Decide for yourself what is important
It won't be news to anybody: it is the difficulty we have in
distinguishing the important from the urgent which disrupts our
planning. As Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United
States put it: "What is important is seldom urgent, and what is
urgent is seldom important."
A reflex to develop: asking yourself regularly "is what I am
about to do really that which is, at the moment I am going to do it, the
most important thing in terms of the mission I have to
To learn more, consult the Coach's Corner.
Resist the tyranny of the urgent
Urgency is that which pushes us, pressures us. "The urgent tasks
call for instant action ... The momentary appeal of these tasks seems
irresistible and important, and they devour our energy.
But in the light of time's perspective their deceptive
prominence fades; with a sense of loss we recall the important tasks
pushed aside. We realize we've become slaves to the tyranny of the
urgent." Charles Hummel, The Tyranny of the Urgent
To train yourself to resist, 3 questions:
. Am I going to do this because it is truly urgent or because it is the easiest solution?
. What would actually happen if I did not give in to the feeling of urgency?
. While I accomplish this task that's called urgent, what would I be leaving aside?
Parkinson's Law explains the principle of time dilation: "Work
expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." The more
time we have to perform a task, the longer it will
To apply it in practice: determine a "time budget" which is reasonable to devote to a given activity, and respect it.
An initial area for experimentation could be meetings: reduce
the duration to half the usual amount and observe what effect is