In the book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, there is a diagram that depicts the urgency and importance of all of the things we do. The categories are urgent and important, urgent and unimportant, non-urgent and important, and non-urgent and unimportant. By understanding this categorization we can appropriately prioritize our tasks. The main categories I am interested in today are the important tasks.
Many people get caught up in the important and urgent and neglect the non-urgent and important. One day I was trying to train a supervisor, for thirty minutes, on how to save time and energy. The supervisor told me that they did not have time. At a later date I came back to see if he would have time but once again he did not. After several tries I decided to move on to the next individual because the first supervisor was not interested in making a little time now to save a lot of time through the future. This individual was missing the long distance vision of his job. The future was not as important as the now.
Sometimes you cannot get away from the important and urgent but you need to spend time on the important and non-urgent. If you do not take time to do this then you will be stuck doing the same thing everyday without making progress. Another consequence of being stuck in the urgent and important (reactive) is that you are controlled by the circumstances not by your decisions and planning (proactive). Finally when you are reactive all of the time you lose sight of what is important and you get caught up spending time on the unimportant.
On a side note everyone that is financially secure spends a lot of time in the proactive mode.
The take away message is to take 30 minutes to an hour every day in your work and personal life review your future goals; then put together plans to progress toward those goals.