Let Deadlines Be Your New Best Friend
Yes, a deadline allows us to be more effective with our time. Argue all you want. It’s true.
Imagine this…it’s Friday at 10am, and you’ve known all week to meet a deadline by 5pm Friday. And you’ve been procrastinating. BIG TIME. It’s like you thought you could bend time. (Well, maybe you can, but that’s a different blog post altogether)
Deadlines can be your best friend.
They might be disguised as a bully, but really they’re really tough love. They’re the boost we all need sometimes to get out of our lower brain, and into our productive, “I can do it and be happy about it” mode. They are a way to help identify time wasters (and can be a way to reduce or eliminate time wasters). I call time wasters “cleaning out the paperclip drawer”. You know, the “go-to” task you have when you’re avoiding doing something worthwhile… and meaningful…and something that can get you our of your procrastination rut. But time wasters aren’t productive. They’re just time-clutter. You want to avoid time-clutter.
I like to celebrate successes, so a great way to start is to set a deadline for something you know you’re doing to do anyway. Something easy. Set a deadline where you have someone to hold you accountable. An accountability partner can drastically improve your productivity. When you set deadlines, and reach them, your brain does a little happy dance! And when you feel good, you want to do more of what made you feel good (ummm, let’s stay focused on productivity and deadlines here…)
When you don’t set deadlines, you procrastinate. And procrastination is delayed decision making. Make sure your deadline is a realistic one. If it’s too short, you’ll be frustrated that you didn’t get it done. If it’s too far away (a week or more), you run the risk of filling your time with time-clutter, telling yourself “I have plenty of time to get that done”. Instead, think realistically when you set your deadlines. Life still happens when you have deadlines. Take into account things that will happen in your life, and then, allow for the unexpected.
So, when you have that project that’s due on Friday at 5, don’t wait until 10am to start planning how you’ll do it. Allow the bully-disguised deadline be your new best friend. If you need an accountability buddy, you can reach me here. Happy Planning!