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Why Do You Feel the Need to Rush? Understanding and Overcoming the Syndrome of Urgency

Updated: May 2


Syndrome of Urgency

Have you ever heard yourself saying: I need to get this done now! The deadline for the project was yesterday! Gosh, there are so many things to get to, and no time!


It is not that you have a lot of things on your plate, it is that all of them seem to be urgent! And because everything seems to be urgent, you respond to whatever screams the loudest. And when the end of the day comes, you don’t remember what you did or why, worrying that something important got missed and that you planned your day to go a different way.


Living in a state of urgency can be deadly.


Not only to our health, both mental and physical but also to our dreams, relationships, and quality of life. And that is why in today’s blog post I talk about what a syndrome of urgency is and what to do to stop it. In addition, I created this free downloadable workbook Own You Week to make sure you don’t let the urgency take over your day!



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Is It Really Urgent?

The Webster dictionary (I know, I can’t believe I’m saying that!) defines urgent as ‘calling for immediate attention’. And I like this definition because it is open for us to add what is calling for that immediate attention.


We live in a productivity-obsessed world, where we are expected to have it all, be all, do all. To be able to meet the demands, we need to attend to all. And how can we do it?


Well, by making everything we do urgent.


Urgent has become a synonym for an emergency. But if you think about an ER, not everything is urgent even there. If a patient with a broken leg shows up and a patient who has a heart attack, the heart attack patient will be looked after first.


Not because of some cruelty, but because the common sense of life and death rule applies.


When you live in a state of urgency, you are very reactive. You are reacting to everything that is happening in your life, without the conscious pause to see if what is requested of you makes much sense. But when you are reactive, you don’t use your time and energy efficiently.


You jump into the whirlpool of tasks without thinking if the outcome is what you want.


I believe it is not a question if something is urgent, but if it is urgent to you. And you can only know if something is urgent if you stand firmly on the ground and know what matters to you most. The distinction of why this is urgent to me can quickly become the decision-maker of what is truly urgent and what is posing as urgent.


Our lives are not slowing down. There is more and more demand for our focus and attention, so there will be more tasks and chores competing for their place on our to-do list. And travelling at a neck-breaking speed of the syndrome of urgency is simply not sustainable.


Here are three ways to address it.



1. Define It


First of all, you need to create your definition of urgent. Otherwise, you will be attending to everything based on a broad understanding of what urgent is. And not everything should be put in the same basket.


Yes, certain things will be urgent and will require your immediate attention, but a lot of other tasks are there because somebody else added them to your list.


By creating your own definition of urgent, each time you are pressured, you check if it matches, and you can act accordingly. I would suggest you make your definition specific, so there are no open windows for free interpretation.


2. Prioritize It

Everything may seem urgent, but if you look at it, not everything is. There are things that are more urgent than others. Most likely you have been reactive to day events for so long that you lost touch with how to prioritize what matters to you.


Use your new definition of what urgent means to you and start prioritizing. What is truly important to you? What needs to be done by you? What can be outsourced? Where do you need to say no?


Things may come up for you. It may be that you have some value setting to do. See what aligns with how you want to show up today so you know what to prioritize from the pile of tasks.



3. Ask For Help

Not many of us like asking for help. I put my hand up here as probably one of the hardest things for me to do is ask for help. There could be many reasons why asking for help is a struggle.


It could be that somewhere in our childhood, we were told that only weak people ask for help. But I know you know better. It not only wasn’t true, but it also showed that people who taught us that, didn’t know how to ask for help either.


On the contrary, asking for help is a sign of strength. But above all is a sign of vulnerability, and probably that is why we don’t want to do it.


However, if you are drowning with a never-ending to-do list, can’t catch your breath, and feel your health and well-being are being compromised, it is time to ask for some assistance.


You can start with small tasks and build on them. Go back to your definition of urgent. What can you delegate?



Overcome the Syndrome of Urgency

Living in a state of urgency is very common to so many of us. However, in the long term, this way of living is not sustainable. The world may be telling us that everything is urgent, but that does not mean that it is.


Define what urgent truly means to you. Why something is urgent for you and not for somebody else?


If you still find that all seems to be urgent, prioritize your tasks. Again, tap into your why, what matters to you, and your values. Are they all aligned? Then what is a priority out of all those urgent tasks?


And if things get out of control, ask for help. Asking somebody to give you a helping hand is no sign of weakness. It is a sign of strength. You may feel uncomfortable because you show your vulnerability. But the cost of your health and wellness is going to be much greater.



Don’t let the urgency take over your day, grab your free downloadable workbook Own You Week HERE.


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