Freedom from urgency… That’s what will allow us to live a rich and rewarding life. You may have thought your problem was “time starvation,” when in truth, it was in the way you assigned priorities in your decision-making process. Have you allowed the urgent to crowd out the important?
Each day we will continue to encounter deadlines we must meet and “fires,” not necessarily of our own making, we must put out. Endless urgent details will always beg for attention, time and energy. What we seldom realize is that the really important things in our life don’t make such strict demands on us, and therefore we usually assign them a lower priority.
Our loved ones understand when we are preoccupied with our urgent business, but it’s hard for us to understand, many years later, why they appear preoccupied when we finally find some time for them. Harry Chapin’s classic song “The Cat’s in the Cradle“ is still a mirror reflecting our priorities.
All the important arenas in our life are there awaiting our decisions. But they don’t beg us to give them our time. The local university doesn’t call us to advance our education and improve our life skills.
I have never received a call or e-mail from the health club I joined insisting that I show up and work out for 30 minutes each day. My bathroom scale has never insisted that I lose 30 pounds. The grocery clerks have never made me put back on the shelves the junk food I put in the cart, nor has a fast-food restaurant ever refused me a double cheeseburger and large fries because of my high cholesterol.
Nor have I ever been subpoenaed by the ocean or the mountains to appear for relaxation and solitude. Yet I receive hundreds of urgent phone messages and e-mails each week from people with deadlines.
You see, it’s the easiest thing in the world to neglect the important and give in to the urgent. One of the greatest skills you can ever develop in your life is not only to tell the two apart, but to be able to assign the correct amount of time to each.
Beginning tomorrow, throughout the day, and every day thereafter, stop and ask yourself this question: “Is what I’m doing right now important to my health, well-being and mission in life, and for my loved ones?”
Your affirmative answer will free you forever, from the tyranny of the urgent!
– Denis Waitley
Denis Waitley is one of America’s most respected authors, keynote lecturers and productivity consultants on high performance human achievement. Learn more about his program The New Dynamics of Goal Setting
-What are you using to manage your time? In what ways are you keeping yourself on track and giving thought to, and spending time on those things which are most important to you?