Shortcuts… they are very tempting. I can’t even tell you how many times I have put something together without using the directions, thinking, “I know what I am doing… who needs the directions?!”

And every one of those times I had to dismantle the thing and do it over… sometimes only a piece or two, but sometimes the whole thing. Why? Basically pride. “I can do this my way”. But why do I need a “short cut”, knowing the risk particularly that I very easily might wind up spending even more time doing something. Why does it have to get done so quickly? Is there some universal timeline dictating that I must get it done in X amount of time?

The answer is no. It’s just something inside that just wants to get it done and get on with life. But then there is something else that “has to be done”. This is known as “The Tyranny of the Urgent,” also the name of a book by Charles Hummel. In it he says; “We live in constant tension between the urgent and the important. The problem is that many important tasks need not be done today, or even this week. Often urgent, though less important, tasks call for ‘immediate response’, endless demands pressure every wak-ing hour.

A person’s home is no longer a castle, a private place away from ‘urgent’ tasks. The internet, telephone, emails, breache its walls with incessant demands. The appeal of these demands seems irresistible, and they devour our energy. But in the light of eternity their momentary prominence fades. With a sense of loss we recall the important tasks that have been shunted aside. We realize that we’ve become slaves to the tyranny of the urgent. Is there any escape from this pattern of living? 

Decide What’s Important

When I say, “I don’t have time for this project,” I really mean, “I don’t consider it as important as something else I want or need to do.” For whatever reason, I have decided to use the hours another way…on a task I feel pressured to do, or on one that I enjoy more. It may be planned or impulsive.

Either way the issue is not simply lack of time but a choice I make.

The first step to regain control of time is to decide what activities are most important so that we can plan to give them the proper priority during a day or a week or a month. There is no blueprint for all people in the use of their time, any more than there is for spending money. God has given us different abilities, amounts of energy, opportunities, assignments and personal needs. So each of us should consider the basic components of a productive life and mindfully set specific goals.” This will help us avoid “the Tyranny of the Urgent.”

BH/Charles Hummel

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