Do you deal with things before or after they become urgent? How often do we justify our decisions by the urgency of the situation? Has urgency become the excuse we can use to justify our shoddy work? How often is my procrastination not laziness but instead an excuse to not do the job right?
Seth Godin writes in his article ‘Hurry! that urgency has become the way to prioritize. Instead of doing what is important now, we deal with things when they become urgent. He gives an example of going to the airport ‘on time’ and having to run for the plane or waking up 10 minutes early and concludes:
It’s easy to justify running for your plane when it’s leaving in two minutes and you’re only five gates away. It’s much harder to justify waking up 10 minutes early to avoid the problem altogether. Alas, waking up early is the efficient, effective way to deal with the challenge. Waking up earlier may seem foolish to the person lying in bed next to you, but when you enjoy the benefits of a pleasant stroll to the gate, you realize that your difficult decision was a good one.
Or in the business world:
Organizations manage to justify draconian measures–laying people off, declaring bankruptcy, stiffing their suppliers, and closing stores–by pointing out the urgency of the situation. They refuse to make the difficult decisions when the difficult decisions are cheap. They don’t want to expend the effort to respond to their competition or fire the intransigent VP of development. Instead, they focus on the events that are urgent at that moment and let the important stuff slide.
It’s a good article to read through and contemplate both on the personal level and the business level.
Tip of the Hat to TheOfficeWeblog who suggests:
Read the whole post. Share it with your co-workers (and especially with your boss). Consider it a cheap epiphany.