Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Tyranny of the Urgent

About a month ago, I put a survey on the right side of this blog. The survey asked..."What is your greatest struggle"? To my was "time management". I'm not sure why this was a surprise for me....but it really was. I thought maybe some others might be where the majority of us struggle. But wow...time management is the biggest area of struggle to those of you that participated in the survey.

In 1967, Charles Hummel wrote a book called "The Tyranny of the Urgent". (For those book lovers out should check it out). In his book though... Hummel said, it is not so much a shortage of time as a problem of priorities. Or, as a cotton mill manager once told him, "Your greatest danger is letting the urgent things crowd out the important."

What urgent things crowd out your important things? Look at your life like a jar. It begins every day empty....ready to be filled with the important things....and the "stuff of life". You know...literally, you can get more rocks and sand in a jar....if you put the big rocks in first...then once the biggest things are in and set...then all the little grains of sand will filter through and fill the crevasses left open by the big rocks.

I leave you with a question....What are YOUR priorities....the most important things in your life? Set these things in place first...daily. Then when the "stuff of life" creeps in to steal your will know what to give priority to. Set priorities...I believe this is HUGE in helping you with time management of your day. You will know what to say "no" to, and what to say "yes" to. Too many of us try to do everything...and we just can't! And it is OK to say NO! If it doesn't line up in your list of priorities....then don't give it the prominence it is demanding. The "urgent" things in life try to do that....but we have to learn what we can...and can't do. Don't let the "stuff of life" steal your time! Set priorities...and live by them daily!!!

On another note....don't forget to read my post below. I don't usually post two days in a row. I want to leave enough time for everyone to read my posts. But yesterday I shared something that I think many of you would like. Check it out!!! Now...go and have a GREAT day and remember... don't let the urgent, crowd out your important!!!


Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy said...

What a great analogy! Time management and getting your priorities in order is such a struggle sometimes. Thanks for sharing your heart.

Keisha said...

Girl! I struggle with this daily! I find myself during the day being pulled into a million different directions! It is soo tiring! Thanks for the tips. Matt has read this book, so when I saw the title.. I was like.. Buffi has been reading again. LOL! REad on girl! This is Good stuff! I need to be reading more.

LeighAnne said...


I need more hours in the day! Ha. :) But seriously, Blake & I have just had to learn that we can't do all things with excellence, so we do the things we are most passionate about and have let the others go. I really am glad we made that commitment to one another. It has made a big difference in our life. Great post. :)

Mike and Barb said...

I hear you! There is a great story about the analogy you used. I have to see if I find it.
I just recently (FINALLY!!!) bookmarked your new blog, so now it will be easier to find you over here!!
Love, Barb

Mike and Barb said...

Here is the story...

A professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When class began, wordlessly he picked up a large empty jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks right to the top, rocks about 2" diameter.

He then asked the students if the jar was full? They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them in to the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks. The students laughed.

He asked his students again if the jar was full? They agreed that yes,it was.

The professor then picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

"Now," said the professor, "I want you to recognize that this is your life.

The rocks are the important things - your family, your partner, your health, your children -anything that is so important to you that if it were lost, you would be nearly destroyed.

The pebbles are the other things in life that matter, but on a smaller scale. The pebbles represent things like your job, house, or car.

The sand is everything else, the "small stuff."

"If you put the sand or the pebbles into the jar first, there is no room for the rocks.

The same goes for your life. If you spend all your energy and time on the small stuff, material things, you will never have room for the things that are truly most important.


I read a different ending once, that the professor poured a cup of coffee in the jar at the end, saying "and there is always room for a cup of coffee with a friend"