Personal Growth

Fighting the Urgent

April 15, 2013

Sometimes it’s extremely hard to not let the important things in life get crowded out by the urgent things.


photo by Iguana Jo

Let me explain.

You see, urgent things are things like email, paperwork, phone calls, social media, busy work, etc. Important things are the real meat of your life. They are always directly tied to your long-term vision and goals. Important things are the things you dream about getting around to doing but never actually do.

For me, doing urgent things often makes me feel temporarily fulfilled because I am DOING something. But, it is pointless doing all the urgent things in the world if they are not leading me where I ultimately want to go in life.

One very important thing for me is setting aside time to review my goals each month. I can think of a dozen other urgent things I could do with these hours but I take the time, go to the library, and pull out my long-term goals. I then evaluate whether I am on track with where I want to go in life.

This month, however, I planned to review my goals a week ago. I put it off to do some things with my business that I was falling behind on (urgent things.) So, I planned on taking a couple of hours to do it another day. Well, that day rolled around and again I thought of a dozen or two reasons (good urgent reasons) why I should put it off again.

You see, it’s hard not to be distracted by email, little to-do’s, and random projects because they are so urgent. It’s easy to jump in and get them done.

However, it’s more challenging for me to review my goals because it is not so cut and dry as sending a quick email. It takes time, energy, and a lot of introspection. And, I will say guts. It takes guts to face your life and evaluate how you are actually doing.

When I do look over my goals and decide what is really import me, however, I get a new sense of clarity and vision for my life. I am then able to quickly identify things I need to be working on that will have the long-term payoff I am looking for.

Working this way feels much more fulfilling and satisfying than just doing the urgent which will forever be before me. I don’t get the immediate gratification of an empty inbox, but I do get something way more important, I get the gratification of knowing that I am doing the really important things in life.

I am being strategic with my life and this is deeply fulfilling. All the urgent in the world is not going to keep me from the truly important things life.

Working on important verses urgent things reminds me to work smarter not harder.

Is it just me, or is it sometimes hard for you too not to let the important things get crowded out by the urgent things?


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  • Ann Musico April 15, 2013 at 7:19 am

    Oh boy do I hear you Michael – I am guilty of neglecting the truly important for the urgent as well – thanks for the reminder and encouragement!

    • Michael Good April 15, 2013 at 7:39 am

      Sure thing, Ann. Let’s do the “big” things first. =)

  • Donna Yates April 15, 2013 at 8:14 am

    You are so right! I seem to put off the parts of things I don’t enjoy and focus on the parts I like. I finally have to make myself do the parts I’ve neglected and I always feel so much better once I’ve tackled them.

    • Michael Good April 15, 2013 at 3:19 pm


      Your comment reminds me of Brian Tracy and eat that frog. It’s where he recommends doing the thing you dislike the most first and getting it out of the way. It not fun to do the worst thing first, but it feels so much better afterwards!

  • Jody Berkey April 15, 2013 at 9:14 am

    “All the urgent in the world is not going to keep me from the truly important things life.” This is a great line. Very true. I don’t think that you’re alone.

    Steve and I went to Charlotte for the weekend. We stayed with Mark and Laura Burch and went to Elevation Church with Mark on Sunday morning. One part of Pastor Steven’s sermon really resonated with me. Actually, the whole sermon was great, but in one part he talked about how how he turns down about 95% of the speaking invitations he gets because he has three young kids at home. He talked about how other people, who are in other seasons of their lives can do those types of things, but he’s committed to being at his kids’ tee ball games and such because he’s the only daddy they have. That hit home. Once the sermon’s posted, I’ll send you a link and tag the parts I think you’re really connect with in the message. I was thinking of our entrepreneurial circle of friends throughout the message. It was great.

    • Michael Good April 15, 2013 at 3:26 pm


      That sounds great! Send me the link when you have it. I’d like to take a listen to it.

      I think keeping priorities in line and doing important things first is tough for anyone, but especially for those of us with our own businesses. We have to create the structure and the guidelines and decide what gets done and what doesn’t.

      • Jody Berkey April 16, 2013 at 4:18 pm

        Here’s the itunes link, Michael. It’s easier to scrub through the iTunes version versus on the church’s site. It’s the first one: God’s Will is Whatever: How Awesome is This? (part 2 of the current series)

        The whole message is great, and I would recommend listening to the whole thing for context, but if you can’t, there is a part on embracing limitations around the 32 minute point. A second clip is about how God doesn’t Bean Boozle you. It’s around the 45 minute mark.

        iTunes Link:

        Church’s Sermon Archives:

        • Michael Good April 16, 2013 at 9:22 pm

          Thanks, Jody! Will check these out.

  • Tom Dixon April 15, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    This is my experience too. To try to combat it, along with reviewing my long term goals monthly, I start each day with a list of all my open tasks. I rank them as NOW, TODAY, LATER – making sure to focus on the important and not the urgent. Then as things come up during the day, I am forced to re-prioritize versus just doing the urgent task that has come up. Sometimes I have to make the trade-off and do some “urgent” work. Great post!

    • Michael Good April 16, 2013 at 9:25 pm

      That sounds like a great system, Tom. I like how you have some flexibility built in to it. Was that something you came up on your own?