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The Tyranny of the Urgent

POSTED BY: Peter Bath, D.Min., MBA

"Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long."
—Psalms 25:4-5

Ever notice how the urgent things of the day crowd out the important things you wanted to do? How the crisis du jour blocks the implementation of fundamental growth, improvement or practice?

It can be as simple as over-sleeping that causes you to rush out the door, forgetting to hug the kids, or kiss your spouse. It can be as complex as a staffing need that takes your plans for the day and shelves them, putting you in the clinic or on the floor. A phone call, an e-mail, a pager or a vendor is all it takes to create an urgent need that has the power to trump all the important things you really need to do!

So what is important? What is urgent? You have to face these questions each moment of each day and weigh the issue. Not all things need to be done “NOW”. Some can wait a bit like some e-mail or phone calls, others obviously need attention NOW.

A blog post by Rick Warren says it nicely:

I’ve got good news and bad news... The 365 days you have been given this year aren’t enough time to do everything. But here’s the good news: God doesn’t expect you to do everything. God has given you just enough time to do everything He wants you to do!

Will you accomplish the important things in your life? That’s up to how you choose to spend your time! Unfortunately, it is all too easy to let the urgent things of the day crowd out the important things.

What is important you ask?

You are…your relationships with family, with God, with your friends and associates, your time to think and plan, to reflect and pray; these are the important matters of life so often displaced by the urgent.

Bringing focus to the important helps when you have a goal. The words of Solomon are appropriate, “An intelligent person aims at wise action, but a fool starts off in many directions.” (Proverbs 17:24)

Start with a small list. With purpose and focus make them urgently important…

Taking time to do important things can change your world. Don’t let the seemingly urgent crowd out those things at home or work, with God or with family that really make a difference!