Originally Posted by Making it Work p40
The mind is a terrible office. The most obvious priorities in your mental stacks tend to be whatever is latest (most recent input) and loudest (most emotionally charged content). There is a chance on a given afternoon that you will give as much mental real estate to 'buy bread' as you will to 'buy building.' Probably more, because you're afraid of the consequences of forgetting to pick up the bread when you get home.
Sometimes, this can be a timesaver. I've spent time on projects only to have the projects taken away by a change in direction, change in technology or change of input. Suddenly, the project is no longer valid. If I had waited until the project was a burning fire, and the project is cancelled, then I didn't waist time working on a project that is no longer around.
Irate customers are another example of paying attention to the loudest rudest fire to put it out. I've experienced being in line and the loudest obnoxious rudest person is taken care of first just to shut them up. The whining squeaky wheel is listened to and pacified just to shut them up. I imagine it's the same temptation with raising children. Give in to the whining child so they will stop whining.
The wisdom of deciding what to focus on is to know when to focus on an immediate task in front of you, and when to ignore it.