Deadlines are Your Best Friends

In 1961 President John F. Kennedy made a bold statement in his speech. He promised to American people and the world that before the end of the decade America would land a man on the moon and return him safely to the earth. When you think about it this was an enormous challenge. We didn’t even know what technology we would use to accomplish this. Many aspects of this mission had huge risks. And still, we found a way to accomplish this goal.
Such is the power of deadline. By setting a challenging deadline for the mission he set the entire nation into motion. Having a deadline somehow springs everyone into action. People simply find a way to make it possible one way or another.
The reason deadline works is because of how human mind is wire to react. When you give someone, or even yourself, a deadline they don’t want to disappoint the promise. Deadline gives them a target to shoot for. Without it they will not only not push themselves to complete it; but also keep the work going forever.
So how can you use the power of deadline to help you accomplish your goals even if they may not be as ambitious as putting the man on the moon? We have identified several ways from our own experience.

  • Set a self-imposed deadline when you want to finish a task. In fact, we would put a deadline against each and every task even if it is to be accomplished 1 year later.
  • When delegating a task to someone make sure you tell them when it is supposed to be completed. This will help them plan their activities accordingly. If they think they may not be able to meet it you will know right away rather than waiting till the end.
  • Don’t be too lenient when setting a deadline. Someone has rightly said – “Work expands to fill the time available to do it.” When you give a stretch target people find a way to meet it.
  • At the same time, be realistic about time required to do the task. Kennedy gave more than 9 years to accomplish the goal because he knew there were lot of unknowns that had to be figure out to make it work.
  • Have self discipline. Once you set the deadline make every effort to meet it even if no one is watching you. You can use a trick of letting someone close to you know about the deadline and asking them to hold you accountable for it. How about you promise to give him/her 20 bucks if you fail to meet the deadline!

So there it is – your new friend who will drive you to accomplish your goals. Do let us know how it helps you accomplish your mission.

Image Courtesy:   thenandagain

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  1. nice post. thanks.