Urgent! Book Summary - Urgent! Book explained in key points
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Urgent! summary

Dermot Crowley

Strategies to Control Urgency, Reduce Stress and Increase Productivity

4.3 (229 ratings)
23 mins

Brief summary

Urgent! by Dermot Crowley is a productivity book that aims to help individuals declutter and prioritize their work whilst minimizing stress. It offers practical tips and strategies for maximizing productivity and reducing overwhelming to-do lists.

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    Senseless urgency hurts your well-being and productivity levels.

    You’re a hard worker. You take pride in being an effective team member and doing your job well. And sometimes, you feel like a chicken running around without a head. 

    Yes, no, maybe so? Research published in the 2018 Journal of Applied Psychology reveals that 40 percent of Americans experience anxiety during their workday, and 72 percent say it affects their work and personal lives. Technology, without a doubt, plays a big part. The level at which we’re now all connected has resulted in a constant flow of information and a pace that’s impossible to keep up with. 

    To meet these urgent demands, we’re always busy, always panicked, always rushing to deliver – but never truly effective. This inevitably leads to burnout, and a blow to our physical and mental well-being. It also results in missed deadlines, rework, and attrition – all of which are costly to business.

    The key message here is: Senseless urgency hurts your well-being and productivity levels.

    But guess what? Many of those things marked “urgent” are just like the emperor and his new clothes – that is, they’re not what they seem. The Oxford English Dictionary defines urgency as “importance requiring swift action.” But in today’s workplace, “urgent” has become synonymous with anything slightly time-sensitive – whether or not it’s important. This unnecessary urgency creates stress and distraction, which is why it’s called unproductive urgency.

    There are two types of unproductive urgency: fake and avoidable. Fake urgency can be self-inflicted, like reacting to a message you know wasn’t actually urgent. Research shows that even a brief interruption takes up to 20 minutes to recover from. Other times, it’s external; your colleague has sent a series of emails with subject lines escalating from “urgent” to “URGENT!” to “REALLY URGENT!” He knows if he’s loud enough, he’ll get what he wants.

    Then there’s avoidable urgency. That’s when there’s real urgency – but only because something could’ve been avoided and wasn’t. This results from things like procrastination, disorganization, overcommitting, or poor time management. In both cases, say goodbye to your planned workday.

    It’s time to call urgency’s bluff. To help mitigate your own potentially unproductive approach to urgency, the author proposes “The Urgency Playbook” – a set of ten principles and strategies that are sprinkled throughout these blinks.

    First up: Don’t cry wolf. In other words, don’t act as though something’s urgent if it’s not. Save urgency for when it’s truly important, time-critical, and unavoidable. With email, for example, imagine there’s an urgency token system: you get five urgent requests per month. When you run out, that’s it – unless you want to get eaten by your colleagues! 

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    What is Urgent! about?

    Urgent! (2021) is your guide to getting the right things done at the right time. In our fast-paced world, it’s easy to fall into the urgency trap – and keeping up with the constant demands often feels impossible. But by learning to consciously replace reactive behaviors with proactive ones, you can reduce stress and do deeper, more effective work.

    Urgent! Review

    Urgent! (2021) by Dermot Crowley is an informative and practical book that will help you overcome overwhelm and achieve greater productivity. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Provides practical techniques to tackle overwhelm and manage your time effectively, enabling you to increase your productivity and reduce stress.
    • Offers insights from real-life examples and case studies, demonstrating how others have successfully overcome the challenges of urgency and distraction.
    • With its engaging and relatable approach, the book keeps you hooked, making the topic of time management fascinating and definitely not boring.

    Who should read Urgent!?

    • Savvy leaders who want to increase team productivity
    • Frazzled workers craving less stress – and less time at the desk
    • Optimizers seeking efficiency hacks for a better work-life balance

    About the Author

    Dermot Crowley is a productivity guru who’s helped both individuals and organizations maximize their work potential for over 25 years. He’s an author, speaker, trainer, thought leader, and the founder of Adapt Productivity. His other books are Smart Work and Smart Teams.

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    Urgent! FAQs 

    What is the main message of Urgent!?

    The main message of Urgent! is managing your time and attention effectively to achieve better results and reduce stress.

    How long does it take to read Urgent!?

    The reading time for Urgent! varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Urgent! a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Urgent! is a must-read for anyone looking to improve their productivity and focus. It provides practical strategies and insights to help you regain control of your time and attention.

    Who is the author of Urgent!?

    The author of Urgent! is Dermot Crowley.

    What to read after Urgent!?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Urgent!, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Solving the Productivity Puzzle by Tim Ringo
    • The Road Less Stupid by Keith J. Cunningham
    • Off the Clock by Laura Vanderkam
    • How to Be a Productivity Ninja by Graham Allcott
    • Create Space by Derek Draper
    • How Highly Effective People Speak by Peter Andrei
    • The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
    • The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson
    • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
    • The Free-Time Formula by Jeff Sanders