The urgent would like your attention, please.

The urgent does not care about the important. The urgent is not concerned about year-end numbers or long-term professional goals. The urgent wants you to check your email. Right now, if you don’t mind.

Giving in to the urgent feels good. Other people appreciate quick responses, and putting out fires seems productive. On the other hand, logging a couple of hours on an important, long-term project isn’t very gratifying. There’s no social approval, and progress can be glacial.

And in most workplaces, nobody will blame you for spending all day reacting to incoming communication, from worshiping at the altar of the urgent. Nobody, that is, except Future You, who will wonder where all that work time went.

Carve out some time for the important today. The urgent can wait.