Some of us get so used to the adrenaline rush of handling crises that we become dependent on it for a sense of excitement and energy. How does urgency feel? Stressful? Pressured? Tense? Exhausting? Sure. But let’s be honest. It’s also sometimes exhilarating. We feel useful. We feel successful. We feel validated. And we get good at it. Whenever there’s trouble, we ride into town, pull out the six shooter, do the varmit in, blow the smoke off the gun barrel, and ride into the sunset like a hero. It brings instant results and instant gratification.
We get a temporary high from solving urgent and important crises. Then when the importance isn’t there, the urgency fix is so powerful we are drawn to do anything urgent, just to stay in motion. People expect us to be busy, overworked. It’s become a status symbol in our society—if we’re busy, we’re important; if we’re not busy, we’re almost embarrassed to admit it. Busyness is where we get our security. It’s validating, popular and pleasing.
It’s also a good excuse for not dealing with the first things in our lives. “I’d love to spend quality time with you, but I have to work. There’s this deadline. It’s urgent. Of course you understand.” “I just don’t have time to exercise. I know it’s important, but there are so many pressing things right now. Maybe when things slow down a little.”
(Stephen Covey, First Things First, pp. 33, 35)