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How to avoid the Urgency Trap

The what now?

Let's look at a definition of "Urgency Trap" 👇

Focusing on tasks that are urgent but aren't necessarily important. One's attention is often better spent on important tasks that aren't urgent.

So in order to avoid the urgency trap, we need to take time for things that aren't urgent but important.

For that to happen we need to Schedule.


Why?

Tasks that aren't urgent but are important most of the time have some interesting characteristics.

Doing them will have a compounding effect over time, that's why they're considered important but they are also easy to defer infinitely because they're not urgent.

Example

I've always wanted to look at next.js to see why people are raving about it and to compare it to something like Create React App and decide if it was the right tool for our use case.

It took me almost 6! months to make time to do this, but now we use it for every project and with every minute spent on this we gain 10 fold in productivity.

The problem was I had to take 1-2 days out of my urgent task schedule to tackle this.

You have to sacrifice the short term, to succeed in the long term. But it will be worth it.


What can you do?

Take some time every week to plan out the next week.

One technique I picked up by reading 7 Habits of highly effective people is to look at my life and all the "Roles" I have and schedule 1-3 tasks for each every week.

The Roles are simply all the parts of your life expressed as a noun. For example, I have:

  • Me (Personal Growth)
  • Employee (Work)
  • Indie Hacker (Side Hustles)
  • Friend (Friends)
  • Son/Brother (Family)
  • Spouse (Relationship)

This should give you a nice balance and by scheduling things out over the week you force yourself to prioritize things that aren't urgent.

You want your schedule distribution to look somewhat like this 👇


Image From here

The Eisenhower Matrix is a great way to determine what quadrants your tasks fall into, but I will keep that for another post (lmk if this is interesting to you.)

Then "all" you have to do is go after it, try to stick to the schedule, and defend your time windows for what you have planned, this is the hardest part because urgent stuff will try to pull you away but this is also the most important.


You

Do you have a different way of getting things done that are urgent but not important?
Have you tried this process and it did or didn't work for you?

Let me know in the comments ❤️

Me

I've been doing this every week on Sunday afternoon and it's changed my life for the better.

I used to be somewhat of a workaholic wearing being busy with work with a "badge of honor" (it's not) and while that has gotten better over the years I still need to actively force myself to take time for other things and to simply live a little.

Now I celebrate just watching a movie with my Girlfriend or reading a book knowing that my short-term investment into a healthy relationship and my growth as a person will pay out tenfold in the long run.


Ads are getting smarter 😳

I actually like it so much that I made a tool for this that we're currently validating if we should put in more time, so if this process sounds like it makes sense to you feel free to sign up for launch notifications here

  1. 1

    Looks like we have similar ideas, I'm building something similar at https://getartemis.app

    1. 1

      Looks good, good luck 🤙

  2. 1

    Such a beautiful and easy to understand and apply framework! Thanks for sharing such a compelling article.
    I would only add that if you eventually end up finding yourself in a situation that you need to do something urgent, to manage the anxiety and the stress that come along with it in a less emotional way.
    Accept that sometimes things will not go your way and you'd have to work on something that is not necessarily your priority, and once that is done, than you can go back to your schedule.

    1. 1

      Such a beautiful and easy to understand and apply framework!

      I can't take credit for it but thank you 🤙

      Accept that sometimes things will not go your way and you'd have to work on something that is not necessarily your priority, and once that is done, than you can go back to your schedule.

      Right, this will always happen because urgent matters are powerful distractions (because urgent 😳) but maybe you can try to at least segment between urgent + important and urgent + not important and at try to drop the unimportant ones.

      That combined with inflection points during the day that will help you take a second to breathe (lunch and dinner maybe 🤔) and see how you can get back to your schedule are pretty powerful.

    2. 1

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