Important vs Urgent
I know the things that are important to me; my family, my health, my friends, my business, my book, yoga, mediation, my diet, my weekly priorites, doing the things I love and enjoy like art, reading and writing. So you’d think that my time was filled with these activities.
But noooooo. I find myself procrastinating doing my ‘jobs’. The things that are urgent or perceived to be urgent by me – replying to emails and being ‘social’ on various media outlets, cleaning my bathroom, tidying toys up, dusting, emptying the dyson, cleaning my hob or microwave, food shopping, commenting on blogs and listening to the newest podcast thats caught my eye. Trying to tackle the BIG stuff like learning new information (wether thats in relation to business or my interests) without implementing what I’ve already learned. It can be quite frustrating and annoying; my ‘work days’ can end and I haven’t accomplished even half of what I wanted to, I feel exhausted and depleted.
Being self-employed this simply isn’t an option. I cannot waste my ‘work-time’ by focussing on stuff that just simply isn’t important. Maybe you have limited time to do your ‘stuff’, maybe you’re even a student with loads of ‘stuff’ going on and you need to get focussed? If so, read on…
I once read an amazing book ‘The 8 habits of highly effective people’ by Stephen Covey. It’s one of the most popular and helpful self-help books I’ve ever come across. One of the ‘habits’ are “PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST”.
Stephen Covey explains in his book that we can catagorise our daily/work tasks into 4 areas.
Important / urgent- Crisises, deadlines, emergencies,
Important / not urgent – relationships, health, business goals, self-care, enjoyable activities (which are productive)!
Non important / urgent – Interruptions, emails, meetings, pre-planned commitments, cleaning
Non important / non urgent – trivial stuff, time wasting, gossiping, social medial, searching to web, cleaning, general procrastination!
To propel our lives forward he states we should spend our time doing/nurturing the important non-urgent stuff.
But what seems to happen (for me and others of you out there) is the important urgent and the both aspects of the non important stuff take priority because we feel we have to do these things (limiting belifs and media influence/media role models etc) and of course sometimes the important urgent HAS to take prioroty.
I know I spend most of my time doing the non important urgent/non urgent stuff. This will never help me fulfil my dreams and live a ‘happy fulfilled life’ and my goals? Likely to never happen.
We become so consumed with living a fast pace life, stretching our selves beyond our natural capabilities and capacity that we don’t create time or make the important / non urgent stuff the priority.
The important / non urgent stuff becomes so far out of reach we don’t think we can ever achieve it son we ignore it and neglect it. Also getting into the habit of spending our time doing non urgent non important stuff is the worst thing … hello facebookers/YouTube addicts! 🙂
So I have (almost!) managed to crack this and I wanna share how. Firstly I used my sister in law’s amazing planners (She’s a shamaze textile artist who is a creative right brainer like me.) Go take a peek at her amazing textile art on Instagram, and email her if you’d like a copy of her planners.
Setting weekly priorities for me was something I learned whilst being mentored by Sally Canning. Sometimes I’d do them and sometimes I wouldn’t. Sarah has devised a way which makes sure you get them done!
Weekly priorities “Put first things first.”
Firstly set three weekly priorities, sometimes one of mine is self – care and this included meditating everyday, early nights etc, others are business related.
Once this is done break each task down into smaller ones and plot these smaller, manageable tasks into your week where you have free time. ONLY doing your weekly priorities is ESSENTIAL to making progress – especially if you’re a progression addict like me! I have to be making progress to be satisfied.
Each time I find myself doing something, I ask my self – “Is this part of my weekly priorities?”, “Is this Important?”
If the answer is NO, it write the tasks onto a new post it and put it at the end of my weekly priorities. It will get done when my weekly priorities have been done.
Accountability, Accountability, accountability!
I used to HATE this word, but now it is my most favourite.
Me and a friend, who are in similar situations, are each others ‘accountability partners’. This means each week we review our week and express what we’ve achieved and what we didn’t manage to do etc. There’s no nasty tut-tut’s or telling offs, it is just a way of celebrating successes, tracking progress and pitfalls or difficulties, and if you have an amazing friend like me – you get constructive and helpful advice from a different perspective which I wouldn’t have gotten if it was just ‘me’.
I find it so helpful to accountable for my goals. If I say I’m going to do something and never tell anyone, it’s very easy for me to not to do it. No one knows I didn’t do it.
If I’m accountable for my goals (i.e. by telling my accountability partner) then I’m much more likely to do it!
So get organised, get prioritising and get asking yourself “Is this IMPORTANT?”
Working out what is important, like really important, to you is possibly your first step. Take sometime today to reflect what is really important to you.
Happiness, health, my goals, relationships, etc… then start thinking about how you spend your time.
If its not doing the important/non urgent stuff then STOP! Rethink, re-plan and get prioritising.