Serious stuff: Urgency versus Importance


Seriously, what’s important?

In my classes to become a Naturopathic Doctor, we learned countless things about the human body. My favourite lessons were understanding how my own psyche was working. What was driving my thoughts, feelings and actions and what strategies I could use to make my life more efficient and enjoyable. When I am on vacation this knowledge is ever present. Enter life stress and the equations change. I have been paying attention to ways to work smarter and still have time for self care. One of the things that I’ve found the most challenging is prioritizing my day and sticking to the plan I make. I am going to go out on a limb and guess I am no the only one to struggle with this.

I have a to do list app which I love, but despite checking it and prioritizing the night before the next day starts, I still end up getting side tracked. My mindful awareness helps me see when I am off track. At some point in the day I have a moment where I feel literally pulled in two or more directions. I had a huge ‘ah-ha’ moment when I watched this video by Mario Forleo. I finally could see that the pull I was feeling was between the important and the urgent. The stress it created was due to the fact that the importance of the long term goals for my business and myself could get short-changed for stuff that seems urgent.

For a moment I was thinking, but isn’t urgent most important by definition? Here’s the difference:

Urgent stuff:

  • Texts and social media notifications
  • Phone calls and voice mails
  • Emails, emails, emails
  • Usually stuff important to other people

Important stuff:

  • Long term efforts like writing a consistent blog
  • Tasks that require more time like putting together promotional material (my brain likes to say… “maybe later” as I post something to twitter, a comparatively easier task)
  • Contemplation, time for creativity
  • Self care
  • Things important to you

Looking at this list it’s obvious that urgent stuff (within reason) can wait and that the important stuff is where the magic happens. It’s not so obvious when my phone is notifying and my email is popping up in the corner of the task I am focused on.

Strategy Takeaway

As Marie says, “start the day with the important stuff because the urgent stuff will always get done anyway”. Whenever I notice my attention straying to something that seems urgent I ask myself “What is truly important?” or “What will make me feel proud of my day?”, usually this is the important stuff. Another tip I have learned, and am still mastering, is setting aside blocks of time for certain tasks during the day, more on how that’s going in another post 🙂

By | 2019-01-17T21:22:34+00:00 February 23rd, 2015|

About the Author:

I've always loved writing, creatively and otherwise. My blog is the way that I communicate what you need to know about the latest topics I am researching and also give you my time tested tips for living a functional life.