Why Do Urgent But Less Important Tasks Drown Out The Really Important?
One of the things that continually amazes me is the split personality that exists within my brain (apologies for the mixed definitions here).
I can have a day like yesterday when I had fantastic conversations with clients and fellow industry CEOs which genuinely moved some of my thinking on. Our corporate strategy will develop positively as a result. I worked on some financial modelling that I’d long planned to. It gave me insights that have informed a whole other set of thoughts that will further impact strategy.
I then did some further reading that extended my thoughts on some issues and opened up whole realms of other thoughts.
Now, this post isn’t to wax lyrically about how effective I’ve been. The first point is that the time investment to achieve the above was probably 3-4 hours in total. Granted, there was travelling, but I worked every minute of that time. The second point is how I felt at the end of the day. Building on my last post, I felt that all the non-important tasks were rightly put in their place. That the siren call of the urgent was drowned by the sense of achievement from the important. I had done the right – commensurate with my responsibilities and accountabilities – things with my day.
Now don’t get me wrong. Today hasn’t been a bad day. Productive things have been done. But the challenge of ignoring the urgent task siren call has been remarkable.
I am left wondering whether it is a personality ‘type’ thing. Does my need for control/ power show itself in a restless frustration when I’m not all over my inbox and detailed task list? Does this undermine my trusted system? Have I just taken what I accept in to my action list too far, such that it’s seeping out at the edges?
I think an interesting flip to observe is that in the situation I am blogging about, my conscious/ other-than-conscious position is reversed. I know what I need to do: the important and less of the urgent. I’m kidnapped though by my other than consciousness.
And I don’t know why.