Is It Urgent or Important?

“I have an opportunity…”

I can’t tell you how any of my client conversations start with that statement.

“I have an opportunity to…buy into a business…buy some land…buy a house I’ve had my eye on for a long time.”

Always these opportunities come with a timeline. 

“I need to give them an answer…by tomorrow…by the weekend…by next week…” 

It’s like those “amazing” sales put on by retailers. “Get this incredible deal…but act quickly! This price is only good for a limited time.”

We live in an “urgent” world, don’t we?

We’re inundated 24/7 with emails, phone calls, texts, ads…and “opportunities.” If we’re honest, most of these “urgent” interruptions aren’t actually “important.” 

What hooks us, however, is “FOMO”—the “fear of missing out.” We ask ourselves “What if I miss this ‘amazing’ and ‘urgent’ opportunity?”

And that’s how most of us find ourselves unwittingly addicted to “urgent” things. 

Granted, a few “urgent” things are also “important.” But many of them, the ones screaming loudest for our attention are not. They won’t matter in 30 days, much less in 30 years.

Consider the things in your life that are extremely “important,” but not always so “urgent”—things like God, family, friendships, professional growth, physical health, long-term financial health (you could probably add additional items). 

Any chance you look at that list and think, “I should be paying more attention to these things…and I would…if only I weren’t so busy…with all these ‘urgent’ things”?

Author Stephen Covey called this the trap of being “caught up in the thick of thin things.”

How do we get out of this trap? It’s not by focusing even harder on the urgent things in your life. That will lead only to feeling even more overwhelmed and frustrated.

No, the secret is to focus on the things in life that are vitally important, but that don’t often scream loudly for our attention. It’s the same list I enumerated above: God, family, relationships, professional health, physical health, and financial health. Unless we make those things top priorities, we’ll never give them proper attention. 

My specialty is money, so let’s use that as an illustration: Rather than a lifetime spent reacting to urgent-sounding “opportunities” that pop up here and there, why not be proactive? Why not focus on the important step of creating a comprehensive financial plan? 

A wise financial plan begins with the premise that money should be your servant, never your master or goal. From there, it’s a matter of figuring out what you want your money to do for you, then putting it to work doing that job.

For most of us, this will mean devising a plan for a certain amount of income in retirement and taking the necessary action steps now to get there. It will mean answering questions like: How much do I need to save? Where should I put those saved dollars? How do I protect myself along the way? How do I manage risk in my investments? How do I allow for interruptions and changes?

This is a very important thing. As such, it can feel intimidating. If you need some help getting started, I’ve got a free resource I’d love to send you. Just email me and ask for my “Priorities” booklet ( I’ll get a copy to you for free.

Remember: This important step is easy to put off. Sadly, it often is. But that’s the point, isn’t it? 

If you don’t intentionally engage in the all-important work of planning (financial and otherwise), your days, your years, your life will get consumed by urgent distractions.

And none of us needs that.

Argent Advisors, Inc. is an SEC-registered investment adviser. A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request. Please See Important Disclosure Information here.

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