Member Update: A Cure for Urgency

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When you look at your to-do list, there are tasks on there that are urgent and there are tasks that are important.

The urgent tasks are loud and a bit rowdy. They demand attention. While the important tasks are quite polite. They’re very patient. And they will wait in the wings forever if you never call them forward.

If you’ve already encountered the idea of categorizing your tasks as either urgent or important, then you’ve probably also learned that you have to prioritize the important tasks… give them their due. That’s how you make progress on the things that really matter to you.

But the urgent tasks will create their own set of problems if you ignore them for too long.

And sometimes life throws a bunch of urgent things at you at once. And sometimes, those urgent things are also important.

Here’s the problem — your own goals — landing new clients, planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip, signing up for a new class you want to take, building a passive income stream, or writing a book or poetry — there’s no one to make those urgent… other than you.

So what do you do when the urgent tasks are mounting up and crowding out those painfully polite important tasks?

First, let’s start by acknowledging that it’s a hard situation. It’s hard to focus on an urgency-free, important task when the urgent tasks are clamoring for your attention. I picture two people playing chess while surrounded by a frenzied crowd of stock market brokers, or a mother trying to frost a delicate cake while her two toddlers and their six friends beg her for eight different things at once… none of them completely frivolous, either.

Not easy to keep your focus.

But if you want to achieve that big dream — whatever it is — you have to find a way to shut out the din of the urgent things on your list and spend a little time on the important ones.

Here’s the method I’ve found to work:

  • Block one hour of time during each day for working on your most important, non-urgent goal.
  • Get to know what works best for you. Try putting this hour first thing in the morning. Try putting it first thing after lunch. Try making it the last hour of your day. Or the hour before you go to bed. Discover what time of day you focus best.
  • Choose a spot where you spend this hour. It could be at your desk, or it could be in a different place from where you normally work.
  • Get a bright shirt, scarf, wristband, or hat. Tell your family or housemates, when they see you wearing that, they cannot speak to you.
  • Spend the first five minutes of the hour setting an intention and visualizing how it will go. Imagine distracting thoughts creeping in and you shooing them away.

I’ve found that my to-do list is never so crowded with urgent tasks that I can’t implement this hour. But I’ve also found that it often feels like it is. When I force myself to stick with this pattern for a week or two, it gets easier and easier to believe the world won’t end if I step away from putting out fires for a bit.

Give it a try to see if it works for you.

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That’s all for now. Make it a great week!

 

 

Heather Robson

Heather Robson

Managing editor of Wealthy Web Writer, Heather has over ten years of content marketing and development experience.

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