How many times have we delayed the simplest of tasks just because we can? How many times have we known of a deadline weeks before and only waited until the last minute to give it attention? We love to postpone deadlines when we don’t really have to. We let deadlines haunt us while we turn the other way and look for other things to do. What we don’t realize is waiting until the last minute and giving in to procrastination deteriorates our passion, bit by bit. We cannot ignite the intensity of our passion all of a sudden when we want to get something done. It’s gradual. First, we decide to do something. Then, as we’re engaged in what we’re doing, our passion starts building up. Blocking this build-up will leave us with mediocre results and barely any time to recover, because the deadline will have probably already passed!
The feeling that we have endless time to complete our work has an insidious and debilitating effect on our minds. – Robert Greene
Respecting deadlines will allow you to attend to your other needs and duties. When you’ve carefully planned your day or week and do what you have to do accordingly, you are granting yourself the freedom to make other plans and commitments. You replace stress with comfort. You’re comfortable with your pace and the empty slots you have in your busy schedule. You can occupy that free time with things you’d rather do instead of being forced to use it to make up for the last time you decided you wanted to waste time instead of being on track.
Here are some ways you can manage your deadlines:
- Have a desk planner. Fill it up with dates and commitments and have it as a reference when you are slacking or willing to take on extra commitments. A physical object will help in retaining your attention.
- Wake up early. If you don’t already wake up before 8 AM, you should try to. Whenever you have to leave the house in the morning, try to always be up at least two hours before. It will give you the chance to perceive your day and plan it before it commences (even if you’re the before-bed planner, this will still help you start your day with a good pace).
- Do one thing for a big task every day. If it’s not picking up your daughter from school, which isn’t a task you can split into portions to complete, use this tactic to relieve yourself from having the burden of completion all at once (think submission).
- Create a fake deadline before the actual one. This way you’ll start earlier and you’ll always be on the safe side.
- Use a planner app, Google Calendar, or any equivalent. You might be more inclined to get things done when pop-up notifications drive you mad.
- Get excessive with planners. This tip might work for people who are inherently organized but don’t have a value for time. A study planner, grocery planner, errands planner, future goals planner, and every possible version of a planner that exists. If splitting your life into different planners will make you feel more organized, this might be the way to go.
- Have empty slots in your day. Say from 7:00 – 9:30 (AM or PM), you have nothing to do. Leave it that way and unless you’re bombarded with unplanned tasks, you can use them as emergency hours to avoid disturbing your other plans.
- Follow the method you last used when you didn’t want to sacrifice a great outing for an important deadline. You seemed to manage; do it again! But, plan ahead. At least more than two hours ahead.
One thing to note is that meeting deadlines is a skill. If we master it, it can gradually transform our lifestyle. Besides the advantages of reasonable self-discipline (which is not trying to be in excessive control all the time), it will create a lot of free space that we can manage however we prefer because it’s not everyday that we don’t have a random commitment popping up, requiring a chunk of our time, but when that happens, we’ll always be prepared. Although it might be constraining or even onerous to follow these tactics, it’s most definitely worth it. The trick is to utilize this skill to have more freedom and flexibility to feel the impact of your accomplishments and have much needed leisure time. That right there is goals. So, make deadlines my friends and plan ahead!