Why Some People Almost Always Have Fulfilling, Prioritized Lives

Window washer, 1968I came to a shocking realization the other day.

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
  • Facebook
  • Snapchat
  • Instagram
  • Texting people back again
  • Some phone calls
  • Email

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. 

 

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  • Todd Foley

    So I’m going to be eager commenter again. :) This is timely for me! I’ve been getting used to a lot of different changes in the last six months (new job six months ago, and my first child four months ago). Changes and transition mean “Go! Go! Go!” all the time and trying to succeed at everything and get everything done (as you said). And I didn’t realize how those “urgent” tasks (yes, extremely important, but I was only focusing on the urgent things at hand and nothing else) were taking a real toll on me. I recently learned that I actually suffer from generalized anxiety, which sucks but is a reality I must work within. So about a month ago, I decided to get help and start prioritizing myself. Sounds selfish and ironic, but I mean “prioritizing” in that I started to think about my own health and wellness so that I can better perform my job and serve my wife and daughter. I signed up for my first half-marathon, have been committing to train regularly, and have been learning how to accept and respond to anxiety and stress rather than being dominated by it, then I do the very best that I can with what’s at hand. As a family friend once said, “I do as much as I can, and I let God take care of the rest.”

    • Anthony Moore

      Todd! We’re kindred spirits man, haha. I’m ALSO training for a half-marathon! I started a new job 4 months ago, I’m getting married soon, and I definitely relate to feeling anxious. Thanks for the update man, you’re not alone!

  • Kevin

    I do believe that the worthwhile things are the things that take time. I try to not focus so much on the future, but just today. What can I do today to move me one step closer to where I want to go? Maybe it’s just read ten pages in a book, or get that running workout in (I’m excited to hear about your half marathon experience by the way, I may run it too, we’ll see). This also is key in my relationship with Jesus, study a bit of the Word today, spend some time in prayer…today. There are no ‘make up days’. And get rid of Netflix, haha.