Tyranny of the Urgent — Charles Hummel

A small book about how we allow the urgency of tasks dictate our lives, taking all our time, whether we want it or not. Time is best spent doing important things. Looking back, a list of urgent tasks finished generates anxiety. A list of important tasks finished generates peace. Even though written more than three decades ago, it’s still very relevant in these times.

My rating: 3/5. I liked it. My notes length: 1 min.
Date read: April 17, 2016. More information on Amazon.

My Notes

If you feel like your days are too short, more time each day is not the solution. Parkinson’s Law seems to be a thing.

Fear, doubt and anxiety over the past arises when we look at all our unfinished tasks.

Realise the fact that urgent tasks are taking time from important tasks.

This is a problem of priorities, not time. The problem is the choice you make.

It’s not your responsibility to do something just because you can, however urgent it is.

Resist the urge to follow an unexpected opportunity or demand. They will take time to your important tasks.

When asked for a meeting, never accept it right away. Even if you have a clear calendar. Think it over, look at your time budget, look at your priorities, and decide if it’s important. If it’s an unexpected task, decide what other scheduled task should be eliminated.

If you’re like me, you don’t have time to do many things, but you have a lot of time to watch TV. Change your words, instead of saying “I don’t have time for this”, say “It’s not my priority”. It’ll make you think on what your priorities actually are.

Decide what’s important and then use your time towards it.

At night, write a list of everything you did today. Those are your current priorities. Your priorities are what you do every day, not what you wish you have done, or what you say you’ll do tomorrow.

Having a clearer picture of how you spend time, make one change at a time towards your new priorities. One change that doesn’t involve too much effort. Then decide what activity must be reduced or eliminated to make time for the new change.

Only after finishing important tasks, you’ll be able to look at uncompleted tasks in peace.

Let yourself spend time in hobbies, recreation, exercise, or simply being alone. These are important things, even though they might not be productive.

Not everything productive is important and not everything important is productive.

Manage your life instead of your time. — Charles Hummel