At work, you can be reactive or intentional.
When you are reactive, you drop everything you are doing every time a new urgency comes in. You are stuck in a spiral of novelty and unfinished work. You feel powerless and you often end your days with the overwhelming impression of not having accomplished anything important.
When you are intentional, you respond to a new urgency with a deep breath. You finish the work you are doing, or at the very least make sure that you have a solid plan to finish it or to delegate it to someone else. You take out your plan and you check how the urgency can fit. You say no. You feel in control and you often end your days with the priceless recognition of being done.
The reactive mode is fascinating, because it gives us (and others) the illusion of being relevant, important, busy. It’s what most people call “good job!”. Of course, in reactive mode nothing ever changes, and in the long term you are simply drained.
The intentional mode is a choice. It might go unnoticed for a while, because you are not waving your arms in the face of everyone. And of course, in intentional mode you can affect real change.
To understand your default mode, take note of what happens next time your boss calls with a new thing to do.
Then, make the choice.