• Jeff Doolittle

1 Creative Productivity Hack You Need to Get More Done

All you need to do is hustle harder and work longer hours. But the work harder and longer hours leadership style comes with a risk of burnout and severe consequences. According to a study by the Mayo Clinic, the personal and organizational side-effects of executive leadership burnout include: broken relationships, substance abuse, depression, decreased customer satisfaction, reduced productivity, and increased employee turnover. Leaders are always connected to their operations in a crisis-driven digital workplace, ready to fight the next fire. This reality amplifies the risk of sacrificing success and significance for less important tasks. CEOs, managers, and decision-makers need a creative productivity hack for improving decision-making and avoiding physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion.

Is your performance suffering from the Urgency Effect?

Most leaders and entrepreneurs are metaphorically running on a treadmill at a speed that makes casual conversation difficult. They live in a world where it is impossible to respond to every email or accept every meeting invitation. Like corporate athletes, these executives have trained themselves to become highly efficient and effective to survive.

“What is urgent is seldom important and what is important is seldom urgent.” President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Author Stephen Covey in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, popularized the time management matrix first described by President Eisenhower. This two-by-two grid helps leaders account that in life, we face decisions between what is urgent and important.

The following video is a more humorous discussion if you are unfamiliar with this tool.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that most of us prefer to work on urgent tasks that can be completed quickly. This likely does not come as a surprise. However, compelling recent cognitive psychology studies revealed that we are also more likely to perform unimportant tasks over important tasks when perceived to be more urgent. Psychologists have described this as the Mere Urgency Effect.

If asked, what should you work on, more important or less important tasks? You likely would become annoyed with the obvious line of questioning.

Studies on the Urgency Effect revealed that it is more pronounced among individuals who perceive themselves as busy. This is alarming for entrepreneurs and leaders, given the crisis-driven workplace.