Urgent vs. Important 

“Problems arise in that one has to find a balance between what people need from you and what you need for yourself.” ~ Jessye Norman

School has started … and so have the 60 hour work weeks.  Such is the life of a teacher. *

As I dashed out the door last week, I said to my husband, “You and Jesus are the most important people in my life and I haven’t  spent time with either of you lately!” I pondered that on my drive to work. That’s not even a little bit okay. 

Y’all, I’m not good at the balance thing. I never pace myself. I’m all in-to an unhealthy degree. Every year, I think I’ll do better. Every year I don’t do better. And a lot of you are the same.

A sweet friend and coworker recently posted that she was struggling to not give her precious family leftovers. The most important people in her life were getting the time, energy, passion that was left at the end of the day. People, there is no time, energy, or passion left at the end of the day! 

So, what are God’s girls to do? We know He didn’t intend us to work ourselves to the point of exhaustion and emptiness. We know our families come before our jobs. We know He comes before all of it. We know these things, but do we live these things? I sure don’t. Rather, I sure haven’t. But I’m trying. So, here I go. Again. I’m prioritizing, trying to sift the urgent from the important. 


  • Grade papers
  • Complete lesson plans 
  • Change bulletin boards
  • Post grades and comments 
  • Upload photos to school page
  • Read emails
  • Create games, centers, tutoring and intervention tools
  • Run copies
  • Laminate flash cards and posters and games and more 
  • Pick up dry cleaning 
  • Run errands
  • Decorate for the next season or holiday
  • Look up better, cuter, more effective lesson ideas 
  • Read articles and books on teaching 
  • Sit in meetings 
  • Meet with committees 
  • Turn in various assignments 
  • Post daily or weekly objectives 
  • Plan healthy dinners
  • Cook healthy dinners
  • Dishes
  • Laundry 


  • Spend time with Jesus (spiritual/mental/emotional health)
  • Spend time with Hubby, family, friends (mental/emotional health)
  • Spend time alone (emotional/mental health) 
  • My (physical) health -exercise, sleep, diet  
  • Create (writing, crafting….mental/emotional health)

Yep, it’s exactly as I suspected. I’m all over the Urgent, but ignoring the Important. Like my friend, I must stop giving leftovers to my loved ones. Sigh. Well, only I can change that, so…. I plan. Okay, I actually whined, pouted, fussed, prayed, and then planned.   Planning is important in order for me to accomplish my goals. And living out The Important is a worthy goal!  Here’s what I’m doing to get the Important accomplished in my life. 

  1. I plan my meals for the week on the weekend. 
  2. I choose my clothing and jewelry on the weekend. 
  3. I even plan my errands for the week on the weekend. 
  4. I strive to make Saturday my work, errands, etc day and Sunday my day of rest.  
  5. I exercise most mornings BEFORE work. I’m onto me…I’ll make excuses AFTER work. 
  6. Lists. I love lists (obviously).  Lists keep me focused. 
  7. Hobbies. I come alive when I create, when I write or make things. I’m restored. Time for hobbies seems frivolous, but I’ve found I walk away energized and renewed when I indulge. So, I indulge-and so should you. 
  8. Time with God before all. Honestly, some days it’s prayer, praise, reading His Word, and reading a devotional or two. Those are good days. And those days don’t happen all of the time. It’s a goal, but for now, prayer and one verse-that’s what’s happening. 
  9. Make dates. It’s too easy to stay at work. I’m trying to plan dates with my husband or friends. If I have to leave, I leave. If I don’t have to, I work until I drop. You know there’s always one more thing to do (or twenty more). 
  10. Go! Go to the football games and dinners. Go to the baby showers, weddings, birthday parties for the people you love.  Be present  for your beautiful, imperfect, messy, blessed life. 
  11. Bedtime. Go. To. Bed. I’m a morning person, and I can’t think or function well after a certain point. In fact, I’m pretty much nonsensical after 8:00. I know people who get by with a few hours of sleep, but I am not one of them! In fact, I’m the worst version of myself when I’m tired. 
  12. Say no. When possible, say no. No to the extra assignment. No to gossips who waste your time and leave you unsettled. No to the 8th jewelry party this season for your cousin’s best friend. No to the things and people that drain you. No isn’t always possible, but when it is….

Countless articles, books, and blog posts have been written on prioritizing, separating the urgent from the important, balancing work and life…And we still struggle. I’m praying about this. I’ll bet some of you are, too. Don’t you think the enemy loves it when we spend our precious time and energy on things that aren’t truly important? You know he does. Let’s commit to seeking our Lord’s heart. He knows our battles and He has a battle plan! God’s girls can do this!! We can end this silly “balancing act” if we seek Him in all things. 

Matthew 6:33 (KJV) “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (ESV) “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”  Father, I want YOU more than anything else. Lord, I need You. Show me Your plans for my day. Let me hear Your voice today. Let me do Your will today. You know what’s on my lesson plan and to-do list, and I surrender both to You. Let Your will be done in my life today and always. In Jesus’ precious name. Amen. 

I’d love to hear how you’re focusing on the Important, rather than the Urgent. As always, I wish you MUCH joy! 

*Yes, teachers work hard, and so do parents, doctors, sales clerks, receptionists, business owners…. I’m just using what I know-my profession-as an example. 

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2 thoughts on “Urgent vs. Important 

  1. Pingback: I Can’t | muchjoytoyou

  2. Pingback: Resolutions Made Easy (Seriously!)  | muchjoytoyou

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