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How to Use A Sense Of Urgency To Help You Act Upon Your Goals

Updated: Jan 5

A sound productivity advice from an unlikely source.



A digital image of a girl sliding down with clocks and notes flying around showing a sense of urgency to deal with procrastination

The Procrastination Dilemma

"You are your worst enemy. You waste precious time dreaming of the future instead of engaging in the present." - Robert Greene, 33 Strategies Of War

I will do it later.


How often do you utter this phrase?


But the question begs: later when and why?


Why would you want to postpone anything?


Often the reason hides behind our dear friend procrastination, our its mate perfectionism. It is better to do nothing than do something to an ok-ish quality? Right? Not really.


If we always wait to do something perfectly, 100%, ideally, you name it. The chances are we will never, ever accomplish anything.


I have been suffering with 'I will do it later' syndrome for years. Until I started writing this blog and started trying different tips and techniques on myself.


Building a Procrastination Toolbox

I am not going to lie to you and say that I keeo on using every single method I write about in my blog and on my Medium account. No. Far from it. I try them all, but some of them - stay with me for a while, while others, I use once and forget about them the next day. It all depends how suited we are to each other those strategies and me. But the thing is, that now I have this magical toolbox of tips and ideas - I procrastinate less. Or rather, whenever I procrastinate I see it as an opportunity to try something new out. Especially if I need to accoplish something quickly. Nothing like a sense of urgency to push me along.


A Sense of Urgency: Death-Ground Strategy

My most recent inspiration came from an unlikelyl source. I was reading Robert Greene's The 33 Strategies Of War and one of it suggestions was that we create a sense of urgency and desperation to achieve our goals. Or also known as death-ground strategy. That's exactly what I needed!


The Process

The thing is, that we often feel rather lost when we have too many options, too many opportunities and ideas. Sound like me, alright. I sturuggle with too many ideas, never know how to proceed and which one to choose. Robert Greene says that our freedom is a burden. We need to eliminate it. So the solution is a warfare strategy known as the death ground, where you must act or face dire consequences.


No one is facing real death. But saying that, death is an excellent motivator. If you know your time is nearly up, you might do things you've been postponing for a while.


The Psychology of Urgency

But we'll use psychology to explain this phenomenon. Here, we are intentionally and voluntarily triggering our stress or fight-or-flight response in order to make us act. We are creating a sense of urgency. Phrases to help you get into the groove might be:

  • The time is running out!

  • It might be too late too soon!

  • It's now or never!

  • It's you against the world!

  • This is your chance!

Personalising Consequences

Whenever I feel an onset of procrastination, I say to myself: 'You only have one hour to complete this task. If you don't, you've missed an amazing opportunity and someone else is now fulfilling your goal and living your dream.'


And let me tell you, it works every time! Because I don't want someone else to live my dream! I want to stay true to my dreams! They are mine, my precious.


Final Thoughts on How to Use A Sense Of Urgency To Help You Act Upon Your Goals

It's such a simple trick to use urgency to get your goals. But you might need to come up with a different consequence for your procrastination, because what works for one person might backfire with the other. Only you can tell what will serve as a good kick in one place for you.


So, what are you waiting for?


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