Doing important things in life

December 20, 2009

I was sitting in someone’s office. He got a phone call, reminding him of some job that was to be done by his office and was long pending. He was deeply embarrassed, attempted some excuses and committed to complete the job by the same evening. He called for his subordinate who was to handle the work. As luck would have it, the person was on leave. Now, it was a crisis.  Tension was evident and the man along with other colleagues got busy finding ways of dealing with it. I was told later that they worked till very late that night and somehow completed the assignment.

This situation is quite common in our lives. We deal with urgent issues on a daily basis. The important-but- not-urgent things keep getting postponed. We attend to them only when they also become urgent and often present themselves as a crisis.

We all have things in our lives that we wish we had time to do, both on personal front as well as workplace. Let’s reflect a bit on why we tend to defer such important things and focus only on urgent things. To my mind, there are three reasons:

–    Urgent tasks have a fixed, often closer deadline which is not the case with other important things that are not so urgent.

–    We get regular reminders to finish urgent things, not for other important things until they become urgent.

–    We don’t spend much time thinking about priorities. We often don’t know what is really important in our life or at work that needs attention/action.

Now, let’s attempt an approach to address this attitude of procrastination. I will suggest the following:

1. List two things which you have been wanting to do but couldn’t do so far. Take one personal and one related to work. Work and life balance is so important. Selecting only two may be difficult but prioritize those which you can do in a month’s time. You need a deadline.

2. Treat these two as urgent because you like to complete them in a month.

3. Write them down at a place where you can see them regularly. You can also share with someone who can remind you.

Once you complete the first two things in the given time, you will see the benefits. You will also gain the confidence to do more. Every month you can select two important things and try to complete them.  This is the attitude of being proactive towards important things in life.