President Dwight Eisenhower is famous for making the distinction between “urgent” and “important” tasks. He contends that if we let them, the “urgent” things will keep us from doing what is truly “important.” While President Eisenhower was talking mostly about organizational/presidential leadership, I think this concept can also apply to how we spend our time day-to-day as caregivers. Things like shopping for groceries, cleaning the house, bathing, etc. are all somewhat urgent, in that they are often tasks that need to be accomplished by caregivers during their shift. However, our caregivers at Homewatch CareGivers (HWCG) of Crystal Lake, are committed to making sure that these matters of urgency never overtake matters of true importance.
Earlier this week, I wrote about why empathy is the most important trait of a good caregiver, and that trait is where the truly impactful and life-altering work is done. Yes, the daily tasks and physical help our caregivers provide is central and vital to their work, but the mission of HWCG of Crystal Lake is about much more than just the mechanics of care; it is about connection with clients. This type of connection requires empathy, and an attention to what is truly important in the midst of what can feel urgent. Attention to importance looks like a caregiver who takes the time to simply play a game with or listen to a client. Attention to importance looks like our Client Care Coordinator Vivian who takes the extra time to make sure the match between client and caregiver is optimal. Attention to importance looks like the business owners Alan and Tamera spending their Christmas Eve serving a special dinner to local veterans and older adults who don’t have families close by to spend the holidays with them. Attention to importance looks like Client Care Manager Melissa who spent her weekend collecting and delivering furniture to a client who was in need. Attention to importance means no matter what official role someone holds at HWCG of Crystal Lake, they are always prioritizing people over tasks.
Truly wise words are remembered because they speak beyond the singular context of the speaker, and President Eisenhower’s words are an excellent example of truly wise words. No matter if you’re a caregiver, business owner, staff member, or stay-at-home parent, the attention you give to the important things in life in the midst of all the urgency of our world makes all the difference to the people in your life. It takes great attention to prioritize importance over urgency, but it’s also what allows us to maintain meaningful, authentic relationships with those we love and that’s what we at HWCG of Crystal Lake seek to do.