First of all, let’s clear up a couple of misunderstandings people have asked me about from last month’s article.
- Simply creating a deadline is not enough to guarantee the successful completion of a task or the achievement of a goal. The deadline is only part of the story, but it’s an indispensible part.
- Yes, sometimes goals are achieved without a deadline, but these tend to be by serendipity and you were lucky not to be distracted. A deadline massively increases your chances of achieving that elusive goal by removing the luck element and introducing discipline instead. A deadline gets you focused.
You may find sticking to deadlines a bit of a chore to start with, but very soon, as you pass your milestones one by one, you’ll begin to feel really good about yourself and your momentum will build. You’ll start to see yourself as a can-do person, and soon you will come to see that deadlines are not only hugely empowering, they are your best friends and guides.
One little secret to illustrate my point: When thinking about this article, just like every article, my first question to Becky Beach (this publication’s editor) was, “when’s the deadline?” It was a couple of weeks ahead so I forgot about it for a few days until one morning I got out of bed, realised the deadline was approaching, sat down at my PC and wrote it in my pyjamas, had a shower, came back to my desk and edited it, went into the kitchen to have breakfast, came back to my desk for one final check, sent it to Becky and went upstairs to get dressed. All by 9.30am.
After that I resumed working on my new book.
That, in my opinion, is a really efficient way of working and it’s not too onerous. Why don’t you try it – you’ll be amazed at the amount of work you get through in a short space of time?
You have to think ahead and schedule your work of course, because this only works if you leave yourself enough time realistically to get the task(s) done by the deadline. You don’t want to put yourself under too much pressure, otherwise you won’t have enough time to ensure your work reaches a high standard and is of the quality you and your customers desire. Leave it too late and you just panic, pull out all the stops and go hell for leather. That, in my opinion, is a very inefficient way of working and one that is likely to burn you out in a short time.
Even worse (arguably), you miss the deadline and then there’s no satisfaction to be had by anyone concerned.
It’s no good saying afterwards that the deadline was unrealistic or unachievable. You should only accept or create a deadline that you believe is achievable.
On the other hand, some people work better when they are a little stretched. You have to get to know what you personally are like and how you respond to pressure. Then you can strike a good balance. Successfully achieving on a regular basis is actually liberating and empowering too.
Get the balance right and then there’s no need to stress, just let the deadline take the stain!
Hey Becky! When’s the next one, by the way?
For details of Dave’s coaching programmes go to www.daverobsoncoaching.co.uk
E-mail Dave at [email protected]
Dave’s book: www.thefivepillarsofhappiness.com