Seth Godin nails it in this post. I encourage you to take 60 seconds to read it. Here's my favorite quote:
Sometimes creativity turns into an emergency. But even the worst of emergencies still needs a doctor and time to heal.
Add up enough urgencies and you don't get a fire, you get a career. A career putting out fires never leads to the goal you had in mind all along.
I guess the trick is to make the long term items even more urgent than today's emergencies.