How to Prevent “Important” from Becoming “Urgent”

I recently presented a workshop focused on scheduling and calendar skills for entrepreneurs and business owners, and was starting to work through the blocks of time that should be represented in a calendar on a daily or weekly basis.

  • Planning time
  • Maintenance time
  • Email time
  • Self-care time
  • Client time
  • Prospecting time
  • Project time

This discussion led to many of the participants feeling like they just don’t have enough time, which is a common response!

One woman asked, “How do I fit in all these blocks, plus all the urgent tasks that come up on a day to day basis?” I asked her about her typical routine, and she responded that she starts her day looking at email so she knows the landscape and any “hidden surprises,” and then moves on to whatever task is time sensitive.

Most of the participants followed a similar daily pattern. They allow the urgent / time sensitive tasks to push out the equally important but not urgent tasks.

However, given enough time, anything can become urgent!

  • Skip self-care time and you run the risk of a health crisis, making sleeping, exercising, and eating well urgent.
  • Skip prospecting time and you run the risk of a slow sales funnel, making prospecting time very urgent.
  • Skip project time and eventually that project becomes time sensitive and urgent.

What’s the solution?

Spend 15 minutes each day on a task that is not urgent for your business and personal life. Everyone can find 15 minutes! (Recently one of my clients wrote a book using the 15 minutes each day strategy…it took her 4 months. She’s been “working on” this book for 17 years!)

Maybe you pick the first 15 minutes of the day, maybe you choose 15 minutes before lunch, or every day at 1:00 you stop what you are doing, or 15 minutes before bed, or…

Now, 15 minutes a day may not fully prevent the “everything becomes urgent given enough time” challenge. But it is certainly enough time to start to break the pattern. Remember the old adage of “How do you eat an elephant?” Prevent the urgency by taking one bite at a time!

Are you curious about what else is possible when you try this? Perhaps wondering how else you can achieve more and reduce stress? If so, I invite you to apply for a complimentary Productivity Breakthrough session. Here we’ll talk about your current life – and the life you want – and we’ll discuss some strategies to help you see your next steps.

  • Discover what’s blocking you from creating consistently productive and stress-free days.
  • Determine what steps you can take so you can stop working nights and weekends (and early mornings!!!) trying to catch up.
  • Identify the one simple step you can take to immediately get into action today.

 

(Image by John Hain)

2018-10-23T09:28:43+00:00By |Prioritizing|2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Mark | The Productive Physician
    Twitter:
    March 1, 2018 at 10:13 PM - Reply

    Nice post, Lisa.

    It is all too easy for ‘the whirlwind’ to determine our priorities and then find months or years later that we haven’t acted on anything we think is important.

    I like that you suggest starting small… surely everyone can find 15 minutes! And then maybe you add another 15 minutes. Or an hour.

    Before you know it you’re in charge of your calendar and working on what is important to you rather than urgent but not important tasks.

    Cheers!

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