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Trusted Advisors has a Sense of Urgency

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The most successful people in the world have their own personal battles. They also have unhelpful beliefs, dreadful habits and conflicting goals and values. Their lives are far from perfect. However, despite these issues, they still find a way to accomplish their goals and objectives. How do they do this? Well for starters they don’t make any excuses about their life or circumstances. And secondly, they live daily with a sense of urgency. This sense of urgency forces them to work harder and smarter throughout the day. This leads to steady progress and improvement over the course of a week, month and year, up until the point they achieve their desired outcomes.

Without urgency, there is no motivation — there is nothing forcing you to get up early in the morning to pursue your goals, and there is certainly nothing enticing you to stay up late when tasks haven’t yet been completed. You’re simply too comfortable where you are in your life at the moment, and this is preventing you from moving forward.

To begin living with a sense of urgency it’s important to understand how it originates and manifests in people’s lives. Well, there are actually two ways a sense of urgency can be created. One way is forced upon you by external events, people and circumstances, and the other way is created from within.

Here is a very blunt example of the first way that urgency is created. Just imagine for a moment a mafia boss kidnapped you and made all these threats against you and your family. He mentions that the only way to ensure everyone’s safety is for you to attain your goals by a certain date. Immediately this creates a sense of urgency and forces you to take the necessary action steps to attain your desired outcomes — does it not?

The second way urgency is created comes from within. Here you create either a real or imagined sense of urgency that spurs you on towards your desired outcomes. It doesn’t really matter how you end up convincing yourself to take urgent action in pursuit of your goals, as long as it creates within you a strong desire to attack your goals with purpose and get things done intelligently and quickly.

Be Present in the Here and Now

In order to create a sense of urgency, you must be fully present in the moment. Urgency only exists at the moment. Obsessively thinking about the future will only manifest in anxiety and worry — which could paralyze you and lead to procrastination. Remaining in the present will help you to focus fully on the task at hand to get the job done in the most effective and efficient means possible. This of course doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t think about the future. Taking future deadlines into consideration is very important when it comes to creating a sense of urgency, however, what’s important is that you don’t obsess over your future, but instead stay present in order to create a sense of urgency at the moment.

Prioritize and Focus

Urgency also requires a proactive approach to your tasks and projects. Being proactive means that you are constantly thinking a few steps ahead to identify what needs to get done. Being proactive also means that you are focusing on your highest priority activities — these are the 20 percent of activities that will get you 80 percent of the results.

Discipline is also required to create a sense of urgency. Discipline is important because it keeps you focused and on-task no matter how many distractions and obstacles you need to fight through in order to get to your desired objective.

Be Positively Determined

Finally, to create a sense of urgency you need to combine optimism with determination to get your tasks and projects completed. Optimism will keep you motivated when things get difficult, and determination will help you wade through the difficulties that you will inevitably face along your journey.

Without all these habits of mind, you will struggle to create a lasting sense of urgency in your life.

Make (and keep) Deadlines

Highly productive people take the time to think, plan and set priorities. They then launch quickly and strongly toward their goals and objectives. They work steadily, smoothly and continuously and seem to go through enormous amounts of work in the same time period that the average person spends socializing, wasting time and working on low-value activities

Deadlines need not apply only to business-related tasks. You can and should set deadlines for anything you wish to accomplish. For example, you’ve been meaning to organize a yard sale to clear out the clutter, but everything else seems to take priority. Give yourself a deadline for when you’ll sort what you’re going to sell, mark the items with prices and begin advertising the event. Each deadline breaks the task into more manageable parts and provides accountability for when they must be completed to keep the ball rolling. Don’t look at them as “arbitrary” deadlines either. Develop a sense of urgency for completing these tasks and respect the deadline as you would a deadline was given to you by your boss.

Develop a “Do it now!” Mentality

With this ingrained sense of urgency, you develop a “bias for action.” You take action rather than talking continually about what you are going to do. You focus on specific steps you can take immediately. By employing this technique, you concentrate on the things you can do right now to get the results you want and achieve the goals you desire.

Some tasks don’t require deadlines—because they can be done right now. If you see something that can be done, do it while you have the time. Don’t put it on a fictitious to-do list you’ll never look at anyways. It’s a mind game, but when you continue to put off a difficult or undesirable task, it only continues to grow bigger and bigger until it seems impossible to complete. Don’t give yourself the time to turn a molehill into a mountain. Develop a sense of urgency and conquer tasks as soon as they come in, whenever possible. The “high” you’ll get from getting things accomplished will energize you to continue knocking more tasks off your list and soon you’re snowballing in the right direction.

Eliminate Unnecessary Activities

The one thing that will immediately rob you of a sense of urgency is the process of bogging yourself down with tedious and unnecessary tasks that slow down the momentum you’ve been working so hard to create. It is therefore important to identify these tasks and eliminate, delegate or outsource them wherever possible.

Of course, there is no avoiding some tasks. They may be tedious; however, they’ve got to be done. And if you can’t eliminate them or find someone else to do them, then you’re left with no option but to do them yourself. This is not an ideal scenario, however, it’s one you need to accept and embrace wholeheartedly. Therefore, instead of reluctantly undertaking these tasks, turn these tasks into challenges and games, or set time limits to help you create a false sense of urgency.

In Summary