Balancing the urgent and important

What is urgent in our lives and what is important?

We all have urgent tasks to deal with every day.  They can be things like dealing with a customer request, sending out invoices, delivering materials to a deadline, and even eating lunch (if it gets delayed too long my stomach sends urgent messages!).

Separately, if we take some time out we think of the important things in our lives like researching a new business idea, starting an exercise habit or planning a new way of working for our team.  These things never need to be done urgently but if we let days, months or years slip by without doing them we will miss out on opportunities for ourselves and our companies.  We will look back on 10 years and wonder “what did I achieve in that time?”.

I’m not suggesting that you give up eating lunch – we all have urgent tasks we need to achieve every day, but if there is no space in your life for the important, the long-term, the steps towards fulfilment of your dreams, then you will find yourself in old age with regrets.  Similarly, as a manager, if your business life has no space for thinking, planning or research, then you leave your company vulnerable to being left behind with unexpected changes in technology or market demands which will damage your business.

If you read about the habits of successful business people, they regularly set some time aside for thinking and planning.  They typically do this out of the office, sometimes with a group, sometimes on their own.  Some people take coaching sessions, others go for a walk or take a day at home.

It doesn’t matter about the details – find what works for you, but do make sure it happens.