“As we look over this landscape of opportunities, we file them as important or merely urgent.” ~ Kristoffer Carter
In my own journey to create space for myself in my life, I came across a meditation called, “Creating Your Life’s Work.” It was led by Kristoffer Carter (aka K.C.) from This Epic Life (check it out on Insight Timer, my favorite meditation app).
In the recording, he encourages listeners to “differentiate between what brings us joy and satisfaction and what might just be nagging at us.”
This idea of the difference between important and urgent really clicked for me. If I knew the difference in my own life, I could be more intentional about creating that space for me.
You can win the battle of Important vs. Urgent too.
Important vs. Urgent – Defined
Those things that are most Important in our lives often focus on the bigger picture, something larger than ourselves, yet they rely on our deeper, more single-minded focus. When we finish a task related to what’s Important, we feel a sense of accomplishment. That energizes us. Even if there’s no deadline for completion, it’s still Important. It’s quietly persistent, often subtly so.
K.C. describes the Important work of our lives as “slowing down the quickening pace of life” and “the best investment of our time.”
Urgent matters, on the other hand, tend to drain our energy, because the focus is scattered on small picture tasks and minutiae that all seem to have a deadline – real or imagined – imposed on us. Completion of these tasks rarely gives us a sense of accomplishment; rather, we have the sense of spinning our wheels – working hard and getting nowhere.
As K.C. explains, these are the “responsibilities, needs, and demands on our time” that “vie for our attention.”
The Constant Struggle
If you struggle to place the Important first in your life, you’re among friends. It’s the most normal thing in the world to respond to the need that’s right in front of us. If something or someone is nagging at us, we want to take care of the problem and put it behind us.
As I mentioned last week, we’re wired to do for others.
Some of what we do for others is Important – like caring for our family, helping a friend in need, and so on. Some of what we do is merely Urgent – emails, laundry, etc.
Here’s what makes it so hard though.
Many emails need to be answered. Laundry needs to be done. The bathroom needs to be cleaned.
However, if we put those Urgent tasks before what’s Important, we may never get to what’s Important.
If we look back at the definitions of these two categories of tasks, we know that we receive energy from one and the other drains it.
We need balance between Important and Urgent.
2 Crucial Questions to Create Space for You
To create that balance – complete with space for you to be YOU and space for you to help care for others – it’s crucial to answer two questions:
- What’s Important to you?
- What are the Urgent tasks that distract you from what’s Important?
When you have answers to these questions, you can make healthier choices about how to rejuvenate yourself by putting the Important first in your life. The Urgent will get done, and you’ll have more energy with which to do it.
Please share in the comments below. What’s Important to you? How can you make it a priority in your life?
Another Way of Looking at Important vs. Urgent
Sometimes, everything feels Important and Urgent. I think we’ve all been there! So, if it’s a struggle for you to break things down for yourself, consider signing up for my free, self-paced “10-Day Time Discovery Challenge: Re-Discover Your Joys.”
In 10 days – for less than 5 minutes a day – you’ll take a look at your life from a variety of angles. You’ll see where your stressors lie and where your joy (what energizes you) comes from. It will give you a new perspective on where you want to place your focus and bring awareness to what your challenges are.
Click here to get access to this and other free resources for living a fuller, more joyful, more focused life.
Check Out the Other Articles in this Series
This article is part 3 of a 4-part Summer Seedlings series on “Creating Space for You to Be YOU – Finding Your Core Self.” Read every article:
- Why Creating Space for You to Be YOU Is So Important (Part 1)
- What You Know Deep Down and Almost Never Remember (Part 2)
- The Top Thing You Need to Know to Create Space for You (Part 3, current page)
- A Real Life Example of Creating Space: Jacque Kissack (Part 4, coming soon)