It is important not to feel under pressure to dance to someone else’s tune. For example, something seen as urgent by someone else does not necessarily mean you have to change your own priorities to accommodate it. This does not mean that we should not help people who need something doing urgently, but it does mean that the fact that something is urgent for somebody else should not be allowed to distort your own priorities. Sadly I have come across many situations where Person A has something urgent (but not especially important) that they want Person B to do and, when Person B does it, the result is that something much more important from Person B’s own to do list does not get done – often with more serious consequences than if Person A’s task had not been done. By all means take requests for urgent help seriously, but don’t make the mistake of assuming that you have to oblige if that means you are creating potentially worse problems than you are solving.
Over the years I have come across many decisions that have proven after the event to have been unwise of misguided. There is no single reason for this, but a common theme has been people making decisions without having the information they need. Often what happens is that there is pressure to make a decision quickly and this can lead people into moving forward with their plans too soon because key elements of information were not available at the time the decision was made. So, in making any decision we have to be clear about which is wiser: deciding now without that information and risking getting it wrong, or take the time to find out – thereby making a much sounder decision – but risking causing problems associated with the delay involved. Unless there are reasons why we need to make the decision very soon, it is generally wiser to get the information we need before deciding on our course of action.