urgency in businessFirst, an agreement on terms. Urgency is not –

  • blind panic
  • rushing through things without stopping to assess or appreciate.

Urgency is –

  • drive
  • importance
  • necessary for anything to get done.

Urgency is imperative to getting stuff done. Of course, urgency doesn’t need to mean stress or hurry. It simply means you’ve prioritised something as important and are doing it. Not tomorrow. But now.

If you have a desire to do something but time keeps ‘a wastin’ and there’s no progress to show (conversations aren’t progress. They’re procrastination.), then you need urgency.

How to create urgency

The best way I know how to create urgency is by creating a public deadline. Most people are social obligers – which means we’re not intrinsically motivated but socially motivated. In other words, we need to include other people in our intent to do something if we’re to actually get on and do it.

All my significant achievements have happened because I set a deadline and, if it wasn’t a ‘hard’ deadline (like booking a venue and setting a date for a course), then I shared it with people – on my Facebook page, in my Facebook group, or with friends and family. To launch this website, I invited a bunch of close friends to a deadline party to celebrate my new website.

Your deadline is not a stick to thrash yourself with (that’s time consuming) but motivation to follow through. Pick up the pen, phone, project and get on to it!

Finally, a deadline that’s months and months in the future for a task that realistically needs far less time is not a real deadline, but another elaborate procrastination. Stop talking. Get moving.

Urgency to prioritise meaningful work

We need a sense of urgency to prioritise the meaningful work on to do list, over the busy work. The meaningful work tends to be more difficult, more nuanced, more unknown. The busy work is a known quantity, and it’s familiarity makes it far easier to priority.

But we need urgency to start (and finish) the big project.

When you need less urgency

Urgency is far removed from our big city “I’m crazy busy!” default response to “how are you?” Crazy busy mostly indicates that you aren’t great at prioritising your attention and you’re running frantically trying to keep up.

If you’re “crazy busy”, you may well need less urgency, not more. You need to slow down, appreciate how well you’re doing, and possibly (dare I suggest it?) learn how to relax.

How to know if you need less urgency:

  • You’re regularly find yourself reacting and responding to other people’s demands, allowing other people to derail what you planned to do.
  • You have poor sense of boundaries, taking calls from clients and prospects outside the hours that you want to work (such as weekends).
  • You can’t remember the last time you had a proper holiday away from work.
  • The thing that you’ve been telling yourself and others that you really want to do, still isn’t being done.

What needs to be treated as urgent in your business

Regardless of the nature of your business, there are certain things that should be treated as urgent, if you’re to be profitable, organised, efficient, and build your reputation.

These include:

  • Inquires from prospects. Getting back to people in a timely manner demonstrates your enthusiasm for having their business.
  • Inquires from the media. You wouldn’t tell a journalist from the Australian that you couldn’t get back to them with the relevant facts they were seeking to include you in a national-wide publication. Failure to respond promptly means someone gets publicity and reach.
  • Problems: from upset clients to small inefficiencies, the best way to stop bad things becoming worse is by responding promptly. Oftentimes, a potential disaster is an opportunity to make an impact.

Getting better at stress

Being productive, working on big projects or responding promptly to problems doesn’t need to be stressful. Oftentimes, it’s our attitudes and beliefs towards these things that are causing the stress, rather than the work itself.

If you feel like you struggle to properly relax, you’ve turned procrastination into a fine art, or you’re constantly rushing, ‘crazy busy’, from one emergency to the next, then it’s possible that you need to change your attitude to stress. We can work long hours (if we want to or need to) and we can do meaningful work, without stress causing problems.