“If everything is important, nothing is important.”

Important vs. Urgent

Eisenhower once said, “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” 

  • Important activities have an outcome that leads to the achievement of your goals.
  • Urgent activities demand immediate attention, and are not necessarily leading to the achievement of your goals.

Urgent activities are often the ones we concentrate on at the cost of focusing on the important. These are the “squeaky wheels that get the grease.” They demand attention because the consequences of not dealing with them are immediate. Urgent is not exactly evil but it can cost you what is important.

When I was working in the corporate world, my job had a lot to do with managing resources and productivity. Even a large company with greater resources cannot manage to accomplish every idea that comes up — to do so would create a lot of pissed off, frustrated, and burned out, and crazy people. Setting priorities help you manage your time, your resources, and more importantly, your focus. Time and resources are always finite and limited, and there is no way you can do everything. In setting priorities for managing the home, you have much more control over it because you are the executive (or co-executive) of the home whereas in a corporate setting you might not have as much determination over company values, culture, and priorities.

What your priorities are will depend on your goals and your values. What you want to get accomplish depends on you and your family. Every family has a different context, and each family value different things and have different cultures. For example, once I became a homemaker, I wanted to learn how to be the best homemaker possible for my family. However, being a homemaker can encompass many things: parenting, cooking, cleaning, decorating, laundry, sewing, gardening, home repair, homeschooling, raising and farming your own food, storing, pest control, plumbing, furniture making, etc… There is no way I can or even really want to learn everything that would make me the super perfect homemaker who can do it all. That person doesn’t exist – I don’t think even Martha Stewart does it all. There are a whole lot of things that I don’t do, probably more than what I actually do. You have to pick the parts that matter to you and either forget about or outsource the rest.