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By Roxi Hewertson

Is your business enslaved by the tyranny of the urgent? When people act as though everything is a priority, nothing is a truly a priority and time management flies out the window. Tyranny of the urgent is allowing “things that happen” to manage you instead of you managing them. It’s being far more reactive than proactive and it will eventually drive you and your people crazy.

Business owners who are more reactive than proactive, where everything feels like a “fire drill,” suffer greatly when a true emergency or priority pops up.  It’s a lot like crying wolf. Soon, people will stop believing the boss’s call to arms. In everyday life, very little is truly urgent.  We all know this from experience.

We lose a lot when we let the urgent push aside the important work, e.g. creating a healthy work culture; building a loyal customer base; developing our leaders, supervisors, and staff, developing our vendor relationships; and creating our vision and key strategies.Too many business owners and managers spend the lion’s share of their energy on responding to the details and “crisis” of the day vs. what is needed to sustain what’s coming tomorrow and the next day.

Certainly, there are times when the urgent is really urgent – a customer complains, the basement floods, or the whole staff comes down with the flu. These are times when you do have to pull out the stops and figure out how to solve an immediate crisis.  It is not a crisis, though, when an ad on the radio didn’t run or your assistant manager quits. And it’s a self-made urgency when you didn’t plan a project well and you have a hard deadline to deliver against…and now need a full-court press.

The reality is, the world and your customers won’t wait while you’re putting out fires. They will move on or over to someone else. A far better plan is to have a laser focus on those things that will advance your vision and that are important to your future.

Remember: Under-promise and over-deliver. That habit will help you take the urgent out of most situations!

Leadership authority Roxana (Roxi) Hewertson is a no-nonsense business veteran revered for her nuts-and-bolts, tell-it-like-it-is approach and practical, out-of-the-box insights that help both emerging and expert managers, executives and owners boost quantifiable job performance in various mission critical facets of business. Through, Roxi—“the Dear Abby of Leadership”—imparts invaluable free advice to managers and leaders at all levels, from the bullpen to the boardroom, to help them solve problems, become more effective and realize a higher measure of business and career success.