The Three Problems You'll Face
Any problem you need to solve will fall into one of three categories. Get to work accordingly.
These are urgent problems that must be solved today. If we don't solve these, we won't have a shot at deeper, important work tomorrow. Bills need to be paid, the broken air conditioner must be fixed, and you need to go into work since your sous chef called out. Devote immediate time and energy to these problems and they'll soon go away so real work can be done.
These are important problems that must be solved soon. If we don't solve these, we won't have a shot to scale and grow. The shipping contract needs to be renegotiated, a decision needs to be made about future product launches, and the operations manual needs to be written. Devote strategic and steady time and energy to these problems so you can keep doing the critical work of the business.
These are worthwhile problems that may not be solved in the next decade. But we want to spend time considering and chipping away at them. Diseases need curing, poverty needs ending, and worlds need building. Solving these problems can define a legacy, and not just a news cycle. Devote deliberate and passionate time and energy to these problems and you may just change humanity.
Knowing what kind of time and energy to throw at each problem that lands on our desk ensures that we get to keep doing our work, contributing to society, and creating meaning.
(This post inspired by a great chat with Ryan Gaines a while back, and the work of Plywood People.)