What’s your ideal day? You wake up, drink a cup of coffe, head to work, sit on your desk and bam, ready to work?
I rarely had that day. It happens that when I get to work I open my email and some crash happened or there’s some urgent matter to be taken care of.
My first reaction was to start working on the problem. Fixing it asap. It felt so important after all.
But after many times I realized that no, this doesn’t work because you’re postponing the important work in favor of the urgent work.
They might _seem_ the same, but they’re not. They surely _feel_ different. Important is something you care in the long run. Urgent in the short term.
Urgent is going to the bathroom, important is having a bank account named after your son so that when he becomes adult he’ll have some money to back him up.
So how can we decide what’s important, what’s urgent and what can be left alone for a while before it becomes urgent?
The problem is the urgency itself, let me show you an example.
There’s a coworker that was on the support team and she answered to a customer. The customer was angry, like _really_ angry.
The reason was because there was a bug in the system that didn’t let hime change one content. Everything else was working but this feature.
At that time we had quite a lot of other bugs and features to develop and a scarcity of developers. So my question was: What should be the priority?
And the top issue to fix was the one related to the user, while on our todolist there were some other much more critical and important things to fix.
Urgency creates the illusion that something is important when it’s not. It tricks the mind into thinking that is a priority. But guess what? In the long run urgent things rarely matters.
There are only few _real_ urgent things in life.
Death, you don’t get paid, your customer don’t get paid, and, in case of web development: the website is offline.
Everything else can be delayed, postponed, discussed.
So how to we get that vision?
When you come to work, take your time. Don’t rush it. Don’t start working right away.
Instead plan. Think about what are the priorities, the short and the long term. Breath again. Take a deep long breath.
If you are still chained to the urgency think about what would happen in the worst case scenario, how much will you or the company loose, and how much would you lose in case the important thing doesn’t get done.
If nothing else works think: “What would I choose if I had no fears?”
Then write down the plan for today, but by all means do it slowly and take your time.