I have a “love/hate” relationship with deadlines. The creative, free-spirit part of me feels that deadlines are suffocating and joy sucking and that I should be allow to meander and flow however the spirit moves me with a sweet tea in hand. On the other hand, the pragmatic part of me knows that if there were no deadlines, nothing would get done. It’s not that Im a procrastinator, just a multi-tasker who needs another six to seven hours in the day. Sound familiar?
I must admit, some “deadlines” are more enjoyable than others––this one for example. I know that at 2:00 p.m. a week from this upcoming Saturday, I will be at my granddaughter’s first birthday party. Now that’s a deadline I can get excited about! I also know that leading up to that deadline that I have several other “deadlines” which are significantly less exciting and require preparation that I’m not all that eager to get rolling on, but need to accomplish before I can go to my granddaughter’s party. Ugh!
My thought here is to give you a strategy that you can easily cut, paste, mold, or change to fit your needs that will help alleviate some stress from your life. We all need a lifeline once in awhile that will allow us to have a little more life in our lives. First off, I’m going to change some terminology. Deadlines are now goals and tasks are now milestones.
Visualize: Use a list or a calendar––either paper or electronic––and visualize your goals, their due dates and their level of importance. I use the calendar feature on my computer, as it syncs with my phone and I have no excuse for not knowing what is on my calendar. For me, EVERYTHING gets put on the calendar, including Date Night with my wife. Some of you may think that’s over the top, but this is important to me and this way nothing will crowd it out. If it is not on the calendar, it doesn’t happen.
Prioritize and often: What milestone needs to be accomplished and when? Getting a report finished on time trumps taking the dog to the groomer to get her claws polished; but with both of these goals on the calendar you can better budget your time and get both done.
Attack: In the infamous words of Larry the Cable Guy, “Git–R–Done”! Knowing what your goals and milestone are make them less overwhelming and allow you to move forward rather than stall out!
Be Flexible: LIfe happens. Tickets to a game, an unexpected snag in the project and additional milestones–no problem! Look at your goals and milestones and see where you can fit them in.
As I said earlier, I give this to you as a tool to use. Feel free to use all, some, or none of it. More important is that you find a method that works for you and that you use it to create balance, control of your schedule and your life