Life in General Life Skills Ponderings

Urgency Addiction… Does it apply to you? Scared to read this? Hmmmmmm

Urgency Addiction… Does it apply to you? Scared to read this? Hmmmmmm

The definition of an addiction: A self-destructive behavior that temporarily ills an unmet need.

  • Creates a predictable, reliable sensation
  • Becomes the primary focus and aborts the person’s attention during the experience
  • Temporarily eradicates pain or negative emotions
  • Provides an artificial sense of self-worth, power, control, security, intimacy or accomplishment
  • Worsens the problems and feelings it sought to remedy
  • Causes loss of relationships or no time for anyone

Now think about all of these in terms of being addicted to urgency.  Does it create a predictable, reliable sensation? Yep.  By rushing around, you always feel important.

Becomes the primary focus and absorbs the person’s attention during the experience? Absolutely.  By focusing on the project before you, you can block out all the minute details of life.

 Temporarily eradicates pain or negative emotions?  Sure, if you focus on getting any job done NOW, then you don’t have time to think about making any tough decision that you don’t want to make or the fact that you do not like your boss, spouse, partner or kids.

 Provides an artificial sense of self-worth, power, control, security, intimacy or accomplishment?  Yes, because everyone that knows me, knows when I have to get something done NOW, I will push harder and go the extra mile.

Worsens the problems and feelings it sought to remedy?  By either rushing ahead or waiting to the last minute, you are neglecting the importance of planning which means You’ll probably miss key details, which makes fixing the oversights all the more urgent, which compounds all of the above.

Causes loss of relationships?  Unfortunately, yes.  By focusing on the production and the not planning or the people involved, you lose trust with those around you.  They begin to see you as uncaring, unconcerned and eventually unworthy of their time.

Urgency addiction often plays into the “incubator” people I blogged about the other day…  sometimes they have such an addiction to urgency that they can’t perform unless they get the thrill of the adrenaline rush at the very, very end… right before the due date.  But think about it, adrenaline is a mind-altering chemical (even though it is produced by the body itself).

Bored yet?  Perhaps you aren’t addicted to urgency… or at least think you aren’t.  Have you ever said, “I’d like to spend more time with you, but I have to work.  I have a deadline and it need to get done.  I know you’ll understand”.  “I can’t seem to find the time to exercise.  I know it is important, but after 10-12 hour days, I simply don’t have the energy for it.”

Today’s society has progressed to the point where not only has advancements made it possible for you to tap into the “urgency” button by supplying most anything you need at a moment’s notice, but if you don’t act with urgency, you may be negatively judged.  You may be seen as a slacker not willing to pay the price for success and not committed to any cause.  When you are busy, busy, busy, you may feel exhilarated and useful… and continually tap into your adrenaline “rush”… if it all goes on long enough, you get addicted to the perpetual motion and being busy becomes the goal.  In fact, being urgently busy becomes a status symbol.  For some strange reason we have consciously or unconsciously linked business with importance.  If you are not busy how could you possibly be important?

So what in the heck do we all do about it?  Well first let’s figure out if you really have an urgency addiction challenge or not;

The following questions are not meant to be a scientific survey but are intended to give you an idea if you are letting urgency addiction run you.  Answer these questions from 1 – 10… 1= strongly disagree to 10 =strongly agree.  And GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD… first answer is the correct one.

___I feel restless when I’m not doing something.

___I only do my best work when I am under pressure.

___When I am working on one thing, I often am thinking about something else I need to do.

___I give up quality time with important people in my life to handle something urgent.

___I rarely take a break and often work long, long hours.

___I feel guilty when I am taking time off or relaxing.

___I am always on a time crunch, rushing from one urgency to another.

___The adrenaline rush from a new urgent crisis is more satisfying than the steady accomplish of longer term results.


Obviously the higher the score, the more you have an urgency mind-set….  If you have a score of less than 30, then you have a low energy mind-set.  31-45 a strong mind-set; 46-60 – stronger still… perhaps need to take a look at it; 60+  not only look at it, but do something about it.

  • Other criteria that can be used to asses if there is an addiction:
  • Suffering withdrawal symptoms such as irritability and anxiety when out of touch with “your work”
  • Working longer than intended
  • Trying to work less hours but not succeeding
  • Spending a lot of time working or recovering from work
  • Giving up important social or recreational activities to accommodate more work; and working excessively even if health or family life suffers as a direct result.
  • Monitoring time excessively
  • Going at a too fast a pace
  • Accepting time demands at work
  • Giving up personal time
  • Losing the ability to enjoy the present moment
  • Possessing an inadequate sense of the future
  • Believing time can be controlled by working faster

In real life it is impossible to have everything be “in the calm and peaceful”… however, the point to this process if for us to be aware of where do primarily operate from.  Do we only thrive and operate from crisis to crisis?  For some individuals being constantly intense is their natural predisposition, but we need to make a distinction between preference and have to.  Addiction infers an uncontrollable behavior or way of acting – that is rarely, if ever, healthy.  So the question is, are you controlling your life or is your life controlling you?  In the end – our life is our responsibility and a reflection of our own thoughts, actions and behaviors.

Take a look at your daily planner… have you scheduled time for you… this time is certainly a “to do” or you will NEVER get around to doing it. If you ever think that someday you will be able to do what you really want to do, it may be a hint of a required shift for you….

So how do we shift from the urgent “all the time be busy” to the controlled “I have this to do sometime”?  Tomorrow I will end this little mini ranting with “what to do about its”….Thanks for joining me this morning… hope your day goes well….  Join me for a little break and some hot liquid refreshment.

2 thoughts on “Urgency Addiction… Does it apply to you? Scared to read this? Hmmmmmm”

  1. Yep–it’s official–I used to be a huge urgency addict–however I am pleased to share that I have been discovering a more balanced perspective on my life lately and I no longer feel guilty when I take time to smell the roses or play with my kids or any of the other things I had put on the back burner. My daily planner does not have me time scheduled but I do try to carve some of it out each day and I am doing a much better job of controling my life instead of letting it control me.

    I can’t wait to read tomorrow’s blog to see if there are suggestions I hadn’t thought about or might need to be reminded of in terms of other ways I can continue to improve in this area of my life. Enjoy your coffee :).

  2. Wow, reading through this I realizes I have some addictions I need to look at, like McDonalds French Fries. But I guess I am not as addicted to “urgency” as I may have thought.
    If anything I am probably the other way and have a hard time thinking that something is urgent enough to do if I don’t have the passion for it.
    However when I work longer hours, or do things, it is because I am passionate about them and don’t want to stop because I am so present and in the moment.
    But that is not the same as urgency.
    I am going to have to think about this some more.
    Thanks for giving me this opportunity to examine this.

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