In 1989, Stephen Covey distinguished between important vs. urgent in his best-seller, The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. You know, the one that tells us what to do right now, and what can wait until tomorrow. 😅
Remember last Friday when I was dishing about work and family? How Sam started treating them like they were the most important clients in his life, even though he didn't truly understand what that meant at the time.
Fast forward a bit, Sam's company roped in some hotshot performance consultants to boost productivity. One session was all about the book that everyone was reading. It claimed to have the secret sauce to becoming the poster child for happy, rainmaking, ultra-achievers.
But let's be real, nothing in life is one-size-fits-all, and this isn't meant to be either. But Sam did pick up a few great things from that training. What resonated with him the most? Defining what's important.
Let the fires burn
Time is the most precious commodity we own. It's like toilet paper during a pandemic, it's always running out and you can never have enough of it.
So, naturally, Sam was keen on mastering the art of time management. That's where the four quadrant magic came in real handy. Playing Tetris with his to-do list helped him understand:
- What's important to him are things that lead to fulfillment. The kind of stuff that helps him achieve long-term goals and be the person Sam wants to be. They lead to his well-being and sense of purpose.
- At the most basic level, it starts with Sam. Without him, there is nothing else to worry about, right? His health—both physical and mental, happiness, and joy. Those seem pretty freakin' important! Then expanding on joy: his family, dogs, friends, the Lakers, peanut butter.
Other things? Sam's passions like surfing, woodworking, peanut butter, gardening, building software, peanut butter, westerns, and who could forget, 🌮🌮!
At work? Improving his skills, strategic planning, team-building, networking, passing on Legos, learning, blah blah blah.
Sam's really simple litmus test? Does it make him go 🤓, 😃, or 😐.
Build the house
The truth is, most of us get it wrong. We're too caught up in all the urgent $#!t and forget about the important. No doubt, we have to make time for some of those immediate needs at home, work, and life. Just remember, urgency—by its very nature—is powered by an infinite supply of systemically-embedded joy sucking 💩 that'll never stop coming.
So, what if we gave most of our time to the things that yield long-term benefits? The things that improve or evolve over time, but seldom change. Just imagine what we could achieve.
Because, at the end of the day, we don't want to be the ones who put out all the fires, but never built the house.
About Ambreen Dar
Ambreen designs for thrillseekers. She left the classroom behind to chase adventures in publishing, then dove into digital marketing's deep end. New tricks abound, but Ambreen's four furry fans still think she's top dog. Alongside Rebekah and Sam, Ambreen makes BRIL.LA's magic - and wouldn't have it any other way.