Last week was a crazy week. At work, it was the perfect storm between closing out the business of the previous semester, getting the next semester off the ground, and working to start all program reviews before the college faculty disappear for the summer. In that time, I had meetings on top of meetings (and in one case, two meetings running concurrently). I had students queuing up to see me for help. There are agendas to be set, committees to chair, and a hundred messages waiting to be read. Last week was hell, but I survived.
I had to remind myself of one important thing. In my job, nothing is so important that it can’t wait. Sure, there are critical deadlines looming over my head, and a number of people rely on me for deliverables. However, despite the pressure I was feeling, I knew that there was nothing that was so critical that it couldn’t be added to the list of things I needed to do in favour of focusing on more important tasks.
I’m lucky, because not all jobs have this kind of luxury.
This reminder to myself isn’t meant to show-off or flaunt my job. It’s not to show that I don’t have accountability, or that I’m allowed to slack off.
It’s a reminder of Eisenhower’s Matrix – there are lots of things that are urgent, but it’s critical to recognize and prioritize what’s important. In Covey’s language, you put first things first. For Koch, 20% of your tasks will create 80% of the value. And on, and on.
Last week, it was important to remember these lessons. I couldn’t serve everyone at once, and that’s ok. The best thing to do was to focus on making headway where I could, and leave the rest for next week.