You hear people say it all the time – “I’m just sooo busy!” Yes, we all make more decisions these days. But are they the decisions that really count? In reality, most of these choices have little, if any, effect on our long-term outcomes. But then there are the decisions that can impact our job, our relationships or our pocketbook. Here’s an example. 

Last month, I had to unexpectedly replace the furnace in my house. I was in the middle of a big project. My wife was in a busy season as well. We did not have time for this. At the same time, it was averaging fifty degrees in our home. I was tempted to just call a company that got five-star reviews on the web and say, “Fix this and let me know when it’s done.” I didn’t have time to stay home for a day and let a bunch of contractors traipse through my house asking questions. But we’re talking significant money here.

And here’s the payoff. First, in taking time, I spent a couple of hours watching YouTube videos on how furnaces are installed to make sure I understood the process. This research enabled me to ask some intelligent questions and prevent one mistake all four contractors were making about the size of the furnace we needed. Second, the estimates varied by as much as seventeen hundred dollars for the same service and equipment! Third,the installers were actually in and out of our house within six hours. I’m glad I took the time.

How good are you at managing the tension between the urgent and the important? It’s experiences like this one that can be the difference between a painless and successful outcome and the ongoing heartburn that comes from acting out of impatience. It all depends on where we place our time and focus. How good are you at prioritizing the decisions you face and compartmentalizing your energy?

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