deepstash

Beta

How to fight the "urgency bias" (and work towards long-term goals)

Urgent tasks will always come up

Instead of allowing them to take over your time, make a plan for how you’ll deal with them.

Begin by defining the tasks that demand 100% of your focus and the one that can be dealt with while being interrupted. You want to give your most focused hours to your most important tasks.

249 SAVES


This is a professional note extracted from an online article.

Read more efficiently

Save what inspires you

Remember anything

IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

How to fight the "urgency bias" (and work towards long-term goals)

How to fight the "urgency bias" (and work towards long-term goals)

https://blog.rescuetime.com/fighting-the-urgency-bias/

blog.rescuetime.com

6

Key Ideas

The urgency bias

We usually give priority to unimportant tasks when there is a sense of urgency around them.

We’re actually psychologically wired to put aside important tasks in favor of tasks that feel more urgent. But spending our time taking care of urgent tasks can leave us feeling exhausted and unaccomplished.

Why it’s hard to ignore urgent tasks

A few explanations as to why it’s so hard to reject urgent tasks:

  • The completion bias. Our brains crave the reward we get from checking off small to-dos from our list.
  • Tunnel vision: When we get overwhelmed by the things we have to do, we choose to act on those most available to us; these are usually emails, calls, meetings, and other low-friction tasks.

Urgency puts us into reactive mode

The problem is that we’re continually bombarded with urgent work: emails, meetings, calls, and instead of being in control of our time and attention, we respond and act on someone else’s priorities.

Deep attention vs. hyper attention

  • Deep attention means putting our focus on one task for a long period of time and putting aside other external interruptions.
  • Hyper attention is turning our focus swiftly between different tasks, opting for diverse information streams, and looking for a constant high-level of stimulation.

Make the urgency bias work for you

  • Break your big projects down into simple manageable steps and then set a short deadline for each.
  • Switch from “task urgency” to “time urgency” , to choose what really deserves your attention.
  • Don’t let urgent tasks control the first hour of your day. Set aside blocks of time for emails and meetings so they don’t sneak into your focused time.

Urgent tasks will always come up

Instead of allowing them to take over your time, make a plan for how you’ll deal with them.

Begin by defining the tasks that demand 100% of your focus and the one that can be dealt with while being interrupted. You want to give your most focused hours to your most important tasks.

EXPLORE MORE AROUND THESE TOPICS:

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Make planning a habit
Make planning a habit

Some mornings we feel motivated to create a to-do list, but that is often the exception. We need to get things done, even when we feel disengaged.

Start by setting the alarm for you...

Align your to-do list with goals
  1. Break down your big goals into daily tasks. You can't add "Get in shape" to your daily to-do list, but you can add "spend 30 minutes on my bike."
  2. Consider your week as a whole. You likely have multiple goals. Some goals benefit from daily activity, while working towards others a few times a week can create momentum.
  3. Add your have-to-do tasks last. We often fill our to-do lists with have-to-do tasks that crowd the whole day. Adding it last forces you to fit your have-to-do tasks around your goal tasks.
Have one daily priority

Many of us start our mornings with dozens of things we need to get done, but later realize that we haven't crossed any of them off our lists. We did get stuff done, but none of the things we planned.

A balm against hectic days that pass without progress is to choose a single activity to prioritize and protect in your calendar. If you struggle to select your top priority, ask yourself, when you look back on your day, what do you want the highlight to be? That's your priority.

7 more ideas

Time Debt
Time Debt

The choices we make to ‘borrow’ our personal time to get work done works against us in the long run, just like the money borrowed from a credit card has to be paid back with interest in the future....

Track Your Time

You need to find out just where your time is going currently. You can use a pen and paper, a spreadsheet, or an app to visualize where you spend most of the hours in your day.

Create A Time-Blocking Template
  • Block your time for specific types of work, not individual tasks.
  • Block your time for core work like coding, designing or writing, for shallow work like daily tasks and maintenance, for meetings and emails, and fill it with frequent breaks to replenish yourself.
  • Give yourself space between blocks so that you can decompress and keep your energy levels high.

9 more ideas

Oliver Emberton
"The secret to mastering your time is to systematically focus on importance and suppress urgency."
Oliver Emberton
Important vs. urgent tasks
  • Important tasks are things that contribute to your long-term mission, values, and goals.
  • Urgent tasks are tasks that have to be dealt with immediately: phone calls, urgent deadlines, and situations where you have to respond quickly.

Sometimes important tasks stare you right in the face, but you neglect them and respond to urgent but unimportant things.

Don't be available all the time

Time, not money, is your most valuable asset. Invest your asset:

  • Allocate time to each task you need to get done every day. 
  • Each task of the day should be attainable, realistic, and time-bound. And it should advance your goals for the day, week or month.
  • Don't get distracted by everything others expect you to do.

3 more ideas