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Kill Your To-Do List With a Sense of Urgency

Kill Your To-Do List With a Sense of Urgency

One of my former managers used to zip through the hallways of our office building like she was trying to catch a bus.

Everything was urgent, and there was only one way to get to the next meeting or appointment—fast!

I’m a speed walker too, but only on the treadmill. The rest of the time, I’m a little pokey. I tend to mosey from one project to the next like a drunken cowboy.

I used to think people who displayed a sense of urgency were uptight. They made me feel really anxious!

What’s the rush? Where’s the fire? Stop and smell the roses and all that hippie stuff.

That kind of relaxed attitude is fine when on vacation, but my laid-back approach was ensuring that I never crossed off more than a couple items on my to-do list every day.

If I wanted to get ahead, I needed a better strategy.

As I’ve gotten older (and stopped acting like a teenage slacker), I’ve come to appreciate going about my days with a sense of urgency.

I map out what I want to get done that day the night before, and I estimate how long it will take to complete each project. Maybe 20 minutes for cleaning up my email inbox. Maybe 60 minutes for my marketing work.

By giving myself specific time frames for each project, I keep that sense of urgency all day. I’m racing the clock the entire time.

You’ve heard that the amount of time a particular task requires is the amount of time you give it.

If you give yourself 2 days to finish something, you’ll take 2 days. But if you only give yourself an hour, you’ll finish it in an hour.

I was floored when I realized that I can work much faster than I thought possible by simply giving myself a short deadline. Some days I’m like the Flash after 3 espressos—nothing can slow me down!

A sense of urgency doesn’t mean you fill every waking second of your life with busy-ness. It means you attack each of your tasks, meetings, and projects with a sense of purpose.

Are you excited to dive into your work? Are you ready to kill your to-do list and really GET STUFF DONE?

There’s no time to waste—get going and find your sense of urgency!

Do you proceed with a sense of urgency?

10 Comments

  1. Sarah @ This Is What I Eat on February 27, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    It’s funny, I fluctuate between super productive and total slacker. If I know I have a few hours in the morning to get my to do list done I can power through and do it. Then there are some days where I’m like, eh I should do this but I won’t, lol! I’m usually pretty good at getting things done though.. being a virgo and all 😉



    • Sage Grayson on February 27, 2013 at 6:47 pm

      I’d say I have more productive days than slacker days, but I have to work at it and really focus to get things done.



  2. Emily on February 27, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    That’s something to think about. I just recently started setting a timer on my phone for certain tasks, like cleaning and getting ready in the morning. It gives me a sense of urgency and I really do get things done faster. Now I’m thinking I should try setting timers for more tasks and see if I get more done!



    • Sage Grayson on February 27, 2013 at 6:46 pm

      I think I might write a post about different ways to use a timer. I use the timer on my phone a lot to keep me on task.



  3. Shybiker on February 27, 2013 at 5:55 am

    Good advice. My work is so overflowing with time-limited demands that I’d drown if I hadn’t developed effective time-management skills. I like the expression: “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.”



    • Sage Grayson on February 27, 2013 at 9:57 am

      Oooh, that’s a good expression! Busy people really know how to get stuff done.



  4. H&K Style Journey on February 27, 2013 at 5:05 am

    Oh, I definitely want to kill my to do list. That means I have more time for fun stuff! Heather



    • Sage Grayson on February 27, 2013 at 9:58 am

      Yes! I hate procrastinating and leaving things until the last minute because it means I won’t have time for the things I really want to do.



  5. Molly on February 27, 2013 at 3:59 am

    I am ready! I’ve never really been a slacker and have had the opposite problem where I get way overwound from having to get things done. Now I have a pretty good balance and feel at peace with my to do list. 🙂



    • Sage Grayson on February 27, 2013 at 10:00 am

      I can tell you’re the type of person who gets stuff done, Molly. Finding a balance between overwhelm and just the right amount of urgency is key. I’m getting better at it.