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May 4, 2009 / jasonpinto

Urgent! Read this post.

Urgency – sometimes just saying that word out loud can make me tense. But why?

Urgency is not a bad thing. When we take on a sense of urgency, it can provide benefits to us.  It may help us to increase our focus… It may help us to push aside things that are less important, and work on something that needs our attention now.  It may help us to fight against the many distractions that would love to be a part of our day.

However, without a proper balance, urgency can do bad things to us.

Doc Rivers, coach of the Boston Celtics, said this the other day (I heard it during a radio interview on WEEI.. i’m quoting based on memory): “As weird as this may sound, we played with too much urgency at the beginning of the game”. Now, if you Google “urgency Doc Rivers”, you will find plenty of quotes from other games where he says “We didn’t play with a sense of urgency”. So, that quote got me thinking…

When it comes to marketing our business, ideas can sometimes flow out of us quite swiftly. We may become inspired by anything we see or hear… That inspiration helps us to think of a new campaign, or a new slogan, or a new product or service to sell. When this happens, it can be very exciting.

When times are tough economically, our sense of urgency is going to be very high. Thus, each idea that comes during these periods comes attached with a sense of urgency, and may be fast-tracked to the “get it done” stage sooner than it should.

Here’s the danger: if each idea ends up in the “work-on-this-now” pile, then we are going to have a stack of projects that are 90% done, 70% done, 60%, 30%, etc…. But very few projects will end up in the “DONE” pile. In the end, that is not going to do us any good.

We’ll take shortcuts to complete a project. The quality of the product or campaign will suffer. We may have tried our best – but the lack of attention that we can give each project is going to show.

Distractions do need to be fought. Our to-do list may certainly need to take a spin through the “priority wash cycle” today. We do need to have a purpose for each item that we work on.

But before you run to the idea room today, take a look at the projects that are oh-so-close-to-done. Those started as great ideas. You’ve invested time, money and effort into them.

If you can focus on finishing one of those things this week, do it. Do it urgently.

Other ideas will come; the whiteboard isn’t going anywhere. Take that “almost-done” project over the finish line.

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