📄 How to not be fooled by urgency, and focus on what's important

It sounds so simple: "Do what's important, forget the things that are urgent!"

Almost sounds trite, as if life is clear-cut, and filled with straight lines and easy decisions.

But you have many responsibilities, there are all kinds of stakeholders you need to work with, projects to check off, plates to keep spinning...

Most days, most of us, we're faced with a large and complex set of demands, and then we need to figure out how to navigate through all that.

And it's that mix - complexity + volume of stuff - that tends to trip us up: the more tasks and meetings and messages and conversations you have on your plate, the harder it gets to stay in control.

And once you start to feel that loss of control, that's when things tend to get messy, because you'll end up prioritising things based on pressure and urgency.

Which might be helpful for getting stuff done, but doing urgent things, in most cases, happens at the expense of things that are important.

That's why one fo my favourite questions is: what matter most right now?

What should you work on, that makes a meaningful difference? What chosen action will give you the most leverage?

Problem is, there's a false kind of satisfaction we derive from doing urgent things. "Look, I'm taking care of stuff, I'm meeting the urgencies of my tasks, and I'm on top of them!".

If, however, you stop to select one action, which is actually important, you get a different outcome:

Instead of satisfaction, you end up with a sense of accomplishment, and that is what creates control and the feeling of control.

Oh, and it also ensures that you're doing the things that make the biggest difference.

The trick is to not focus on what's efficient, but instead on what's effective.

So today in the Effective Actions ranker spreadsheet, we're looking at column D and E, to sit and think, and split out what's actually important... from what seems important.

In many cases, you'l realise that an activity feels like it's important, but in the cold light of day, you realise it's not. It just seems like it, because it's so urgent. Don't be fooled...

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