Urgent vs Important!

  – Claire’s Blog

It is dangerous to let what is urgent take precedence over what is important!

I wonder what your experience is? It seems, for me, anything important is always less important if I’m not paying for it in some way. Take exercise for example. 30 minutes a day of getting my heart rate up is imperative for living a longer, healthier, more fulfilled life. However, unless I have a gym contract
that I pay for every month (not that that’s a bad thing) then what Paul Terry said is my story, “Whenever I feel the need to exercise, I lie down until it goes away.” – just about every day!

I love that I have a dog; he makes sure I exercise. I only managed to take Max (my dog) for a walk once last week; he was very gracious. He resisted the urge to gnaw at my bed-foot or litter the floor with chewed sparkling water bottles from the recycling bin for only a few days though… and then I started paying for not exercising! By the weekend Max’s frustration had oozed into every furry limb and had begun to permeate the entire atmosphere of the household.

Restless to the point of nipping at my kids’ ankles, he was so desperate, I swear, he was close to taking himself for that walk. His restlessness made the kids restless and before I knew it everyone was nipping at each other. Max was constantly sniffing my clothes hoping that perhaps between now and 2 minutes ago I had changed into walking clothes. Restless days turned into sleepless nights. Sticking a wet nose in my face every 45 minutes throughout the night eventually paid off. I gave in on Sunday, eventually, and everything that seemed important was put on hold to fit in a walk. It was glorious!

Max ran 3 times further than we actually went with all his excited backwards and forwards frolicking in the long grass. Monday morning came and there was a new dog; a wiser dog! As soon as the alarm went off Max was up and pawing me in the face, gently trying to pull me out of bed by the sleeve, “its time to walk!”. He seemed determined not to be tortured again and so he ran up and down between the door and my bed yelping until I was up. Tuesday presented the same opportunity and with Google AI precision Max has mastered getting me to take him for a walk in just 36 hours.

Alarm-jump on mom’s bed-paw-pawpaw! Grab her sleeve, pull and yelp! Run
to and from the door until she’s up. Success! So Max feels amazing, and actually so do I! What I thought was putting the important on hold for the urgent, was actually quite the opposite. Could something as simple and apparently meaningless as walking the dog be so important? The ripple effects of feeling good and actually doing exercise – and having a content dog – makes it important.

No one wants to believe that we are replaceable. Our need to be so valued that everything would fall apart without us keeps us driven to place the highest priority on what we do. The reality is that there is another person out there who can do what you do, but no one else can be who you are. Who you are helps define what’s important.

Unfortunately the most important things don’t chew at your ankles until you see to them, like the urgent do. Rather, they bite you when its already too late!

Priority, by definition, is the fact or condition of being regarded or treated as more important than others. This would mean then, that everything important is about who I am and therefore takes priority. Someone said every Monday one should take the big 6 most important things and kick them down the field. Set them in motion. Book the restaurant for your date night because your marriage is important. Book out your diary for the kids’ sport event on Saturday, because your kids are important. Everything that has any value to me should come first. ‘Where your treasure is, there your heart is also’ – that is how I find what is important! If I can get the important things in the bucket first, then the less important will naturally fall into place.

How do I avoid an ankle biting situation of urgent things?
Most of the day the urgent hi-jacks the front seat and what’s important gets left at the stop where the urgent got on,
because we don’t plan. Plan our work, plan our rest, plan our play!

Here’s a simple self assessment to help see where you’re at:
1. What do I give most of my time to?
     Is my time being allocated to the important and not wasted?
2. What takes up my head space?
3. Am I prioritising my “treasure”?
    Prioritise your treasure, the very things that make you who you are. Plan          your time, so what you do doesn’t take the place of who you are.

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