due in the future. I think that's generally a good idea. Of course, we do need to prioritize. We can't escape time. We've got to deal first with those things which come at us first. But we can't lose sight of what's just ahead. Prioritization can easily become procrastination. Next pay attention to what's next, but also keep an eye on what's down the road. It will often sneak up on us quicker than we think.

David Lykken is 40-year industry veteran who has been an owner operator of three mortgage banking companies and a software company. As co-founder and Managing Partner of Mortgage Banking Solutions, David consults on virtually all aspects of mortgage banking with special emphasis executive leadership development, corporate strategic direction and implementation as well as mergers & acquisitions. A regular contributor on CNBC and Fox Business News, David also hosts a successful weekly radio program called “Lykken On Lending” ( that is heard each Monday at noon (Central Standard Time) by thousands of mortgage professionals. Recently he started producing a 1-minute video called “Today’s Mortgage Minute” that appears on hundreds of television, radio and newspaper websites daily across America.


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