Doing important things in life

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.

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4 Responses to Doing important things in life

  1. Indrani says:

    Thanks for reminding. It is true that we tend to ignore implementation of tasks which do not require immediate attention and sometimes completely loose track of them until they bounce back with urgency and further complications. Selecting a few tasks with self imposed time limit for completion can be a good idea. Just as we prepare an assessment of work done by us in office during a year for review by seniors we should keep a note of such not so important things to be done and review how much we have been able to complete them on our birthdays or even on New Year day.

  2. AnuragVerma says:

    Reality and Remedy putforth with clinical precision.The most important thing which appeals is keeping the written thing for your eyes attention,so that it keeps bothering you till you are done with it.I join Indrani in thanking you for REMINDERS.

  3. Sunetra says:

    Sir,
    How very true, till last year one of my difficulties was prioritising my work, which led to a serious crisis in my professional life.

    Then Augustine Sir shared the best advice that I ever had to learn to prioritise daily professional activties in order of importance and urgency. This I believe is part of the self help book, :Seven Habits of a successful person” by Steven Covey.

    I can say for sure that this has changed my life and now I try to implement it in my personal life too.

    I also think that when you start priritising your work and life a lot of things that have been meanningless in life become a top pririty and vice versa and also you stop thinking of what others think about you and instead think of what IS important to you.

    A real Stress buster:)

    Excellent piece of insight Sir, Many thanks
    Regards
    Sunetra

  4. […] • Never lose sight of the important things in life. We often get so busy with work that family and friends get neglected. Even at work, we often remain busy doing day-to-day urgent tasks rather than addressing issues that need to be looked into in order to make improvements in systems, policies or practices. I have already written a post on ‘Doing important things in life’. […]

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