A Word about Priorities

In 1967, Charles E. Hummel wrote a booklet that was life changing for many people:Harold Duncan 2014 SM

“Tyranny of the Urgent” was revised and expanded in 1994 and addresses the challenge many of us face in distinguishing between what is Important and what is Urgent in our lives.

By Hummel’s definition, “important” activities are those that will help us achieve our objectives in life and will help us get closer to where we really want to be. Important matters have to do with our philosophy of life, our meaning in life and our purpose for living.

“Urgent” matters, on the other hand, are activities that demand our attention now! For example, a ringing telephone almost insists on being answered-now!

However, upon closer examination, we must admit that many of the perceived urgencies in life are not truly important and do not add meaning to the bigger picture of our life.

Hummel suggests that we categorize our daily activities according to the following chart:

Important and Urgent Important but Not Urgent
Urgent but not Important Neither Urgent nor Important

Theoretically, everything we do falls into one of the above quadrants.

It’s all about priorities and our ability to recognize whether our time is being spent in ways that will ultimately help us get where we really want and need to be.

It’s also about having the discipline to say “no” to those activities that do not lead us in directions that are consistent with our life goals.

Please consider these important observations from Jim Martin (godhungry.com):

Every “yes” is a “no” to something else. Some people say “yes” to almost every request they receive. Yet time is a limited resource. I learned to think through the implications of saying “yes” to far too many requests.
2. Creating margin during the workday can really help with stress.

3. Creating times of refreshment must be intentional and must be a priority.

4. Taking care of my body impacts my energy level and my emotional state of being. I learned that eliminating exercise from my regular routine was a dead end street. I had more energy, felt better, and thought more clearly, when I regularly exercised. I also had less desire to eat too much junk food.

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