Important vs Urgent & the Best Time to Plant an Apple Tree

Lore has it that Abraham Lincoln said:

“If you give me 6 hours to cut down a tree, I’ll spend the first five sharpening my axe”.

A different way to say it:

Dig the well before you get thirsty.

Or: The best time to plant an apple tree is 20 years ago.

The next best time is right now.

I don’t know if ole’ Abe actually said that.

Albert Einstein famously said:

“I wish people on the internet would stop misquoting me”, so hey.

Anyway, here’s something I want you to ponder this weekend:

The difference between urgent things and important things.

It’s real easy to get mired in completing urgent tasks.

Emails to answer, calls to make, bills to pay and taxes to file and what have you.

But if you keep yourself busy with urgent tasks, there’s a real risk that you never get to the important things.

You know, those tasks that actually move the needle for your art business.

For example, building your list.

That hardly looks urgent, right?

Better to urgently finish a commission and get paid. Right?


But if that goes at the cost of well-digging, axe-sharpening or tree-planting, what are you going to do when you get thirsty, hungry, or cold?

Then you’ll realise that you should have planted that dang tree years ago.

How do I know?

Because I’m the same.

Always urgent things to do.

And very often, leaving the truly important things for later.

And later, well that never comes.

Which is why, for example, my list is only growing very slowly.

But, there’s a solution.

You can make progress on important things, while also taking care of the urgent.

For me, that means creating ebooks out of all the articles I’ve written.

They’ll go on Kindle and Nook and Kobo, and they will be part of my traffic strategy.

And the art marketing expert interviews, those will help too.

Would be great if I could dedicate an entire month to it, but I have too much work to set apart that much time.

So, I make sure that each day I commit small blocks of time to it.

That way, there’s progress on the really important stuff.

You can do the same for yourself:

As in: reserving an hour each day, or even 30 minutes, for your marketing.

If you don’t, it’ll be hard to make progress towards success.

But if you do, it all adds up after a few months.

For me, the 20 or 30 minutes a day I spend writing these emails, that’s built up into over 500 articles.

I can publish ebooks until the cows come home, and it barely took any time at all – 20 minutes is nothing in a day.

And not only that, those emails get me sales as well.

So whatever is truly important in your business, make sure you reserve time for it.

And daily emails might not be a bad idea… even Ana Hoffman agreed that email marketing is the best way to go.

Want help and learning and training, for your daily (or weekly) email writing?

Hokay. Get that help here –>



I help nice people sell more

Sign up for daily ethical selling emails and get a bonus of my free e-book, 10 Rules for Ethical Selling.

Get the FREE eBook...
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy


Martin helped our co-working space get to full occupancy and $25.000 monthly revenue in less than a year.

~ Antonio Herrezuelo,
Avenida Capital

Looking to increase your sales as well as your impact?

Then maybe we should talk

get the book

…and sell the way nice people do

Get the FREE eBook...
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

get the book

and discover how to sell the way nice people do

You’ll also receive a short daily email on ethical selling and business growth.

Get the FREE eBook...
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy