Your Emergency is Not Mine

Many times we expect for things to happen in an instant, but just as often it happens that your emergency is not my emergency too.


Photo Pexel

Some stuff is pretty urgent, for example packing your bags when needing to leave in a few minutes, hitting gas when the light is green or rehearsing for the presentation you give today. I am not talking here about decision matrices as if you were in charge of the emergency room triage and you need to decide who has greater chances of survival. I am merely talking about the colleagues who constantly pretend that all they do is super mega urgent every time, so you get to a point when you eventually ignore them even if the emergency is for real. 

Well, for them every email is more than urgent so they call after hitting send – to make sure you make time to read it now, this instant, no matter what were you doing. If you don’t answer your phone, they will write on whatsapp, sms, and messenger or smoke signals if the office would not be a smoke-free building. 

I am not talking about the real emergencies which are a rare thing – and don’t just come up as a six pack, every day, by noon. If you keep the level of urgency within normal limits when asking for others’ support, you have greater chances to get help when there is actually a need for immediate action. If you are the type of person who always calls saying: “Hey, I need some help with an emergency situation” your so called emergencies will remain unsolved in the long run and you’ll start to be ignored. 

Sometimes the emergency may be caused by your inability to plan efficiently and all of a sudden you’ll try to pass it along to me – this is a thing I choose not to indulge, at least not frequently. If you have a situation, there won’t be any dilemma, as I don’t plan to start the adoption process for it. I simply choose not to, I have my own, thanks. I can teach you to solve your problem, but not do it for you. 

Now, getting back to your emergencies, in case you are so persistent with your calls to action, because I usually don’t respect my deadlines – then the issue is mine, not yours. If you frequently miss out deadlines and those who depend on you were affected by it many times, please don’t be surprised when they show up, every hour, asking if you are done. This may look as if their whole lives are a permanent emergency. This can also occur the other way round, when your colleagues or subordinates need to understand the implications of not keeping the deadline, either an internal one or, even more important, one concerning a customer. 

An emergency creates chaos in your list of chores, which you need to set aside to solve it. If you get a flat tire, solving it becomes a priority for you. It doesn’t help to pretend that driving slowly was the main objective in the first place. 

In order to act now or leave it for later, the first thing is to correctly assess the emergency: is it a puncture in the tire or is it a blowout about to happen?!

What would happen if you change it now or if you still use it although the rubber is worn out… I’m still talking about the tire, don’t worry!

Before accepting an “emergency”, make sure it’s for real. When you tell someone to clear the building because there is a fire, their urge to move as fast as possible becomes quite obvious. 

Good luck succeeding! But make it quick.

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