There’s a huge difference between what’s important in my life and what is urgent in my life. The difference really makes up a huge part of how fulfilled, motivated, and productive I feel. Here’s my list of the two
Things that are urgent, but not important:
- Texting people back
- Texting people back again
- Some phone calls
Things that are important, but not urgent:
- Paying off my student loans
- Working on Professional Graduate, my online curriculum for college grads
- Training for my half- marathon
- Finish reading “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”
The blunt truth is that a lot of people are almost always found in the “urgent-but-not-important” sector. Going out again to another bar and getting drunk, watching Netflix, surfing Pinterest. All the while their dreams, their God-given passions that need nourishment and practice, collect dust and are stubbornly kept on the back burner.
There are some people who almost always have fulfilling, prioritized, productive lives. Those people do what’s important, not urgent.
This is hard. You have to protect what’s important, because other people and other things are jealous for your time. Once the stars align and you finally sit in front of your desk to write that book/fill out that application/create that website, something “urgent” comes up and it’s back to same-as-usual.
Is that what you want?
Stephen Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” (good book so far), talks a lot about this. There are the people who wake up and dive into the “urgent” side of live – answering emails, texting back promptly, never saying no to any project at work. A common trait among these workers is that they’re STRESSED. All the time. Obviously. So, after they finish with the “urgent” stuff, they check out completely by going home and napping/watching TV/drinking.
There are also people who have found how to fight for what’s “important.” Long term goals that won’t produce short-term results. Many people defiantly refuse to spend their precious time on these projects, and instead dive back into social media and the short-term thrills.
What do you want to do?
Do you want to be someone who has a life defined by fulfillment, priorities, and productivity?
Then do what’s important, not what’s urgent.