6 In life

Important Over Urgent

This morning I read an article called 20 Things Every Twentysomething Should Know How To Do. It’s a great list—one of those shareable ones that is going to be all over the place within 24 hours—and there was one point that really stuck with me among the lighter suggestions like brew a great cup of coffee or tea and parallel park.

For me, the most valuable point made in the piece was this: prioritize the important over the urgent.

Every day we are faced with urgent matters—as the author of the article says, “paying your rent, getting ahead in work, etc.” We see things that have deadlines and we naturally put them at the top of our list. I know I do it all the time. I make sure the must-do items are checked off my list, often neglecting the things in my life that are truly important—quality time with my husband and dear friends, quiet time to read and fill my soul with inspiration, a trip to the park with my pup Maggie, a trail run that fills my day with energy, or an hour of focused writing at my favorite coffee shop.

I’m turning 27 one week from today. While I’m not as freaked out as I was last year (in fact, I’m sort of stoked about it), I do love to take the time every year around my birthday to reflect on the big picture of my life. Last year I decided to focus on a word—lighter. And as I look back, I can see how that word wove its way into every day of year 26. For 27, perhaps my word is important, reminding me to keep my priority list in check. After all, that’s one of the biggest reasons I decided to take the crazy leap to leave Darling Magazine and invest more time and energy into my home life, my writing and this blog community.

Today, this week and this year, my hope and prayer is that each of us can understand the difference between urgent and important, see the ways we’ve gotten our priorities out of line, and make choices that help us focus on what matters most to us without abandoning our urgent life responsibilities.

In what ways do you prioritize urgent over important? What important things in your life need to move to the top of your priority list?

6 Comments

  • Reply
    Laura
    October 8, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    I am definitely guilt of this too. Usually what I deem important is what needs to be done for myself…and usually gets pushed to the sidelines pretty quickly. Urgent is typically the deadlines I need to meet to keep others happy and myself successful. So this is a reminder start paying attention to the important things in my life :)

    • Reply
      Natalie Lynn Borton
      October 8, 2013 at 1:59 pm

      Thanks for sharing! Glad this was as much of a push in the right direction for you as it was for me!

  • Reply
    Allison
    October 8, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Hi Natalie,

    I agree with you that this is such an important lesson. It’s so easy to confuse the ideas, Important and Urgent. I really like the way Jess Lively discussed this on her blog in an example about exercise:

    ” Exercise, for example, is one such [important but non-urgent] item. It is rarely “urgent,” but if ignored for long periods of time, could negatively affect our health or wellbeing [and lead to urgent consequences].” http://jesslively.com/prioritizing-staying-productive-part-two/

    It’s been a hard lesson for me to learn in the last year and it’s nice to know others are focusing on it too. Here’s to a happy birthday and new year focusing on the Important things in life! :)

    • Reply
      Natalie Lynn Borton
      October 8, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      I love that—thank you for sharing! Exercise is always something we toss out the window when urgent matters come our way, but it’s something so essential to our overall health—mental, physical and spiritual.

  • Reply
    Allison
    October 8, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Also, I just read your post about your last birthday and the idea of focusing on becoming “lighter” is also super inspiring. Thanks as always for sharing your wisdom Natalie.

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