Mind Games of Time And the Meaning of Urgency

Do you ever play games in your mind?  You know, like this is one…

We relocated to a new city 8 years ago. 8 years!  It seems like 3. How did that happen? And so (the game)… when the next 8 years whiz by, it will be the year 2028 (almost)! That number looks odd. How can that be? That’s a year that sci-fi movies are made of, right? And (more game)… in the year 2028, I’ll be 72 years old! Whoa. That is beginning to sound like another kind of movie (I’ve never been a fan of horror movies).


I’m starting to feel an urgency.

There is so much I want to do. 

There are so many places I want to go. 

And there are so many things I want to become.

There. That’s it. The urgency: Who do I want to be in 8 years?

My sister commented recently, “Wow, at a time when I’m looking forward to retirement, relaxation, and travel, you’re trying to figure out who you want to be.” Yep, that’s about right.

I don’t mean career-wise. I’m not looking at online classes to become a nurse, accountant, nor any other type of professional. I’m trying to look through that ever-elusive time lens to May 2028, where Lord willing, I’ll be celebrating my 72nd birthday. Who do I see? Who have I’ve become in 8 short years?

What about the 3 years after that — when that milestone of 75 lands promptly on my doorstep?

There is much that is out of our control. And at this moment we cannot see into the year 2028 or even into tomorrow, but one lens that is crystal clear today is the one focused on my to-do list.

An article at MindTools.com stated that in a 1954 speech to the Second Assembly of the World Council of Churches, former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower said there are two types of problems: the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.

The article also says we need to understand this distinction:

  • Important activities have an outcome that leads to us achieving our goals, whether these are professional or personal.
  • Urgent activities demand immediate attention, and are usually associated with achieving someone else’s goals. They are often the ones we concentrate on and they demand attention because the consequences of not dealing with them are immediate.

I have become self-aware enough to know I have spent a lifetime doing the urgent and often neglecting the important. As a 9 on the Enneagram, I wasn’t even aware of many of my own goals, so “neglect” may be too strong of a word. But lately, in my daytimer, Important and Urgent are playing their own kind of game, a bit like musical chairs. There is always one left without a place. Out of the game. Or left undone, if you will.

Funny how the urgent is suddenly redefining itself. 

I have started labeling my tasks a bit differently. What once I considered urgent is moving further down the list and is no longer worthy of that label. Things that have made the list over and over, important things, but never seemed to reach the top are being reassigned and renamed.

Urgent vs Important. Important vs Urgent. It’s a struggle, a battle. Each vying for my attention.

I don’t have a crystal ball or a magic wand, but I have today. And I have a list.

Who I am on May 30, 2028 will be impacted by what I do today.

That puts a whole new focus onto that quickly jotted to-do list. Goodness, it’s a messy list now, full of scribbles, arrows and new additions.

Today I will find time to do the important. No, I mean the urgent. No, I mean…

Hmm. Maybe to keep it crystal today, some things need to labeled: 2028.

Now that might keep me focused.

What’s on your to-do list today?





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