Recently I read a blog by the one and only Seth Godin (serial entrepreneur and all around awesome guy) on deconstructing urgent vs important. It started off with the following examples “A six-year-old who throws a tantrum and refuses to go to school is escalating into the urgent, going to school every day is important. Mollifying an angry customer is urgent, building systems and promises that keep customers from getting angry is important. Killing the bugs in the kitchen is urgent, putting in weatherstripping to keep them out for the long haul is important (as is avoiding carcinogens).
These examples set the stage for how truly different urgent and important really are. But as an avid believer in practical application I found myself searching for “how” to apply this urgent knowledge to my everyday life in an effort to make efficiency as important as I could (see what I did there…) So for the past 3 weeks I have been documenting decisions, deadlines and situations in my life and classifying them as either urgent or important in an effort to come up with some key practical applications. Here they are…
Let go of the notion that EVERYTHING in your life can be classified by thinking less and feeling more. Your instincts were with you before your current mindset was even an idea. To really start determining what is urgent vs. important make sure you HEAR what your instincts are telling you and let that be your first guiding force. Like Wesley Snipes said in ‘White Men Can't Jump” there is a difference between “listening” and “hearing”.
Sometimes life is simply meant to be experienced. Hard stop!. Attempting to put experiences into boxes, while useful, can cheapen the experience. Over the past 3 weeks I found my self trying to classify my experiences more and more and either falling short or just trying too hard. Your life, your work and your passions are all meant to be experienced towards connecting you to the things you need and desire. That will ALWAYS be urgently important.
Do NOT sell yourself an urgent dream of an important task. Yes, it is important to finish updating your core services on your website or revamping your LinkedIn profile but it will never be as urgent as getting out there and meeting people towards building your book of business. If you know what it is you can do, DO it already! Sometimes the perfect preparation is the application of action. You may completely mess things up, you may even get laughed at but, I guarantee you will learn more from that urgent experience than you will from all your important game planning and strategizing.
(My favorite one) Be careful who’s important you make into your urgent. In a (still) pandemic-centered world were screens have even more intimately invaded our lives people can access you in more ways than ever before. It is very easy to find ourselves making the important asks and concerns of others into our own urgent responsibilities. While this was probably the most difficult revelation to accept over the past 3 weeks. I did it through becoming very diligent in my weekly planning on Monday morning (or Sunday night) which allowed me to know what was urgent for ME before anyone else could. Not to mention those “important” items of others would take the ultimate backseat to YOUR urgent responsibilities.
While the last 3 weeks have been challenging to say the least, I have learned a lot about myself and even more about what I need to be focused on towards creating the life and wealth I want for my family. I hope these 4 keys are things you can apply to your life as well and if you would like to chat about them feel free to connect with me. I will make sure to give your connection the importance it deserves ;-)