We all have lots to do everyday. Our days are jammed full of things that demand our attention now. These “must dos” scream their urgency to us by planting themselves front and center and obscuring all else. They are urgent. They are the kid, who just spilled his drink, the dog that needs to poop, or the seventy-five emails you must wade through, or delete, before
you finally arrive at the only two that really matter. In short, Eisenhower said it best when he pointed out that “what is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.”
Hence the rub. Busyness is loud and obnoxious, albeit necessary, besides taking up a lot of time, while not necessarily advancing any particular aspect of your life. Things that need doing which are truly important, the execution of which would be a true aid in advancing your life, these items tend to sit by quietly, waiting for you to notice them. So, the key is to notice. Decide which items constitute busy-work and which ones are the key to productivity. Focus on number two. Do so diligently and in a disciplined way and your life will be about more than busyness.
- While they both take time and they both imply action, being busy and being productive are not the same thing.
- Things that promote business are usually things that have to happen right now, like annoying gnats they insist on getting attention.
- Things that are productive tend to be quiet, respectfully waiting for us to notice them, which is why we need to find them and give them complete focus.
“Little wonder it’s so difficult to remain focused on the task at hand. With the implied urgency of the text alert, the phone ringing, the dog barking, what is urgent has surpassed what is important. And that is a huge problem.”