Important Vs. Urgent: “I’m Too Busy” Headless Chickens Instead Of Creators – Harness Your Creativity


Limitless Monday – Important versus Urgent

There are very few comments that annoy me more than the words, “I am too busy.” This short throwaway line is usually uttered in response to an innocent request or inquiry.

“Can you take the garbage out?”

“I can’t, I’m busy.”

“Can you come for a drink tomorrow night?”

“Sorry, I am too busy.”

“Did you manage do the shopping for me?”

“No, I have been busy all day.”

The reason why this phrase irritates me is because of its inherent meaning.

To explain my annoyance let me take you on a short journey.

Our destination is the best selling self-help book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.

A book which is sure to leave a lasting impression and a desire to change a few of your old habits and replace them with one or two of the habits Covey singles out.

Anyway, my point here is to direct you to the part of his book that talks about what is urgent versus what is important.

Let me summarize in my own words what Covey is talking about.

Imagine you have a square drawn on a nice crisp sheet of white paper which has been separated into 4 smaller squares or quadrants. The two columns are labeled Urgent and Non-Urgent and the two rows are labeled Important and Not Important.

So, let’s look at the two extremes. The top left hand square is Urgent and Important.

The bottom right is Not Important and Not Urgent.

Now for the life lesson behind this simple concept.

One should aim to spend as much time as possible working on Important not Urgent activities.

This is where your future is determined. Learning, building, developing.

Endeavors such as building physical strength, flexibility, stamina, developing mental strength through meditation, building your knowledge base and skills in areas that will be important for your career, working on building and maintaining relationships. All that good stuff.

Now, like most, if you are prone to spending hours checking your social media feed, playing online games, shopping or watching Pornhub these activities will fall into the Not Important and Not Urgent quadrant.

These endeavors are not going to add value to your life.

As a result of spending substantial time in this unproductive quadrant you are likely to find yourself running around like the proverbial headless chicken complaining about being too busy and finding yourself constantly stressed and worried.

You justify this to yourself and others by saying you are dealing with urgent and important tasks.

Imagine if you said that you were too busy to fill up your car with gas. The car inevitably breaks down and you exclaim, “I am extremely busy, I have to call the tow truck as I’m stranded on the highway”.

That’s an extreme example.

Here is another example. You continue to neglect investing in your future as a result you end up working two jobs to pay the bills.

Every time a demand drops on your door mat it’s likely to be both important and urgent!What we should all be focusing on is the top right hand quadrant, Important, Not Urgent.

That will minimize the Urgent and Important. You are controlling your life rather than letting events control you. You are in charge.

Draw that square now. It will take a few seconds. Now be honest with yourself.

Where do you spend most of your waking hours? Are you spending too much time in the bottom right quadrant?

Are you not investing enough time in your future? Do you find yourself telling everyone you are busy?

The reality is we should all be busy working towards our goals. However, we should aim to control how busy we wish to be rather than allow events to dictate our time.

I call this hustling. You are not hustling when you are wasting 2 hours in the supermarket when you could have reduced it to 10 minutes by shopping online and using the time saved to read a book on AI.

You are not hustling when you spend the first 45 minutes of your day checking out the latest videos on TikTok when you could be exercising.

You are hustling when you decide to get home from work and rather than open up your laptop and watch a rerun of

Friends you continue with your online course on Mastering Social Media Marketing.

So my message for this week is to work on minimizing how much time you spend in that bottom right hand quadrant and maximize your time in the top left quadrant.

As a result you will quickly find yourself spending less time in the top left hand quadrant where you have no control over your time or your outcome.

Here you are firefighting.Start today by cutting down how much time you are on social media and replace the time saved with a productive endeavor such as an online course, exercise, some writing or a nourishing biography.

Be a hustler not a headless chicken. Be a creator not a firefighter.

Happy Monday!

Banner Image: It’s a bright new day. Image Credit – Jeremy Bishop


Harry Maximillian

Harry is an author, coach, entrepreneur, comedian and a convicted felon. Harry was sent to prison for a financial crime where he spent five long years. Prison allowed Harry to realize the error of his ways. He decided to use his time productively and mobilize his extraordinary determination, dedication, drive, motivation and desire to focus on writing and the art of self-improvement. Before Harry’s enforced vacation he was one of the most prolific deal makers in the City of London.

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