We each have activities we (or others) feel are important in a given day and that therefore merit our energy and attention. And yet, ultimately, “important” is simply a value judgement.

The deeper question is perhaps how do you know these are important for you? And today?

In essence, what does your decision-making framework look like?

For example:

  • What values come into play?
  • What beliefs underpin it?
  • Who gets a say? Meaning, who are these activities important for?
  • And, most critically, what is the overall vision?

Tightly connected with importance is urgency. In fact, the distinction between what is urgent and what is important goes to the heart of any discussion on time and productivity. In practice, how do you distinguish?

For me, the key to all this is that overriding vision of how we want to live and how all our activities knit together. It can therefore be helpful to spend some time each day reflecting on that vision, perhaps breaking down the various roles you play in life and at work and getting a sense for what is important in each. How do you arbitrate between them? This can give a sense for whether what you are going today actually matters when considered from a larger timeframe.

Questions in the Image:

  • How do I know what is important today?
  • What then is important today?
  • What is urgent today?

Want to Read More Around This Topic?

  • If you would like to explore this theme further, Episode 8 of my Time Academy Podcast: Urgent vs. Important may offer some insights.
  • Also, if you are looking for a time system that allows you to structure your day such that you get to accomplish what you want and don’t get lost in long to do lists or other people’s priorities, this post may be helpful: Find a Time System That Works For You.

Nurturing Curiosity – Daily Practice: This is part of the Nurturing Curiosity series of tools, insights and questions designed to help nurture curiosity as part of our daily practice. In point of fact, every interaction we have is an opportunity to question what we are observing and how we and others are seeing the world. Also remember that questions come in many forms throughout our day – an article shared by a friend raises questions as to whether I am brave enough to fully live into my convictions. What values underpin my beliefs? Where did these values come from? What price am I willing to pay for them? Where are my red lines?

What Thoughts Would You Like to Share? My name is Tom O’Leary, and I envision a world in which curiosity shapes leadership. In this world, leaders aren’t boxed in by traditional thinking or established playbooks. They are open to fresh ideas and diverse perspectives, fostering a culture of exploration and learning. My mission is to shift leadership focus from authority, over-measurement and control to curiosity, learning and innovation, empowering leaders to prioritise the essential. My journey, lived in a number of countries and through various languages, has always been driven by a profound sense of curiosity. In fact, life has taught me that possibility lies not so much in seeking answers but in learning to ask better questions – the ones that help prioritise what is truly essential. I welcome your thoughts, feedback, or personal experiences related to these questions or any insights they may have sparked.