Are You Distracted by the Fire Truck?

Today, life presses forward with such time compression we often find ourselves putting out fires and chasing fire trucks. Have you ever had one of those days you couldn’t get anything done because you were putting out fires all day? You might ask, ‘What? Isn’t that normal?” For many, that resembles every day.

In order to remain competitive, we cram on task on top of another until ultimately there is going to be a train wreck. Unfortunately, the train wreck is the result of little or no forethought in the battle. That is because reflection, evaluation, and purposeful planning are undervalued in a ‘crisis now’ environment. As Stephen Covey puts it in ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’, that which is important is often lost on that which is urgent. Simply because a matter isn’t urgent, does not mean it is not important.

Forward thinking people always realize the future depends on someone giving it consideration today. Some of the most successful people in life are looking past today and seeing what must be done in days, weeks, and months ahead.

Building a strategy or creating a realistic action plan demands methodical assessment and calculation. We kid ourselves if we believe this can be done on the fly. Hours of preparation secure more successful results. Applying the time needful requires self-discipline and focus. The adrenaline rush of the fire truck rushing through the office (metaphorically of course) sometimes blinds us to the need to continue to look past the present blaze.

Each day I am greeted with a desk that is already occupied with a list of things to do. Some more urgent than others. Yet I always try to maintain what is important to moving forward. I refuse to allow my daily to do list be void of time invested in long range programs. The bucket brigade does not always need my help. Unless the fire demands my personal skills and abilities, I try not to be distracted. To some this seems odd, since the drama IS the reason for showing up to work every day. But, long term success comes from prioritizing what makes long term plans successful. The project of the future demands not forgetting that it exists. Don’t let the urgency, displace the value you put on what is important.

Enjoy the journey and have a great day!

-written by James Anderson

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