As busy IT pros, we all fight fires daily; some big and some small. A critical server might lose connectivity with a database at 10AM on a Tuesday for some unknown reason, an important user *ahem executive* may go off the handle when his email won't download quick enough, a coworker forgets to tell you you're supposed to do XYZ software upgrade on SUPERIMPORTANTSERVER before they can roll BLOATEDSOFTWARE v2.0 to production in 8 hours during the maintenance window and the list goes on and on.

Putting on our firefighter hat is a fact of life sometimes. �Things will break and something, depending on the size of your organization, will break at least daily that you have to fix. �It sucks when you're called at 2AM because a server went down. �God knows, I know. No one likes fires.

I've been a productivity geek for a long time and on the Urgent/Important Matrix, fires are definitely always considered Urgent and Important. �Properly prioritizing your time always has been to first take care of the urgent/important tasks first so it makes sense for you to be constantly fighting fires, right? �They are urgent AND important for God's sake! Sound the alarms! �A lot of IT pros just expect them to be there.

Have you ever thought if it'd be possible to have a single fire once a week, once a month or less? �Seems impossible, right? Are you and your IT organization constantly striving to get this way or are you just rolling with the punches? �If you're just treading water, you must realize it's your mission to prevent these fires; not just put them out! �You'll always have important tasks to do but with enough concerted effort, you can typically greatly reduce the urgency to allow you to actually..I don't know..do the urgent tasks well instead of applying duct tape.

Remember, the next time someone comes to you with a fire do everything in your power to withstand the immediate pressure for a future reward. Don't just patch the leak; patch the leak first then, when the pressure off refuse to go onto something else choosing to find out what causes the leak in the first place. �With enough people doing this I promise that, in the long run, your business will thank you.

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