Aug 182005

Do you deal with things before or after they become urgent? How often do we justify our decisions by the urgency of the situation? Has urgency become the excuse we can use to justify our shoddy work? How often is my procrastination not laziness but instead an excuse to not do the job right?

Seth Godin writes in his article ‘Hurry! that urgency has become the way to prioritize. Instead of doing what is important now, we deal with things when they become urgent. He gives an example of going to the airport ‘on time’ and having to run for the plane or waking up 10 minutes early and concludes:

It’s easy to justify running for your plane when it’s leaving in two minutes and you’re only five gates away. It’s much harder to justify waking up 10 minutes early to avoid the problem altogether. Alas, waking up early is the efficient, effective way to deal with the challenge. Waking up earlier may seem foolish to the person lying in bed next to you, but when you enjoy the benefits of a pleasant stroll to the gate, you realize that your difficult decision was a good one.

Or in the business world:

Organizations manage to justify draconian measures–laying people off, declaring bankruptcy, stiffing their suppliers, and closing stores–by pointing out the urgency of the situation. They refuse to make the difficult decisions when the difficult decisions are cheap. They don’t want to expend the effort to respond to their competition or fire the intransigent VP of development. Instead, they focus on the events that are urgent at that moment and let the important stuff slide.

It’s a good article to read through and contemplate both on the personal level and the business level.

Tip of the Hat to TheOfficeWeblog who suggests:

Read the whole post. Share it with your co-workers (and especially with your boss). Consider it a cheap epiphany.

  2 Responses to “Tyranny of the Urgent – Hurry!”

  1. I was gonna read this, but I was in too much of a hurry.

  2. I was one of the MK exployee’s working on Wake Island and captured by the Japs on December 23, 194l. I had my 18th birthday on December 15,1941 (I lied about my age when I was hired at a CCC camp at Caldwell, Idaho). My prison time was spent mostly in a camp located in Woosung, China. I will turn 93 years of age on December 15th this year and still drive my car to town, etc. I was known by my middle name Edward during the time I spent as a guest of the Japanese. I was a good friend of Kenneth Rucker and Pint Martin. I have two copies of the Blue Book {stored somewhere) that contains photos of all the fellow prisoners. Was just reading this article about Wake and thought I would drop this message. .

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