Have you noticed how we can give ourselves too many too many’s? It’s as if we can’t stop creating more work and more things to consider and more things to do and more things to complete. And then, we gather them all and cram them into a box labeled “urgent and important.”
Steven Covey describes this phenomenon in his 1998 classic, The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. And it remains just as relevant today.
So what is this phenomenon that seems to overtake our lives and our work?
First, we believe that we are missing out on something that is somehow better than what we have now. In other words, “the now” isn’t good enough and “the future” will be better. Add to that the belief that the past was better than what we realized, which makes us long for the good ‘ole days.
On our quest to greatness, we can never get it all done, so we operate from a constant state of not measuring up; we live in a world of always falling short. Then, we layer on metrics and measurements (that were originally designed to make understanding life a bit easier) and take them all as real and immovable.
We start to believe that everything that matters exists outside of us. So when the phone rings, regardless of the fact that we have a person standing right in front of us, we compulsively answer it. Anything must be better and more urgent than what’s occurring now. It all feels critical.
And this is how it begins. Suddenly everything in our life and our business is critical. Everything seems important and relevant and is all given the same weight and status.
But somewhere deep in the recesses of our inner knowing, we are aware that not everything in life is critical — in fact, most of it is just plain fodder and distraction. We know that the things that truly matter in our lives and our work are clear and make decision-making very easy.
Try to keep that in mind today, that everything is not critical. And then insist on that which is.