The important and the urgent Matter

BUSINESS MATTERS (BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE) - Francis J. Kong - The Philippine Star

How many among you have struggled with waking up in the morning? Some people are like me. I wake up, get up with a jolt, and start the day with a burst of energy. Work has to be done, articles to write, lessons to prepare, a new book to write, training, and speaking engagements. So, I jump up and get going.

Others are like diesel. It takes them a while to warm up and get up, slowly edge out of bed, and then carefully pace their way to do their daily body rituals and gradually pick up speed and work.

Some wake up full of joy and expectations, knowing that the day will be special. Others wake up cranky, and the whole household knows the monster has awakened. Here is an old quip about waking up and going to work.

Mother is waking her son: “Johnny, come, wake up, you have to go to school.”

“Aw, mom, just a bit more sleep, please.”

“No, it’s high time. Now get up.” And the mom says, “Give me two reasons why you don’t want to get up and go to school?”

Johnny says: “But I don’t want to. The children annoy me, and the teachers are a complete pain!”

“Stop it, now. Get up and off to school with you!”

“Mom, give me two good reasons why I should go to the stupid school.”

“Johnny, first of all, you’re 45 years old, and second, you’re the school’s principal.”

Here is a question you might want to answer quietly. What do you work on first when you start work in the morning? Perhaps you and many of our young people work on projects or companies covering different time zones, but the question is also for you.

I have learned and developed over the years that there is only a tiny window of opportunity wherein our energy is at its peak. It should be managed and utilized correctly to ship out meaningful work.

A lot of people immediately dive into the urgent. Those tasks that blare out fire alarms. And then they, later, discover that it was a mistake. While the mind is fresh, and the energy is at its peak. Working on things with the most significant and lasting impact would be good. In my case, I start with doing Quiet Time. Then use the energy and mindfulness to do creative work. I am writing an article, preparing new lessons for training requirements and all the work that has the most significant impact.

Work is perceived either as urgent or important. And as many would know, sometimes what is urgent is not important, and what is important may not be that urgent. Urgency is loud and carries a bigger voice than what is important. If we do not determine the differences between the two, then the energy and creative space are wasted on things that do not matter that much compared to the important things that matter more. This will take a considerable amount of time to do and a lot of energy to spend. Then I would shift my attention to administrative work that does not require a lot of creative juices and energy. Answering emails, scouring research materials, syncing schedules with the office, etc.

The challenge with working from home is that you and I would be tempted to live daily and work without structure and boundaries. Perhaps some people suffer from burnout, and others still find time insufficient when they have saved up on daily commutes and travel hours and would have been more productive with their output.

We need to strategize, and we need to organize. Not a day goes by without my formulating a strategy for the next day’s work, making sure that I manage and expend my energy on the critical task that would bring the most significant impact in line with my life and career goals.

Do creative work first thing in the morning. This way, you are organized and will be composed and productive. Do not be distracted by newsfeeds and other notifications until this aspect of work is done. Do not forget to reward yourself at the end of the day, enjoying and relishing the results and rewards of your labor.

Know what is important and what is urgent. A wise guy says: “Better to wake up and pee than to pee and wake up.” This person certainly knows the difference.



(Level Up Leadership 2.0 online last run for this year will happen this Oct. 25-27. For inquiries and reservations, contact April at +63928-559-1798 or and for more information, visit www.levelupleadership.ph)


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