How many people do you know who can really manage their time well? I think that 99.9% of us, at some point in our lives, find ourselves without enough time. And how many of us have been on time management courses and know the theory yet don’t always get it right?
The reason for writing about this is that I was talking to someone recently about how we don’t spend enough time on the important things. All too often we end up firefighting the apparently urgent issues. The thing is that not everything that appears urgent is actually important. The way I see it is that important things contribute to your values, mission and your high priority goals; in essence they are to do with results. On the other hand, things that we perceive as urgent require our immediate attention.
The phone ringing – now that’s urgent. How many of us have to answer the phone when it rings no matter what else we are doing? I have a great example of this because it happened to me on Monday! I was cycling to the station to catch the train to meet a client. I had the timing down to a fine art. Then my phone rang! I know that I shouldn’t have answered it, the person could have left a message and I would have called back, but no, like most people I couldn’t let it ring. To cut a long story short, I missed my train by 1 minute.
This is just what I had been talking about the other day. It was a clear example of something that appeared urgent but was not important – what was important was that I caught my train.
Luckily everything happens for a reason and while I benefited from 20 minutes sitting waiting for the next train my client phoned me to say that she had been held up at work and would be 30 minutes late – perfect!
But it is time to start practicing what I teach so next time you try calling me and I don’t pick up, it’s not that I don’t want to talk it’s just that I’m in the middle of something but you can be guaranteed that if you leave a message I will call you back!
Try it for yourself – concentrate on the really important things rather than always firefighting with those things perceived as urgent.