Are you addicted to urgency?

Evoke Potential, LLC Newsletter – Vol: 4 – October 2012

Are you addicted to urgency?  How urgency addiction contributes to your stress level and what you can do about it.   

Source: First Things First by Stephen R. Covey

Do you constantly rush from one thing to the next and feel as though your schedule is at the mercy of others – your boss, your team, your customers, your kids, etc.? Do you often multi-task and feel as though there is never enough time to get everything done? Can’t go more than an hour without checking your smartphone? If so, you may have an addiction to urgency.

This month’s newsletter focuses on another concept from Stephen R. Covey because it directly relates to how effective we are in our lives, in our careers, and in the roles we play as leaders, team members, parents, etc.

Urgency addiction refers to the drive to do anything urgent, just to stay in motion. We experience a temporary high from solving urgent crises and actually become physiologically addicted to the adrenaline rush. Our society values being busy and overworked; therefore, the busier we are, the more important we appear to be. When we fall into a pattern of routinely putting what’s urgent ahead of what’s important, it results in a vicious do-loop that we can’t seem to get out of. If we constantly fall prey to what’s urgent, then we don’t have the time to do what matters most in our lives and at work – the things that are meaningful and create opportunities for the future.

Test your urgency level.

All of this depletes our energy and contributes to our stress level. If we neglect important things long enough, they will one day become urgent crises requiring our immediate attention. For example, practicing stress management techniques is important, but not urgent. It can be put off until tomorrow, until eventually stress leads to a life-threatening illness which requires urgent stress management action. The way out of this cycle is to put what’s most important ahead of what’s urgent.

Examples of what’s important:

  • Activities that give meaning to your life and energize you
  • Goals that move you toward your vision of the future (professional and personal)
  • Practices that contribute to your physical health and well-being
  • Actions that add to your financial security
  • Engaging in fulfilling relationships with others (family, friends, team members, etc.)
  • Learning, growing, and acquiring new skills

It takes thought, time, and discipline to identify what’s most important and then plan and take action that moves us closer to these goals. But how much richer and more fulfilling would our lives and careers be if we made the effort? By being clear about what’s most important, we are better able to identify the things that are simply “urgent” and not adding value. Then we can say “no” to them, or at least put them behind the things that are most important.

When we make time for what’s most important, we are living our lives on purpose rather than on auto-pilot, and we have more energy to do the things we want to do. Life is too short to put off what’s most important until tomorrow because tomorrow may never come.

Evoke Potential, LLC can help you…

  • Reduce your urgency addiction.
  • Get clear on your goals for achieving what’s most important.
  • Remove obstacles that may be in the way of your success.
  • Develop an action plan to achieve results.
  • Take focused and consistent action toward achieving your goals.

“Doing more things faster is no substitute for doing the right things.”
– Stephen R. Covey

“Anything less than a conscious commitment to the important is an unconscious commitment to the unimportant.”

– Stephen R. Covey

“It’s easy to say “no!” when there’s a deeper “yes!” burning inside.”
– Stephen R. Covey

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