Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Urgent But Not Important

I was reading an article recently and I WISH I ripped it out. But I didn't. It's about a Stephen Covey concept - you know the guy? Mr. Seven Habits guy... I'm not a big ol' fan of him or anything, but this article just stuck with me.

You life events can be separated into 4 categories:

  1. Urgent/Important - daily things you do like feed your kids, eat, pay bills, etc.
  2. Not Urgent/Important - these are things that enrich your life - reading a good book, talking a walk, going on a jog, chatting with an old friend, exercising, trying new things, visiting family, etc.
  3. Urgent/Not Important - returning emails, answering phone calls, work dinners, stupid commitments, demands being made on you that you that have no real value, etc.
  4. Not Urgent/Not Important - who really cares?

Well, I've been stuck in the "Urgent/Not Important" category for so long that I can barely tell the difference between important and not important.

Seriously, how do I get myself out of this spin cycle? If I can learn to focus on the important only, I know I would be so much happier.

I'm always afraid that if I don't give the attention to the "Urgent/Not Important" that the world will come crumbling down around me.

Anyone else ever feel like this?
Anyone else drinking wine tonight?

(PS: I haven't run since my horrible run on Saturday)

29 comments:

Marcy said...

I'm not drinking vino tonight but dang do I need to LMAO! And you're NOT full blown crazy ;-)

I don't know what to tell you chica?!? I just try and take one day at a time.

Julianne said...

Oh it's so hard to find a good balance between #2 and #3! Well, you run so you must be doing some #2s. :-) I am totally drinking wine tonight. Lots of it!! My horrible commute is driving me to drink. A lot.

RazZDoodle said...

Beats the **** outta me. When you figure it out, lemme know. I'm doing the exact OPPOSITE of drinking wine right now...I'm at parent/teacher conferences. ugh.

Alisa said...

YES!! I totally understand...I think my work perpetuates that attitude. Everything is DEFCON 5...which leaves me working insane hours sometimes AND getting nothing done! Now, it's hard to tell what an wait and what really is DEFCON 5.

Also yes to the wine. Got me a glass of Zinfindel right now in fact.

Eed said...

I hear you. I've been reading "Getting Things Done" by David Allen and my mind just goes all loopy thinking about prioritizing and being efficient. If I read before bedtime its guaranteed that I won't be able to fall asleep.

I think it is important to sit down and have a session w/yourself now and again and figure out what is important and look at how you spend your time. I dorkily set up a spreadsheet to capture this (including current/actual and ideal for each category of my life) and review and update now and again.

It all comes down to work stress and the demands the life-sucking bastards place on us! Sounds like your industry is especially demanding and I don't know how you deal.

Let me know if you want a copy of the spreadsheet....

Emily

Cara said...

I think I always think like this. Hmmm. Now I wish I had the article.

SLB said...

err yeah!

audgepodge said...

I agree - it is hard to balance everything! But you're a planner... maybe somehow you can plan the not urgent / important things in your life? (Probably easier said than done)

I just spent a week home with my family, mostly for quality bonding time with my 15 month old nephew. It was wonderful!

Laurel said...

We only have one bottle left and we are saving it for when my parents visit this weekend. Sigh. I could use a good pinot right about now.

I hope you get out of the funk soon. It happens to all of us. Feel better.

Meg said...

I'm in the wine-drinking club tonight. I think the urgent/not-important is the social/emotional obligation category...things we should probably do in the next couple weeks but we feel need to be done ASAP, or things that we think will hurt others to say no to but really they'll get over soon enough.
Apparently Stephen Covey totally sticks to the MBA visuals... anything can be stuck into a 2x2 matrix.

Petraruns said...

I have been very much in the same place recently sweetie. I think I saw that article in Oprah magazine - I haven't got round to reading it yet ;)...

Somehow you (and I, and quite a few others I'm sure) need to find a level of acceptance about what we are able to achieve and what not. I too have been reading Getting Things Done and it helps - a bit - but I don't think it fundamentally addresses the need to sometimes not do things and allowing yourself permission for this.

You fit in your running and your yoga - thank goodness Speedy McQuick Quick - so you're already prioritising - sounds like work is creeping where it shouldn't?

J~Mom said...

I think I am just coming out of one of those cycles!!

Count of Monte Christo said...

Your issue is one that Loads of people struggle with. Just like loads of my colleagues, I was caught up with the - mainly work-related - urgent, non-important stuff. After a (possibly genetically determined) sudden drop in my father's health - and a change of employer -, I shifted to the first two. Possible number two could be improved if I were to drink wine... but still, #1 and #2 are definitely the main two on my list.

Lily on the Road said...

Sometimes you just have to step back, take a deep breath and let everyone else spin by....sometimes it makes for good viewing!!!

Michelle J said...

I say whatever you choose to do at any particular moment is important to you!! Could be just doing the dishes!! So, really its all up to each individual person!!

Ok what did i just say??? :O)

Amanda said...

Ok this is going to sound really corny... when I hurt my knee in June it was the best thing that happened to me because I suddenly had time to stop and think about all the Urgent/Not Important stuff getting my attention. Since then I started listening to really uplifting podcasts during my runs and sometimes at work... I take everything at work a little slower... I enjoy the quite of taking a shower with no radio, no tv.. I drink my tea... and you know what my job is going better than ever, I'm happier than ever, I'm in better shape and not even trying as hard. Corny...yes, but seriously sometimes just changing your thoughts little by little is enough to also shift your priorities

Angry Runner said...

Not wine last night, but beer. amazing how one can get sidetracked from a routine trip to Whole Foods...

As for everything else...you'll know what's important and urgent or whatever. a lot of times it just takes that gut feeling to figure it out. just chill, till the next episode.

AddictedToEndorphins said...

No wine for me. Maybe vodka. Wine is gross.

This is such a confusing thing. It makes so much sense, but somehow people don't recognize it. You're recognizing it and that's the first step.

I recently attended a forum (what I called a success seminar) and got alot out of it.

What I took out of thoe forum is that if you live authentically and with integrity to yourself and to others, everything sort of just falls into place.

Good luck
(((Hugs)))

Judi said...

Girl, you gotta get back on track. Life is good for you, so step it up and get going. Urgent, not important, how about fuck it all?

ThickChick said...

Oh shit. I'm a 'people pleaser' and tend to get too caught up in #3 and don't spend enough time on #2.

Sigh.

Jess said...

Does blogging fall under #2 or #3?

Sagan said...

Oh I HATE that urgent/unimportant stuff. It's so frustrating.

My two cents? Reorganize the way you think about these things. Make running something that is both urgent AND important; take it out of the non-urgent/important category.

Because it IS urgent and important in your life.

We just need to rethink what's important to us rather than go by what society tells us is important and urgent!

sunshine said...

Tonight? I've already suggested to several people today that we have our morning coffe w/ some Bailey's. :)

Hope things start slowing down for you a bit!

Jess said...

I bet that was an interesting article. I know what you mean about the urgent/not important...I'm stuck there alll the time!

the gazelle said...

I did not drink wine last night (still detoxing from Vegas) - but I will tonight. a sober debate is a painful debate.

eurydice said...

no on the thoughts, yes on the wine. :)

i like to think everything i do is important haha.

TNTcoach Ken said...

I'm not drinking wine but I will have a few adult BEvERages.

IrishBlue said...

I'm very much stuck in this same mind-think. I'm gone from work for 3 days and then I dread returning because I know I'll have over a 100 email and it will take me all day because I'll feel the need to read and reply to all.
Sigh... Sometimes, I just wish I had a manual labor job where I punch in/punch out, and nobody bugs me off hours. My sis actually went from being an RN in the ER to working in a factory and she's sooo much happier. Not sure if that would work for me, or not.

Wine helps...

Conquerbysmiling said...

That's such a cool way to divide up our lives. I'll have to keep that in mind:]