Creativity Pathway #156: Is It Necessary?

This Pathway is one week late. I had planned to write last week and, as much as I tried, could not get into the flow of writing. 

Instead, the task began to feel like a “have to” instead of a “want to.” And “have to’s” can become energy draining instead of life giving, especially when we’ve told ourselves the tasks are more important than they actually are.

Of course, there will always be tasks that are necessary to complete; it’s part of living responsibly. What gets confused, however, is what is actually “necessary.” In an over-scheduled, over-committed culture we sometimes forget the distinctions between necessity and desire, between being occupied and being engaged.

When I find myself off-balance, I like to refer to Steven Covey’s decision-making quadrant which reminds me to determine the relevance of tasks based upon a combination of two factors: urgency and importance. 

Urgent tasks are those which are “in-your-face” and immediate, often with pressing and superficial deadlines. Unfortunately, many of us are so addicted to the adrenaline rush of accomplishing the urgent tasks that we seldom get to the important ones. Important tasks are those that honor our values and, through longer-term reward, contribute to accomplishing our life vision. Important tasks usually require us to make an intentional choice rather than just happening to us.

Tasks which are not important but are urgent are often called “deceptive.” These activities come with much noise and fanfare from other’s expectations but do not typically create much personal value in the larger scheme. Similarly, activities which are both not important and not urgent usually show up as excessive time wasters, such as reading through junk mail or watching trivial television programs. 

Progress is made when we focus on tasks which are both urgent and important. These are necessary deadlines and issue, sometime unexpected, but always contributing to our larger goals and values.

Lastly, there are non-urgent activities that are also important. This is the context in which we can sense a palpable energy. These are not accompanied by a stressful sense of urgency or pressure, but a rise in spirit and meaning.

This week, I felt that energy. While writing, I was saying “Yes” to my own life’s purpose. The deadline came from an inner sense of what was “right” rather than from external expectations. This week the task of writing felt essential, a part of the essence of something larger, rather than a necessary “have-to.” I feel better having been here. 

Coaching Inquiries: To get into the flow of creativity, pay attention to your energy. Are you working on a deceptive task, one that is seemingly urgent but not important? Are you in the bottomless pit of a time-wasting activity that is neither urgent or important? Are you drawn to the task by what you want or by what seems necessary? Or, is the task a contributor to your mission and vision? What do you want?

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Creativity Coaching Programs and to arrange for a complementary Creativity coaching session, use our Contact Form or Email Erika

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Erika Jackson (Erika@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH  •   U.S.A.

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