A Sense of Urgency

A well-documented, common trait of highly successful people is a strong “sense of urgency”.  An atmosphere of urgency creates an atmosphere of achievement – as they say.

This is not the same as being stressed out and hectic.  A sense of urgency is about respect – respect for your own time, respect for the time of others around your and for your customers.   We live in a competitive world.  If your business does not act with a sense of urgency, your competitors will.  If you do not work with a sense of urgency, your co-workers will.

“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”  – Leonardo da Vinci

Urgency is not about speed it is about responsiveness.

Here’s a few things that you can do to help develop your own sense of urgency:

Walk faster.

I still remember a session I attended at University about achievement and success.  Developing a sense of urgency was a large part of the session and the speaker recommended walking 10% faster than the people around you.  Successful people walk faster, talk faster and move faster than other people he said.  It sounds a bit silly now, but I did find that walking faster got me moving, gave me a sense of mission and I believe improved my overall sense of urgency in all aspects of my life.

Embrace a “do it now” attitude

Procrastination is avoidance and can be construed as a passive aggressive trait – you don’t want that right?  Learn the principles of Getting Things Done (GTD) and how to distinguish between what you should do now from what you can defer.  But there is nothing more frustrating that having to chase someone (partner, employee, vendor, customer) for something that was promised.  And there is nothing more satisfying than accomplishing what you set out to do in a day.

Respond more quickly than expected

Have you ever been pleasantly surprised when someone delivered ahead of schedule?  How impressed were you?  How amazing is it when people exceed your expectations.  Be one of these people.  “Under-promise and over-deliver” as the saying goes.  Let your actions, not your words, speak for you.  This is about responsiveness and not necessarily speed.

Get it done on time, if not before

Nothing creates a sense of urgency like a deadline.  We all do our best work when a deadline is looming.  So start to set challenging deadlines – don’t be unrealistic, but challenge yourself.  These more challenging deadlines will inspire, motivate and give you so much pleasure when you achieve them.  Respect deadlines.

Refuse to make excuses

Be accountable and don’t let yourself off the hook.  If you are willing to make excuses and forgive your lack of achievement, deadlines being missed, etc then you will never develop this sense of urgency.  If nothing matters, then why do anything now, faster, on-time or in a more responsive way?  Why try?  Stop making excuses for your lack of achievement – developing a sense of urgency needs to become part of your character and this starts with becoming more accountable.

Success and achievement starts with developing a strong sense of urgency.  This attribute will help you become more productive – not by doing more work, but by learning to prioritise that work.  Think of a sense of urgency as the high octane fuel for your inner drive – it motivates and moves you forward – and not against others, but in a race against yourself.


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