• Bill Petrie

The Tyranny of Urgent

Are you too responsive?

It’s very common succumb to the pull of business tasks that feel both immediate and essential:

  • The email that you just received from a client

  • The text that just popped up on your phone

  • The coworker that dropped by to ask for help on a project

  • The proof that arrived from a trusted supplier

As a society, we have been trained that we must respond to every input as quickly as possible or we might just get left behind. However, the problem with that feeling of urgency is that it completely undermines the ability to truly be productive. Anyone who has left their office - home or in person - exhausted at the end of a busy day, yet knowing that nothing important was accomplished understands this fallacy all too well.

This is the tyranny of the urgent and is not only rapidly destroying your attention span, but your ability to produce quality work as well.

The way out of the tyranny of the urgent is simple to understand but difficult to implement: focus on one task at a time. For example, instead of keeping your email client on all the time, check it once an hour. Take the seven minutes it will take to respond, file, or delete messages and go back to the task at hand – preferably one that is revenue generating.

If a task is important, give it the respect it deserves by placing your entire focus on it. By not succumbing to the tyranny of the urgent, the quality and quantity of your work will be dramatically improved.

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