Urgent vs. Important

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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 of 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 an amazing blog post that gave great insight on how truly different urgent and important really are. (CLICK HERE to read it )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 corporate trainings, your business networking groups and even before your supervisors supposed ancient wisdom on how to effect your performance. 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”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hohb_gOI0dQ
  • Sometimes life is simply meant to be experienced and attempting to put experiences into boxes while useful can cheapen the experience itself at times. 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 towards 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 s important to finish updating your core services on your website or revamp 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.
  • Be careful who’s important you make into your urgent. In a business world were clients seem to have more needs than a newborn baby and people can access you in more ways than ever before (phone, text, email, social media, carrier pigeon, smoke signal…) it is very easy to find yourself making the important asks and concerns of others into your urgent responsibilities. While this was probably the most difficult realization to affect 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. I was once told that the some of the most successful people can get their schedule down to 15 minute intervals each day. (It is hard as heck! I’ve tried it…) Imagine how much more effective you would be at your most urgent tasks if you knew what you were doing every 15 minutes of everyday. Your meetings, prospecting, planning and even family time would be so much more valuable to you and the people around you. 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 😉

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