This morning during our weekly kid’s team meeting I shared from the ‘Tyranny of the Urgent.’ Ever heard of it? I first read it in 1994 during my freshmen year of college. It radically (yes that was a cool word in 1994) changed my life! Here’s the first paragraph from this great source:
Have you ever wished for a thirty-hour day? Surely this extra time would relieve the tremendous pressure under which we live. Our lives leave a trail of unfinished tasks. Unanswered letters, unvisited friends, unwritten articles, and unread books haunt quiet moments when we stop to evaluate. We desperately need relief.
But would a thirty-hour day really solve the problem? Wouldn’t we soon be just as frustrated as we are now with our twenty-four allotment? A mother’s work is never finished, and neither is that of any student, teacher, minister, or anyone else we know. Nor will the passage of time help us catch up. Children grow in number and age to require more of our time. Greater experience in profession and church brings more exacting assignments. So we find ourselves working more and enjoying it less.
I shared with my team this morning, what the article so eloquently exposed in my life. If I don’t do the important when it needs to be done, then it will become urgent. And the urgent controls my life like an angry tyrant. When things become urgent, then everything else takes a back seat. Yesterday I had to stay home with two sick kids. It was an urgent situation, and situation demanded my attention. I had to cancel my appointments, stay home from work, and sit in the Dr.’s office for 2 hours. All things I hadn’t planned. Now this particular urgent task could not be avoided, but many times the urgent things in our lives can be avoided.
You know the kind… You’re supposed to prepare for that special meeting… and you’ve known about it for months… but instead you found reasons to wait until the day before to start prepping… and now your entire family has taken a backseat to this task… and all the important things you need to do are now slowly becoming the urgent tasks for another day! What a vicious cycle, but one that can be broken.
FOCUS –defined as the concentration of attention or energy on something; maximum clarity or distinctness of an idea
What things in my life need to be focused upon? Any relationships, projects, or obligations? The ability to separate the ‘Important’ from the ‘Not-Important’ can help us escape the Tyranny of the Urgent.