How to minimise emergencies

 ‘The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.’  John F. Kennedy

Emergencies as a barrier to creating legacy

It’s the week-end – the perfect time to think about how we can free up some more time during the week for creating legacy. Over the years, I’ve realised that one of the main obstacles in creating legacy is the fact that we have to deal with emergencies, sometimes on a day-to-day basis.

When something needs doing urgently, it is of course very difficult to persuade yourself that you really need to keep to your one-hour-a-day commitment to working on that legacy project that may or may not come to fruition one day. In other words, emergencies are part of the short-term aspects of our lives that prevent us from making steady progress about the kinds of things we really want to achieve long-term.

So it’s easy to think that there’s nothing we can do, and we simply have to accept that our circumstances are such that we simply cannot dedicate them to creating legacy.

Distinguishing between different kinds of emergencies

But if you look at the kinds of emergencies you are having to deal with more closely, you will see that they fall within two categories:

1. Emergencies that are urgent due to external circumstances outside your control, e.g. evacuating the building when the fire alarm rings.

2. Emergencies that are only emergencies because you haven’t addressed the issues at a much earlier time.

If you make a list of the kinds of emergencies you are having to deal with on a daily basis, you will probably find that the second category comes up far more frequently than the first.

This is good news, because there’s a very simple solution to eliminating the stress and daily interruption caused by the second category altogether.

How to minimise the number of emergencies you have to deal with

Of course, as you will expect, the solution is to do everything a few days before it becomes an emergency. This sounds good in theory, but in practice how do you know exactly how long a task will take, i.e. when it is time to start work on it? This problem means that despite your best intentions, sooner or later you will find yourself in the same situation of having to deal with something as an emergency only because you did not expect that the task would take so long to complete.

A more effective approach, I’ve found, is to prioritise everything by reverse order of urgency, i.e. do the least urgent thing first. By reversing the order of urgency, nothing will get left undone for so long that it becomes an emergency. Try doing this for a few weeks and see how it works for you. I think you will be amazed by the result.

What about you?

How do you minimise the number of emergencies and interruptions while trying to create legacy? What strategies do you use? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section.

Did you enjoy this blog post? If so, consider subscribing to receive new blog posts by email. Thanks for reading.


 

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
Alexa Ispas

I am a social entrepreneur, blogger, and talent scout, interested in helping people who want to create legacy. I have recently completed my PhD thesis in social psychology at the University of Edinburgh, and am originally from Romania. I am writing a daily blog on creating legacy, which you can find at www.alexaispas.com