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Redefining Urgency – Semantics, Definition and Emotional Response

One of our readers, Renay, reached out and asked us the following question, based on our Eisenhower Matrix article.

I wanted to do two things. First would be to thank you for the research into Eisenhower’s actual quote. The actual is so different from what the unverified one is and makes much more sense to me.

Second, I’d like to question the examples you gave in the urgent, not important quadrant… to me, the urgency has embedded within it a sense of importance. Otherwise, it could never really be important. In the examples you gave, I would never call those events urgent. In my mind, something is only urgent when it is important and has consequences. Otherwise, I would just consider it to be something I’d like to do. Can you comment on that and why you imbued those examples with the significance of something urgent.

Alpha Efficiency definition of urgency 

Versailles Gardens

Urgency is defined internally on an individual level. If something is urgent, it means: “not taking action on the problem causes you pain”, and it puts you in a reactive mode. Reactive mode is an emotional response, and typically emotional responses are bad time-management decisions. 

Our definition of urgency is not a semantic or a logical one, but more of a psychological interpretation of what you personally consider an urgency. In our business, we deal with fictional urgencies imposed by clients, and most of the time, they don’t translate into real-world urgencies. Urgency is an emotional response to a problem that invokes a reaction that pushes all other tasks sideways and throws you out of focus.

People are inherently terrible at distinguishing what is urgent and what is not; thus, when discussing urgency, we like to focus on the emotion rather than the reality of the situation. This becomes even more obvious when you see how many people procrastinate on true urgencies while focusing on things that don’t matter.

I hope it answers your question, Renay. Thank you for getting in touch with us.

Brian Djordjevic
About The Author

Brian Dordevic

Brian is Marketing Strategic Planner with a passion for all things digital. Feel free to follow him on Twitter or schedule a consultation call with him.

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