We all get 24 hours.

You and me. Stephen King and Margaret Atwood. Frank Gehry and Renzo Piano. Caroline Shaw and John Luther Adams.

Warren Buffett’s billions can’t buy him a single 25-hour day, and neither can Donald Knuth’s race against the clock to complete his monumental life’s work.

Every day we’re forced to choose between chipping away at difficult, important work or scattering our attention over hundreds of tiny, trivial tasks (and lately, that’s been me). Three points for both of us to remember, then:

  1. You can’t do it all.
  2. Without a plan, you’ll gravitate to the urgent and the easy.
  3. The important stuff is almost never urgent or easy.

When you’re on your deathbed, many years from now, what will make you smile with pride?

Spend your time on that.