End the tyranny of the urgent!

Tyranny of the urgent over the importantThe tyranny of the urgent over the merely important – it’s a very real thing for many of my clients and, admittedly, often for myself as well.

One of the key tools I use to keep that tyranny from running (and ruining) my schedule and my life is the weekly Reflective Review process that I write about in an Action Paper. (Click the link to access the paper; links open in a new tab, and there’s no email required for downloading.)

Urgent whack-a-molesWhile that process absolutely works (you’ll also see an enthusiastic review from a beneficiary of the system), it does, as she comments, take some effort. My clients – and I – needed a quick, simple way to avoid the endless time-sucking apparently-urgent tasks that pop up during the day like a bizarre procession of whack-a-moles.

What would help create focus on what’s most important in this moment?

I’ve posted these three simple questions on the wall directly in front of me, just over my computer screen.

  1. Is it necessary to do this thing?

    What would happen if you didn’t do it?

  2. Can someone else do it?

    What would happen if you delegated it?

  3. Is this the single most important thing to do right now?

    What would happen if you postponed it?

If reading these questions makes you feel a tad uncomfortable, welcome to a large and illustrious group. The questions challenge our perfectionist tendencies as well as our desire for control.

Yet if you can bring yourself to answer them honestly, you’ll find the entire structure of your day and week – and maybe even life – will change.

For the better.

Because you’ll be doing what truly matters to you.