Tyranny of the Urgent

date Sep 10, 2015
authors Charles E. Hummel
reading time 1 min

Pile of unfinished task

The resulting weariness is matched by a sense of achievement and joy. Not hard work, but doubt and misgiving produce anxiety as we review a month or a year and become oppressed by the pile of unfinished tasks. We sense uneasily our failure to do what was really important.

Urgent vs Important

“Your greatest danger is letting the urgent things crowd out the important.”

Time vs Money

Unlike money, time comes to all of us in equal amounts. In fact, everyone has all the time there is—twenty-four hours a day. But what an astonishing variety in our use of that time and the results of our choices!

Goals and hours

how we use our time depends on our goals. We make the hours count for what we think is important.


The following four steps will take us a long way toward more productive use of time: decide what’s important, discover how time is now being spent, budget the hours and follow through.

Time for personal needs

Work makes constant demands on our time. And we may be involved with community duties and programs. We should also allow time for personal needs hobbies, recreation, exercise or simply solitude.

Time budgeting

You start by keeping track of where your dollars are going now. So it is with a time budget. Begin with an accounting of how you are currently spending your hours. This is essential because your pattern of spending time is a picture of your present lifestyle with its needs, values and desires. Any adjustments some of which can be painful must begin with facing this reality.

Say no

I have come to realize that I am the indispensable person only until the moment I say no.

Reactionary vs Proactive

There are two ways to use our time. One person goes through the day responding mainly to the inner compulsions and outward pressures of the moment. Another has a plan that sets priorities and prayerfully makes decisions in advance.