Nowadays, I have a good system for keeping track of all my tasks.

Three years ago, much less so.

I was reminded about this today, when I was cleaning up some piles of old papers that had been hanging around for years (including moving to a new desk twice where I just moved the piles from one cabinet to another.

But today I decided to get rid of these papers once and for all. And that was a really interesting experience. Because a lot of the things that seemed important at the moment has turned out the be less critical than I thought.

For example, I found an old to-do list with three columns: “Urgent”, “Important” and “Nice-to-have” with a handful of tasks listed under “Urgent”.

Time to panic!!!!???

No, not at all. Because seen in retrospect, I can now see that there was absolutely nothing in the “Urgent” column that in the long run turned out to be critical. In fact, I could just fold up the paper and throw it out.

Interesting experience.

The morale of the story is twofold:

  1. Few things are as urgent or critical as you perceive them in the moment. Time will put things in their proper perspective.
  2. You need a good system! Just imagine that some of the tasks had turned out to be really important and I had missed them for 3 years… That would not have been good. So I am happy to say with certainty that this wouldn’t happen today due to the systems I have in place these days. Hooray!
Is this really as urgent as you think?