Saturday, May 7, 2011

One Lesson From My Fifth Month Out of College: Work is not Urgent. It's Important.

The world isin't divided into two groups of people. Those who work and those who don't. Because everyone is working.

And everyone is working really hard. And so are you.

You might be studying for that exam next week. You might be finishing up your project for that due date. You might be working on that email you have to send.You might be working up the courage to ask that someone out.

For a long time, I thought I was working really hard too. And I was wrong.

I quit college to work on my dreams and discover what I want to do in life.

No more talking. Time for doing. I said courageously.

Well, I did work. And work. And meet. And send emails. And pitch. And write. And convince. And fight. And work.


In my eyes today. Five month down the line. I don't think I achieved what I set out to achieve.

And the lesson I'm sharing with you today comes from this frustration.

 Work is not URGENT. It's IMPORTANT.

I will explain it through the table I drew for you below.



There are 4 types of work:

  1. Urgent and Important. ex: Those financial aid papers you have to submit or else you'll be broke. etc.
  2. Urgent and Not Important. ex: Your boss just sent you an email. Reply NOW. etc.
  3. Not Urgent and Not Important. ex: Checking out my blog. Or playing farmville. etc.
  4. Not Urgent and Important. ex: Studying. Training.Going to the gym. Spending time with your loved ones. etc. 

For the past months, I have been doing all of the above EXCEPT #4.

What does that mean?

It means I have been working on everything. Except what develops me as a being directly. And ultimatly brings me closer to my goals.

If my goal is to be better at drawing, then I should be learning how to draw. If you look at that task you'll see:

1) It's important for me.

2) And it's not so urgent.

So everyday, I spend my day

  • replying to emails,
  • sending emails,
  • reading articles,
  • answering my mom's phone calls,
  • and 'working' on that task that I have to complete that day(proposal, feasability study, pitch, website...).

Because those tasks are important and urgent. So I do them.

Many people do this too. They spend their time doing important and urgent things. 

I think this is why some people end up with several health issues after years on the job. Because 'working out' is important and not urgent. So they don't do it.

 Spending time with your mom is important and not urgent. So you don't do it.

Reading a book is important and not urgent. So you don't do it.

Going to lectures is important and not urgent. So you don't do it.

 Volunteering is important and not urgent. So you don't do it.

..... the list goes on.

I decided to stop that.

Every day (almost every day), I contribute my first and largest efforts to important and non urgent things. Like drawing.

After I finish the important and non urgent, I start looking at my email and tasks.


This lesson came from two sources. The first being William Choukeir. A man who is my part-time inspiration and full-time friend.

The second being Joseph Bakarji. A man who used to be my part-time mechanical-engineering-tutor and still full-time friend. (and the book that he gave me two years ago called 7 Habits of Highly Effective People*).


*The book is 1/2 bullshit 1/2 good stuff.



Oh and Nike, 'Just Do It' doesn't work for me anymore.

No comments:

Post a Comment