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The Tyranny of the Urgent!

numberone.jpgHow long can you procrastinate on something that has no deadline? I am a professional—so don’t try this at home. The correct answer is months or years. It’s not an “out of sight, out of mind” issue, it’s more about the “squeaky wheel” syndrome. Little nagging problems keep screaming for attention, taking over the top slots on my To-Do lists.

Tyranny of the Urgent

It’s the “Tyranny of the Urgent.” How do these low-level items of unimportance sap my attention in the subconscious?

Don’t get me wrong, all the items on the list need attention, but as I’ve written before, setting priorities is not an easy task. Asking the question, “Is this the most important thing I need to do, right now?” is one way to stay on track. Another is to force yourself to focus on the one thing that absolutely, positively, must get done right now, and do it.

Cause and Effect

So what set off this tirade on procrastination? Getting an oil change on our primary vehicle, a 1996 Mercury Cougar. At 115,000 miles, regular maintenance takes on exponential importance, and every delay in changing the oil causes more wear and tear on the engine. That means it should be high on the priority list, but it tends to slip.

Because of that reason, I use the Palm program AutoBase that tracks all the information on the vehicles. When it’s time to change the oil, the alarm goes off, and keeps going off until I take care of it. Yes, it’s annoying, but I need the constant prompting to get it done.

What tool do you use to keep the important items at the top of the list? Please share in the comments.

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