Fighting off the Urgent to Focus on the Important


It’s not easy to do.  Especially with all the modes of communication.  People who need to reach us will find a way.  Our social media sites load up with notifications.  Our E-mail inbox quickly fills up with urgent requests of others.

And their urgent task suddenly becomes our urgent task.  And it causes to deviate from our own mission.

Breakthroughs come from working on the important task of tomorrow.  They come from fighting off the urgent and focusing on what’s important.

Exercising is important for our long term health.  But getting started on a workout routine isn’t necessarily urgent.  There is no one beating our door down telling us to get started.  And so the important task gets pushed down the road.

But on your way to that workout, you get a call from a buddy who is headed out with a group of friends.  You guys are just acquaintances, but it sure sounds a lot more fun than starting that workout.  So you go with the urgent.

It’s never easy.  Everyone wants a response 5 minutes ago.  And yet, in order for us to accomplish what we need, they will have to wait.

Because they can.  Their crisis is manufactured.  The deadline they have to reach is self-imposed.  And regardless, life will go on tomorrow.  We are infected with this fear of missing out.

It’s being torn between the crisis unfolding on your twitter feed versus sitting down and spending that engaged time with your child.  We know what’s more entertaining and what’s urgent.  But can you really argue that what’s going on on your twitter feed is more important than the time you spend with your kid?

Very rarely do these urgent situations decide the future and fate of our business or relationships.  It’s the important one’s that do.

But working on the important requires discipline.  It requires going against the grain.  It requires guarding your own time.

There will always be an urgent crisis of today.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t find the balance.  That doesn’t mean we can’t carve out time to focus on what’s important.

Because the important is what moves the ball forward.  The important is what changes things for the better.

Solving the urgent crisis only helps you stay on the path of what you have decided is important.  And that’s the point – to figure out the path it requires focusing on the urgent.

Business plans don’t develop from an urgent crisis.  They come from sitting down, focusing on what’s important, and deciding where you want to go.

Fight the temptation to be overcome by the urgent tasks of today, and free up your time to focus on the important tasks of the future.

It’s the only way to truly make a difference.

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