Urgent Is The New Black
Some days I feel more like a firefighter than an attorney. The phone rings off the hook. There is a constant barrage of emails. Letters to read and write. A stack of files that have to be reviewed. My day is filled with fires that must be put out.
A while ago Jan, my wife, asked me “What did you do today?” I looked at her and said “I don’t know. I worked hard. I know I got a lot done. I took care of all the problems.” It’s a strange experience to not be able to answer a really basic question when my day was filled with little down time.
Being busy, putting out fires and taking care of business are all important. But if I have to take care of what is urgent before I can get to what is important then I am in trouble. There will always be urgent matters to take care of whether it is at work or at home. Urgent is the squeaky wheel.
Last year Jan read to me out of a book called the War of Art by Steven Pressfield. He talks about the battle between what is urgent and important. If we wait for the urgent matters to be taken care of we may never get to what is important . If we want to be advancing our personal evolvement, as well as our practice of law, then we need to do the important.
This simple designation of what is urgent and important helped me to reframe how I see my day in terms of taking care of my evolvement. It takes surprisingly little time and the feeling that it brings me is ten times more rewarding.
Give it a try. Pick out two or three actions that advance your long term personal goals each day and see not only how easy it is, but how it makes you feel.