by Mandy Green, Busy Coach
To get ahead quicker, no matter what your situation or current skill set, you would need to change your daily behavior.
What makes people change more than anything else? It is setting and sticking to deadlines! A deadline gives us personal accountability.
In fact, in our accountability-lacking work culture…one of the biggest mistakes made is not setting deadlines. Why? People do not want to be held accountable to them.
Without a deadline there is no urgency. Have you ever had a task on your to-do list with no deadline, no urgency? What happens? Usually nothing. It sits on your list for months.
A deadline is a budget for your time. Just like a budget for your spending can help keep you out of debt, keeping budgets for your time can keep you productive.
Management guru Peter Drucker said “you cannot build performance on weaknesses.” That’s why it is essential for you to hone your skills as a first step towards boosting your own productivity, as well as the performance of those you manage or work with. How well you manage yourself is the keystone for accomplishing the outcomes that will make you successful, and crucial to managing yourself is the positive, productive use of deadlines.
Using deadlines can give you the edge you need to set yourself apart as a coach in your sport, to give you an extra boost of energy or creativity.
- When you have only a defined amount of time to do a task, you are almost always more focused than you would be if time didn‘t matter.
- Most of us work faster and more effectively when we are committed to meeting an important deadline.
- Deadlines give extra meaning to our activities by providing a basis for measuring our accomplishments.
Deadlines can help you become more productive if:
You’re worried about feature creep. If your project has the tendency to expand and become larger, deadlines force you to focus on what’s most important.
You might procrastinate. Deadlines can push you through work you don’t enjoy. Without deadlines, some work would always be pushed until tomorrow.
You’re outside your comfort zone. Keeping a time limit can force you to push through fears. There’s a point when you are prepared enough and just need to move forward. Deadlines can help you find that point.
You need to build experience quickly. Sometimes trial and error is the best solution. It might not be pretty, but it works. Setting short deadlines force you to put your ideas to the test instead of endlessly polishing them.
Those four characteristics are all good reasons to use deadlines.
If you don’t have deadlines, do you have goals? Goals are also just accountability measures. Goals are there to say I want this, by this date, in this way. And just by deciding that, you are taking accountability for today. It is saying I want to change today, so I am going to set up this goal or this deadline that is going to help me change today. That is the process of personal accountability.
Coach, if I came to your office and we opened up and looked at your digital or paper planner, how many self-imposed deadlines are there that I would be able to see?
Personally, I have found that by setting more deadlines, it has helped me reduce working and acting by the whim of the moment.
The more deadlines you have, the more self-initiative you will have. The more deadlines and self-initiative you have, the more likely it is that you will move forward faster. You are taking control of your coaching life and your designing where you want to go and how fast you are going to get there.