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Today I didn’t meet my work goals, which were really very simple: put away all the clean laundry, tidy up the bedrooms, wash and put away the sheets, and clean off the dining room table. I had all day. It should have been a snap. Well it wasn’t. Instead of reaching my goals I got sidetracked.

I went to a seven year old’s tea party. It was last minute, and she begged me to come. She had handwritten the invitation just moments before. There was a seat just for me next to books and decorations she had prepared. Never mind the invitation said “tomorrow”. She wanted me today.

Later on, I was just getting started putting away the piles of clean clothes. Then my teenaged daughter excitedly came to me and wanted to sit and talk about her career goals and plans to reach them. I left the clothes to listen.  All in all there were many interruptions to my goal achieving.  I coached my 13 year old through making dinner, discussed goals with another daughter, and took a color personality test on the recommendation of an excited student, thus reading online that I am creative, goal-oriented, sociable and get distracted easily (I needed an online test to tell me this? Oh well, it was fun.) I took a walk with a child when she asked me to go and helped another with algebra who was stuck. And I hugged my husband and snuggled with him on the sofa when he came home from work and patted the spot next to him, inviting me over.

So, today I didn’t reach any of my work goals, not by a long shot. But I did learn something. I learned this:

You can’t let your goals get in the way of what is really important.

That’s right. Sometimes things that you don’t plan become the most important things you do. When I was in college I had a professor who talked about time management. He said that some things are important and some things are urgent. And often, the urgent things we think we have to do or which punctuate our day or force themselves upon us are not very important at all. He said that we need to distinguish between what is just, say, like a shrill phone ringing- urgent, and immediately grabbing our attention, but not necessarily important, especially if we are in the middle of a conversation with a child who is pouring out his heart or a spouse who has had a difficult day.

True, we cannot constantly put off things like washing clothes and putting those clothes away. However, often we may place more value on that than other activities which don’t show physical progress but are way more important. Today, I chose people over things. I chose important over urgent. I am now stepping over piles of laundry which are waiting for me tonight. But laundry doesn’t grow up. It will be there tomorrow, and I can live with that.

Consider your activities today- important? Or urgent? Let the important things be done, even if they interrupt your goals which seem so urgent. Peace. Choose wisely and God bless you.

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