An ounce vs. a ton

kindling

How much of your time is spent putting out fires? For many of us, it’s way more than we care to admit.

How many little problems do you spot in a typical day that you would fix, if only you didn’t have to run off to another three-alarm blaze?

Now this: how many of those infernos gained their momentum because someone ignored them when they were barely a spark? Or better yet, how many of them were the pile of kindling that we should have just picked up in the first place?

When someone brings a simmering concern to our attention, a frighteningly common reaction is to point to the fire of the day. The implication being, “there’s no time for longer-term thinking — we have to worry about right now!”

A less common approach is to address the little issues that quietly threaten to engulf us tomorrow. Or next week. This is more than just nit-picking. It’s an investment in our ability to be more productive, and proactive, in the future.

The trick is to recognize the pile of kindling before another missed opportunity lies in smoldering ruins.

[Photo: “Kindling” by Madeline Tosh]

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