March 21, 2012

Important vs. Urgent

My day job is as editor for the University of Wyoming Foundation.  I love my job.  Such good folks and such a fabulous place to work.  I had my annual review the other day, and one of the things my great boss Toby said was, “We need to get to the things that are important, not just the things that are urgent.”

It strikes me that that is a good policy for life ~ because there’s always things that are urgent, you know?  The world, made up of so many people, wants things from you all the time, and they’re urgent, oh so urgent. And some of them are.  You have to pay the bills, take care of your family, do the laundry, and all that. 

But what about those things we convince ourselves are urgent but aren’t, really? Those things that are easier to do than the things that are important, those things you can turn the crank and get done and have a sense of accomplishment.  Cleaning the bathroom, putting away the laundry, raking the yard, having the best decorations for Halloween, volunteering on every committee available, making sure the cookie jar is always full, alphabetizing our bookshelves, remembering our second cousin’s stepson’s fifteenth birthday when he won’t care a whit.  We can fill our lives with “should.”  (A counselor once told me, “Don’t should on yourself.”)  If we do that and only that, what do we get at the end of that life?  Well, we’d get the satisfaction of living our lives for other people.  If that’s what you want, I think that’s great.  But with that often comes bitterness and pain and a little voice inside saying, “What about me?”  Some of the most unselfish people I know are also the most angry and bitter.

So, what in your life is urgent?  What is urgent and important?  What is just important?  We must ~ must!, I say ~ plan our lives accordingly.

And, by the way, Toby, I’ll be getting to that communications plan directly.

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