I was speaking with a friend recently who remarked that he spent all of his time in reactive mode, constantly responding to problems, challenges and interruptions that were just a normal part of his day. He rarely gets time to do his "real" work, and instead bounces from problem to problem, or circumstance to circumstance, with little control and a lot of frustration.
I think most of us are in this boat. We've become accustomed to, and even welcoming of, interruptions, meetings, problems and so forth that keep us busy and preoccupied but don't necessarily lead to the outcomes we had hoped for at the start of the day or week. Typically it seems more important to be busy than be working on the important stuff. Maybe that's a corollary to the old saying that it's better to be lucky that right.
Now, this is not some "Hello Kitty" management pablum about not sweating the small stuff. The small stuff matters, but not in the way we make it appear. Doing good work, regardless of its scope, creates the circumstance that we gain credibility and authority. By doing the small stuff well, we gain the right to do the big stuff well. So, rather than answer every problem or take up every challenge or solve every dispute, go close your door. Put up a sign on the door that says "Gone Thinking" or something else like that, and spend a hour or so every day actually doing what you are paid to do - use the deeper cortexes to actually create something new or novel, or look at a problem in a completely different way.
Unless I miss my guess, most of us would call ourselves "knowledge workers" not dispute managers or small crisis wranglers. We are supposed to be creating and using knowledge, not wrestling with small problems not of our own creation or design. I recognize this is a manifesto calling for a change in the way we work - but that's OK. Knowledge workers unite, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by using the one tool only you control. Your brain.
Stop reacting. Start thinking.