Separate the urgent from the important

I’m so busy…

Heard that before? Seems everyone nowadays has a life so full of important-ness and busy-ness. Its not real, it’s a comfort. Trouble is, its unhealthy and very ineffective.

It is prevalent, when discussing business process improvement, turn around and performance recovery of late, that I hear of work teams and leaders being disengaged due to ‘busyness.’ There’s always too much to do. Problems to solve, matters to attend to, that the direction of their efforts quickly heads off track. Hence, there’s corrective action required to help them back on track and achieve their intended results again.

There are people who practice or coach ‘mindfulness.’ They concentrate on living in the moment. Right now. What’s here in front of you. Not what’s happened or what might happen. Now. This is helpful to know, it’s not just whacky ‘new age’ alternate thinking.

When you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed with so many tasks to do but can’t see an end to it, let’s see how the mindfulness gurus can help.

Stop. Breathe deep. Relax. Concentrate. What are the big tasks that I must complete? What are the other little ones that might seem like they need attention, but really are not going to help me today, tomorrow or next month?

Try to identify and act on the important things. They will serve you well. Let most of the urgent things go. You’ll find that they were only urgent in someone else’s mind. They weren’t done, didn’t matter, noting broke or stopped. This environment often develops in bureaucracies. Just think of the “meeting” culture. Nothing can be done without calling a meeting and nothing actually gets done because everyone’s always in meetings. Silly? Just look around you…

The important things, attended to, have a way of eliminating the majority of those small urgent tasks.

What can you concentrate on today that will resolve another three things next week? It’s worth the investment in time and your effort.

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