David Allen, the “Getting Things Done” Guru, has an article in the UK edition of Wired, published on the internet. If you world is full of things–especially in a corporate world–this is a very insightful and worth reading the whole thing.
I think the economic crisis was created because too many smart people focused too much on their priorities.
A vast majority of professionals are in “emergency scanning” mode. Their self-management consists of checking for and acting on the loudest immediacies – in email, in the hallways and on the phone. Everything else is shoved to the side of the desk, and to the back of their mind. Because they’re focused only on “priorities”, and are paying attention only to the most intheir- face stuff, everyone else has to raise the noise level to “emergency” mode to get any audience at all. Sensitivity and responsiveness to input are criteria for the evolution of a species; and many an organisation has a nervous system that keeps them low on the food chain.
The addiction to this myopic view of what’s “most important” is not self-correcting – it is self-perpetuating.
Sometimes your highest priority may be to just get some unimportant things done.